Router Masterclass Trophy Cabinet archive
Friday 11 June 2010
Anthony Bailey builds this great wall cabinet for your sports trophies
The projectThis is a perfect project for any keen sportsman â€“ golf, tennis, football, angling: you name it. A collection of trophies deserves a proper home of their own. This cabinet uses a light coloured birch ply inside and polycarbonate glazing around three faces, to show the trophies off to best advantage, and a suitable darker hardwood for the outer parts. It entails some careful setting out and execution but the result is worth it.
Machining small sectionsThis is always problematic. It doesnâ€™t matter how small the cut or cutter, it can be dangerous and vibration can damage the work and even break a tiny cutter. Not having a through fence and just using finger pressure is quite inadequate.
The solution is to create a tunnel which encloses and supports the work.
The jig1. Clamp a sheet of ply or MDF in across the cutter, opening on the router table to create the through fence. Machine all the components to the same size using a thicknesser for accuracy. Lay one piece against the through fence and a second shorter piece next to it
2. Now cut a piece of ply to sit on top of both sections
3. Remove the ply through fence and pin the narrow piece of ply to it using another piece for support while you do so. Use a try square and the intended component and the offcut to get the positioning correct. Note that the tunnel must fit tightly around the pieces you are going to machine
4. Now with the component and the length of component offcut pressed firmly in place, pin that offcut to the strip of ply. You should now have an inverted 'U' shaped tunnel which will enclose the components you are about to machine
5. You need to experiment to get the tunnel positioned correctly over the cutter, so do some test cuts until it is right. You will find vibration drops considerably, improving the cut finish and preventing the workpiece jumping and causing damage. It will therefore lessen the shock caused to small straight cutters that might otherwise break, and avoids any risk to your fingers
The cutters6. Although this is a slightly tricky project, it doesn't need a lot of router cutters. I chose a two-flute 3.2mm diameter straight cutter for all the glazing slots. The slots were all done in one pass so care is needed to avoid breakage. You need to do a repeat pass to loosen the tightly packed chippings that will jam the slot.
The 45° bearing guided bevel cutter created the undercut shape on the trophy cabinet top. It needs to have a long enough cutting edge to achieve this. Finally, a bearing guided rebate cutter was used for the back panel rebates. It wasn't used to full depth as this would have been more than the 6.4mm ply thickness. All the cutters were on a 1/2in shank, so it is within the scope of a small router
Making it7. Decide what size the cabinet needs to be - this is governed by internal height, width and depth sufficient to contain the trophies. Cut the cabinet top to size including the extra amount for the projecting edges. Set up a large bevel cutter in the router table and do the bevel edge in several passes to depth. In this case, you can alter both cut depth and width as you work towards the final cut
8. Having machined the bevel, mark out the positions for the four corner glazing bars and the slots for the polycarbonate glazing. This setting out is crucial and needs to be done using an offcut of the glazing bar to get the marking out correct. Put marks on the top side to show where to start and stop the slots when machining on the router table
9. Machine up the front and side facings for the base including the glued on brackets for the ends. Use a mitre saw to create butt joints at the front corners, using the cabinet top as a position guide when marking out. Use 'drop on machining' for the glazing slots in both the cabinet top and the base facings. These slots must not meet in the corners as there will be location dowel holes there
10. Cut two pieces of 9mm or 12mm birch ply to fit inside the base pieces and four offcuts of softwood all glued together to create a box around which the facings will be glued. The top piece of ply is narrower to create a rebate for the cabinet back panel. The softwood and plies must be flush all round apart from this - check with a square after clamping up
11. The top has a rebate machined at the back to accept the birch ply back panel, as do the two rear glazing bars
12. All the location dowel holes are drilled in the top and base. Use a dowel pin to mark the ends of the glazing bars and drill those holes. The back panel is now glued and pinned into the base rebate and checked for square. The rear glazing bars can also be dowelled in place and glued to the back panel
13. The polycarbonate sheet is cut to fit the slots and a ply shelf made that rests on small shelf supports fitted in the glazing bars. The whole cabinet needs to be sanded and a finish applied before the glazing is fitted.