Design Details on Armoire Doors

  • Posted on: 29 May 2014
  • By: Jay Oyster
Parent Project: 

Basic side door as originally designedNow that I've managed to complete the assembly of the main case, I can't put it off any longer. As you may have noticed from the Rev 17 armoire sketchup file, I didn't have any details entered for the construction of the front and side doors. I have to figure out the joinery and the final design elements for these four pieces before I can proceed. Here is the basic design as I had it when I began construction of the cabinet, almost 3 years ago . . .

As you can see, it is a simple mortise and tenon constructed panel door, with the only link to the rest of the design being the choice of sycamore as the primary material, and the small door handle in cherry. It seemed just a bit too plain, but I also didn't want to overwhelm the piece by putting in too much fussy detail on the sides. Then there was the other problem . . . where to place the hinges.

The hinges at the back are simple, I'll just mortise in a pair of nice bruso hinges to the rear of the door and the back edge of the back legs. Having the cylinder of the hinge sticking out the back of the piece doesn't bother me at all. I don't really want the hassle of trying to learn how to install knife hinges at this point, and clearance when the doors are open isn't really a big deal.  But on the front doors, the hinges and the clearances when the doors open is a very big deal. I realized that my original design runs the front doors all the way out the edges of the front legs. When these doors are open, if I try to open the doors past 90 degrees, the front door itself will run into the front edge of the side doors. So I had to rethink it a bit. I'm still going to keep the hinge choice simple on the front doors, so I'm going to need clearance on the sides of the front doors so the hinge barrels don't interfere with the side doors.

New design for the side doorI finally opted for two fairly small changes to the design of the side doors, but I think they help refine the overall look. First I added a vertical mullion (or munton, or "stick' is what I believe Tom Fidgen calls them on his design) to the side door. I actually added the idea because the model of the handle I pulled from the front doors already had a little slot cut for the vertical stick that exists in the front door design. Since I simply copied this handle design over to the side door in Sketchup, the handle already had this slot. So I decided to keep the slot and add a vertical stick as a design accent.

The second change was to move the front edge of the side door back about a quarter inch from the front of the front leg, and more importantly, I decided to add a 45 degree chamfer across the entire front of the side door. This required rethinking the internal structure of the mortise and tenon joints on the side doors.

Dimensions for the top rail on the side door (click to embiggen)The front tenon is now shorter to allow for the chamfer, and the overall length of the top and bottom rails is a bit shorter to allow for the clearance at the front of the cabinet. Figureing out these spacing details and the final dimensions is time consuming. Just to redesign the design and finalize the dimensions of the side doors took me almost four hours of work in Sketchup. (And I haven't done the final dimensions for the front doors yet.)

I'm going to add a full set of drawings to a new gallery attached to the Jewelry Armoire projects for all of my Sketchup dimensioned drawings. As with any cabinet build, the dimensions are a good estimate, but the actual piece as built will always provide the final word in dimensioning parts, particularly for drawers and doors.

New details of the side door on the jewelry armoire