Welcome to what I hope will be an ongoing stream of videos and blogs — about all things woodworking and life at Abundance Farm.


For three years I have been working on and off on the most complex commission of my career, an asymmetrical standing cabinet with all manner of tricks, secret drawers, unexpected drawers, drawers that form a combination lock to open a section of the interior, inlays and many other decorative details. My wife and collaborator Carolyn is going to add paint details along edges, upon the Douglas fir exterior, and surfaces within.


Since Thanksgiving 2015 I have built an accurate mockup and started on the actual build. I had to make a mockup, which is actually unusual for me. I’ll mock up details and joinery and some difficult part, but almost never take the time to do the whole piece 3D. This piece — unnamed so far — has almost no 90° corners nor easy to find reference planes or lines. The exterior swells and waves, as does the interior. The only way to visualize the shapes and relationship of the parts was to mock them up.


For this piece I have an interesting construction strategy, a little like 2 steps forward, 1 back, then 2 forward again.  I have to begin by building enough of the internal structure and legs to start building the coopered skin. But once I see a path to my desired exterior shape, I have to take some of the skin off and complete the interior and build  some of the fun drawers that pierce the skin.

The pattern that defines the asymmetric shape of the cabinet.

The pattern that defines the asymmetric shape of the cabinet.