I recently finished a couple of mid century cabinets in walnut for our family room. Nicole and I like the clean lines of this style, so we modeled the design from pictures of a few cabinets we liked. The final dimensions were based on the space they were to occupy, along with the wood itself. The smaller piece has a couple drawers and sliding panels to hold incidentals when coming and going from home (keys, glasses, diaper bag, hats, etc.) and the larger has only sliding panels to hold our daughter’s books.
The sliding panels are 1/2″ ply veneered with Italian Walnut from Veneer Supplies. This was my first go at veneer work – once I understood the process was surprised at how straightforward the work was. For the smaller cabinet panels I used a manual vacuum press from Lee Valley with a couple MDF platens. These were notched with table saw kerfs to allow for efficient air removal and even pressure, which worked well.
The panels for the larger cabinet were too big for the bag – for these I used my workbench as a flat reference with the panels between plywood platens and clamped with maple battens. The battens are V shaped on the bottom, rising about 1/8″ from the center to the ends. I placed the “V” in the middle and of the platen and clamped the ends to each side of the the bench, which flattened the battens to the work, ensuring consistent pressure across the clamp surface. Worked great, should have used this method on the smaller panels and saved my money on the vacuum bag!
The case construction was straightforward – loose tenons and sliding dovetails. I carefully laid out the stopped grooves that the panels ride in (1/8″ deep on bottom, 7/16″ on top, cut on a router table). There was some trial and error cutting the door panel rabbets on a test board, but once properly fitted and lightly waxed, they glide effortlessly with very little play.