Editor’s note: Owned by Jared Patchin, J. Alexander Fine Woodworking is a custom woodworking shop operating from a 12,000-square-foot facility in Boise, ID. Below, Patchin tells the story behind the creation of a custom walnut TV stand.
This past summer we began a huge furniture project for a local client: an entry table, buffet, two end tables, a console table, two coffee tables, a small office sitting table, and the project you see above, a TV stand. Each of the pieces was unique from each other and from anything else we have ever built.
For the TV stand, the white “C” assembly would be clear finished walnut, while the toe kick and the cabinet would be walnut stained a medium shade of black.
We began by building three torsion boxes, the base, top and the vertical side piece, and connecting those three pieces with eight dominos at each butt joint. The main issue we had to deal with was that the “C” shaped assembly had absolutely no strength on its own, so at all times we had to make sure we had a support of some kind holding the top piece up.
Once the torsion boxes were assembled into one unit, we sanded the faces of the “C” so all the surfaces were perfectly flush and smooth. We then re-sawed solid walnut into 1/4-inch thick strips and framed both faces and the two ends. We did not use any mechanical fasteners to attach the walnut edge to the torsion boxes and instead used melamine cauls and clamps to hold the edging in position until the glue dried.
The walnut frame is continuous around the entire assembly. We used a butt joint to join the three torsion boxes and miter joints on the four corners on both faces and at the four corners on the ends.
The next steps involved veneering the surfaces with walnut. We typically veneer our projects using a vacuum bag, but in this instance we cut the veneer so that there was overhang on all sides, cut a piece of 3/4-inch plywood the same size as the veneer and, using dozens of clamps and half that number of cauls, adhered the veneer to the torsion boxes.
While the veneering process was going on, we also were working on the cabinet box that fit inside the “C.” We cut the parts from 3/4-inch walnut, mitered the corners, routed mortises for three dominos in each corner, attached the drawer slides, and assembled the cabinet box.
After we final sanded the box, we added the 3/4-inch spacers to the top and bottom, inserted the divider in the middle, removed the slides, and finished the box. The cabinet box was stained using a thinned out black stain concentrate that gave a rich, dark color to the walnut without muddying the grain.
We attached the cabinet box from the inside, using a right angle drill to negotiate the tight space and drive home the screws. The toe kick was attached to the underside using pocket screws. The two drawer fronts were milled from one board of walnut, so that the grain was continuous from left to right.
Because the clients did not want to use any hardware to open up the drawers, we decided to route a finger pull into the bottom edge of each drawer front. There is only a 3/4-inch space under the drawer fronts, but that is enough space to reach in and pull open each drawer box.
A bloggist for WoodworkingNetwork, Jared Patchin started woodworking professionally in 2008 and opened J. Alexander Fine Woodworking in Boise, ID, where he builds custom-crafted furniture and cabinetry. For more information visit jawoodworking.com. You can also read Patchin’s blogs at WoodworkingNetwork.com/wood-blogs/jared-patchin
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