It may just be a prototype bathroom cabinet to others, to me it is therapy by design!
Therapy comes to us in many ways. I walk the river path every morning. Ducks and waterfowl of every type are just inside the reeds and roach 10″ plus long nose upstream awaiting some morsel to twist and strike on. Some times I crouch down just to listen for ten minutes and a dog discloses my suspicious presence to its owner. I raise my binoculars and they smile knowing all’s safe. Though these things preface my day, alongside my morning coffee with a close friend too, it’s my work that most frees me.
When I make a cabinet like I do I enter a place few others I know of really go these days. It’s pretty much a machine-free zone though not always and not always altogether either. I would never refer to myself as a machinist woodworker because that’s what I am not. I left those days far behind long ago in search of high-demand and taxing work for my body, my brain and then, more importantly to me, my mind. This last week I needed help with my mind. Life had been very busy preparing for the Open House weekend and combined with the day to day demands of our effort that can come at a price as you all will know. Paul’s not exempt from the excesses of preparing for events and many things he alone has to do. The support i got was most welcome and without it we would not have made it. So when I say I needed help it was help after the event and it was help no therapist or doctor could give to me. As I took the first saw strokes into the wood I could viscerally feel tensions in my neck dissolving. By the time I’d ripped down through three two foot lengths my whole body had loosened and when I picked up my plane to swipe of shavings I found myself yet again out in the stratosphere soaring for an hour.
It’s when I start making joints with my chisels and saws that I seem able most to leave all things behind. Just a fifteen minutes dissolves a days stress and a whole dissolves a month into nothing of any consequence. Therapy is of course what it is but that so limits what has taken place because, as I have said before, even the bizarrely wild and complex things surrounding us all the more, things I might never hope or indeed want to understand, seem to make a certain amount of sense. I recover my sanity with hands behind a hand plane and through a hand saw. I pull and push, draw back to strike, swerve to pare cut and soon a joint part unites with its other part and a peace settles on me that is to all intents and purposes impossible to describe. The exhaustions of life where strength seems always to dissipate in a single breath is not just stayed but ousted completely from my body, my mind, my brain and my emotion.
so then I painted my bathroom cabinet with a white water-based base/undercoat followed by two coats of flat matt chalkish paint, which I like for the ability to get it smoothly sanded. Now it’s ready for top-coating with a satin waterborne finish I have yet to decide on. The mirror I cut down to size from a pre-framed door hanging mirror from a big box store. All that’s left is to turn the door knob and add a catch and I am done. It’s a two day project for me. I’d sell it for £400 knowing that the joinery guarantees longevity and that there is nothing anyone can buy in most places that will compare to what I made. Certainly not the therapy side of it. Forget biscuits, dominoes and dowels, nuts, bolts nails and screws. It is robustly solid and well made and I enjoyed the designing and the making of it. It’s easily scaleable and it has a few little nuances to intrigue those that want a simple project with challenges that nudge your accuracy levels.
As a hanging project I added a few concealed mortise and tenons so that it hangs reliant on the joints and not just glue. I still kept it simple though. The cabinet has a back held into grooves though this is purely to keep the inside of the cabinet with same clean lines as the outside.
The door I put together using my system for frame and panel joinery using M&T joints and that means a guaranteed perfect outcome every time. When I slid the tenons into the holes they were each one perfect. Not boastin’ just sayin’. Anyway, I think you will find therapy in the making, as usual.