Koa Bath Cabinet (Part 2 of 3) – Cabinet Body

After the panels were ready for assembly, I proceeded to glue them up.

I wanted the cabinet back panel to be koa, as well, but given the relative high cost of koa lumber, I decided to undertake another new task for myself and use veneer over a plywood panel.  I obtained the supplies needed from an online supplier, Veneer Supplies.  I used 3/8″ baltic birch plywood for the substrate and after some careful planning and assembly, proceeded to glue up the veneer.  The veneered panel turned out great.

With the panels complete, I milled the dado recesses into the top and bottom panels and did some test fitting.

Note, as mentioned before, koa can be quite expensive, so I really took my time during the process with several test in scrap to make sure my techniques and tool setup was where it needed to be so not to mess up the koa.

Using my router table setup with a cove bit, I milled some cove trim for the cabinet body where it meets the top and bottom panels.  With those complete, I test fit and marked for the miter and length cuts.  I also took this time prior to assembly to drill the shelf support holes for the cabinet interior.

Next came the glue up.  Past experience has taught me that gravity can work against you and excess glue can run down and potentially interfere with the finish to be applied.  So I took the time to mask off all the panels to avoid this issue after I sanded all the pieces to the level needed for the final finish, since sanding after assembly would prove infeasible.

For the base, I once again re-sawed a piece of koa lumber so the grain would appear to run continuous around the mitered corners.  Since mitered end grain glue-ups are inherently  a weak joint, I cut splices into the miters to add strength to the assembly.  With the help of my spring clamps I set the base and the cove trim up to glue.

I then proceeded to cut in the recesses for the soss hinges and the finger pull and test fit the door to the assembled body.  After that, I set the door aside since it still had a lot more work ahead of it and applied the finish to the cabinet body.

Going back to my visits to  Martin and MacArthur, I really wanted to try and duplicate the “in the wood” finish they get on their pieces.  So many of my past finishes have not been apple to achieve that level of refinement.  I was impressed with the product used on my dining table and console pieces and revisited the manufacturer’s site, Sutherland Welles to investigate their products for this piece,

After a bot of research, I settled on Murdoch’s Hard Sealer.  I also came across a video that I also used as inspiration to achieve the desired finish.  Above and beyond the steps outlined at the links above, I also decided to apply a final finish coat of hand-rubbed wax to help give it more of a smooth, matte finish.  After some tests on some scrap koa, I was able to get as close as possible to the look I was going after.

The trials and tribulations continue in the third and final part of the build.