I have been a lover or old weathered wood as long as I can remember. I love the look of it, that grey color and all the details of the wood and years and years of living outside in the snow, wind, rain and sunlight. All these elements create unique pieces of wood art.
One of first places I collected old wood was from old pallets, but I soon learned they were riddled with so many problems I finally gave up on using these "gravel embedded" lumber choices after destroying table saw blades, dulling and pitting planer and jointer blades, they just weren't work the all the effort of finding decent ones to work with ... but there was more ...
Old fences that have outlived they use and are being replaced looked like a good alternative, they still had that weather look, in fact better weather, but without the embedded gravel, all the nail and screws, they are often much wider and longer and thicker pieces of wood and far more forgiving for the workshop machinery.
Many months ago I happened upon someone taking down and old fence and getting rid of what I thought were many decent boards to work with, and all free to take away. I brought them home and let them dry out for many many months until they were bone dry and under 9 percent ... perfect to work with.
I wanted to see how this wood be to work with in making inserts or panels for cupboard doors. I have wanted to replace an old salvaged cupboard in my workshop and this would be the ideal time to do that.
Since it's a workshop cupboard, I decided on some Pine panel laminate wood that I use from time to time, for cupboards it is fine and easy to work with. I first decided on size, then cut sides and the top to width and length I needed. I opted to use my Dowelmax for the joinery because I wanted strong, hidden joints but still something easy to work with.
Thinking ahead, I decided to use the "French Cleat" system for wall mounting, another quick easy solution I have used for years, but it meant I would need to run a dado around the inside of the back of the cabinet for the thin backing sheet. All this was quite easy to do and all the tops and sides all used the same table saw fence setting which made life easy.
After gluing the cabinet carcass together, I let it sit overnight for glue to cure and I anxiously got started on making the doors ... one of my main purposes for making this cabinet. I used some left over Birch from my recent Accent Table Build. The rails and stiles door frames would be 2 inches wide, 3/4 inch thick and cut to length as needed. I decided to use Dowels for the door frames as well and this mean that ALL components were cut to the size they needed to be. What I mean by this is that none of the door pieces, did I need to cut "longer" to accommodate the length of a "tenon" because the dowels, which sort of serve as a floating tenon, would be the connecting component and hidden from viewer ... really, a perfect joinery item.
After making the doors, gluing them up and making sure they were square, I cut a rabbet around the inside of each door. This will serve 2 purposes, obviously it will be used to insert a panel into the frame of the door, but in the future, I can use these doors to experiment with other kinds of inserts for doors I want to work with.
Below is the one board that I picked out because it had a nice tight-knot hole that I wanted to incorporate in the door. Now that I have used it, I'm not sure if I want to put a black backer board behind the knot, or just leave it the way it is ... which is what I have done for now. Maybe I will just leave it as is and see how or "if" anything much changes with just leaving it.
I did struggle with what to do with the hardware. These Euro hinges are quite a bit more expensive that many other kinds of hinges, but when I saw these hinges that self close, I had to at least try them out ... I love them, I don't have to figure out what to do with door catches and when I tough the door to close it I can walk away as it closes behind me ...
These are perfect workshop doors, not only do I love the look of them, but with the door design I can use them in the future for other panels I might want to try.
My only comments on working with these old boards, is that I discovered when I first started loading them into my truck that the "patina", that is the look of the boards that took many years of exposure to sun, rain, snow and wind ... is not a super strong coating. It can be scratched and marked if you are too rough in the handling.
I will be making more cabinets in the future with this kind of insert, if for no other reason than I love the look of old weathered wood that has stood the test of time and shows it's age ...
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