Insanity 2

Insanity 2 is the working name for my latest speculative project.  As with most, I’m designing it as I go and using the materials as my primary inspiration.

Every project starts with an inspiration

This piece of ash was the inspiration.  It’s been sitting in my shop for years waiting for me to do something with it.  Honestly, the shape wasn’t conducive to use as a whole slab and I never had a need to process it.


Tired of having it in my way, last week I decided to do something with it.  I studied the grain, colouring and defects and started drawing potential cut lines with chalk.

IMG3090I cut the slab into a smaller, more manageable size.  I also made sure to cut it narrow enough that I could resaw it into thinner pieces with my bandsaw.  Before resawing it, I flattened the surface.


A design emerges

I resawed two 3/8″ panels from the ash crotch and experimented with different orientations.

I didn’t like the colour and pattern variance where the two panels met.


I liked this orientation, but felt that it didn’t make the best use of the tight, dark figure.


This layout didn’t really strike me.

IMG3103Ultimately, I decided to go with this orientation.  They looked like doors (and that’s what they are until I see them as something else, if I do).  To emphasize the book match, I wanted to keep the top edges as close as possible.


Making frames for the panels

To deal with potential warpage and issues with expansion, I decided to create frames for the panels.  I examined the grain of several slabs, looking for grain that followed the curves of the edges of the panels.  I found the best material in this 2-1/4″-thick slab.


I cut out the stiles, then resawed them to create mirror-image parts for each door.


Then, I cut out, resawed and trimmed the rails to fit between the stiles.  Notice how the middle stiles are half-dark and half-light, and that the light area is used to transition into the light-coloured rails.


I masked off the parts of the frame that I intended to remove and taped the panels to the fronts of the frames to get an idea of what the doors would look like.


I routed grooves along the inside of the frame components.


To feature the book match, I did some drastic modifications to the frame.  I cut away much of the front of the inside stile.  This design was a first for me, and possibly a first in the woodworking world.


It took me more than a day to select and cut out all the components for the doors and I spent all of Sunday fitting the panels into the frame.


So what’s next?

I think that my next step is to glue up the doors.  Because of my modified design, I intend to glue the panels to the inside stiles and let them expand outwards.  After that, I’m not sure what to do, but I’ll figure out the rest in time.  One big obstacle is figuring out how to hinge the doors, but what’s the fun of woodworking without a challenge?


8 thoughts on “Insanity 2

  1. Thanks for sharing the journey, Chris. I enjoy “hearing” some of your thought process, complemented with the images. Inspires me to look deeper and wider at the materials we have.

    1. Brian,

      I can assure you that I do not intend to make a rectangular cabinet! Inset doors are a possibility, but I’m leaning towards overlay doors so that there is nothing to distract from them.


  2. I like it a lot. especially how the form is clearly organic and free form, yet also fits into a traditional frame and panel but like it grew there. I also really like your invented lapped stile. I could see how that could be reused/expanded with a pull “growing” out of the stile in another design.

  3. I’m dying to see how you solve the hinge problem. To my eye it looks darn near impossible, at least if you plan to have the inside edges remain vertical through the door swing.

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