Usually, I stick to free-standing furniture, tables especially. I am loathe to build kitchen cabinets and generally have not shown much interest in building furniture-like cabinets. I also am a big fan of clear, simple finishes – not stains. However, necessity called, so I put that all aside and went to work.
I started by figuring out the overall proportions I was looking for as I normally do – hold my hands apart to help visualize it. Then I translated those distances into measurements and started building. The approximate dimensions are 15-3/4″ by 9-5/8″ and 4-5/8″ deep. I wanted a hinged glass door and mirrored back.
I used maple along with sliding dovetails to join the sides to the top and bottom, and dowels to affix the shelf and join the door. I used a molding plane to cut coves on the top and bottom as well as the underside of the shelf.
To finish the cabinet, I started by applying an Early American gel stain. That gave me the base colour. Then I mixed up some orange shellac and added some Dark Walnut aniline dye and applied a few coats. Then I leveled the finish with 320x sandpaper before applying a final coat of dyed shellac. The result was a dark, even coat of finish. Using the worn 320x sandpaper, I rubbed out the finish and worked through the shellac in some areas. Finally, I applied two coats of paste was.