Elegant Cabinet -
with curved doors & drawers

By Jerry Cousins
June 8, 2004

I recently finished this cabinet -
46 x 28 x 15 deep -
Makore & Big Leaf Maple.

The inset on the top is also Makore, but is a highly figured cut and is much darker than the regular cut wood.

The top, sides, drawer fronts, and doors are veneered.
The doors were formed using 4 layers of bending plywood to create the core, edged with wood strips - Then veneer panels pressed on.
The toughest challenge was to create the drawer's dovetail joints on the curved drawer fronts - Since they had to be 90 to the radius of the bend.
The finish is:
6 coats of shellac,
3 lacquer,
then 2 coats of wax.

Sorry about the fuzziness on some of the pictures - And many thanks for looking.

The band of triangles on the top is a reflection of a wall hanging above the cabinet -
Forgot to take it down.


Are those handles curved too?

Could you explain the process in making the curved doors and veneering the "frame/panel" sides?   No need to get too detailed, but I am intrigued with the doors and the frame that goes around them...   Are the door frames cut from solid wood (band saw)?   or are they also "formed"?

Thanks for the nice comments.

Mark - The cabinet will be going down to a gallery (as soon as i can figure out a price).   I guess it could be used for clothes, or even a liquor cabinet.

Woodsurfer - The handles are curved.   They were glued up on the same form as the top & bottom rails - Then shaped.   The form is the same curve as the doors & drawers - So they all follow the same radius - And are book matched.

Karyn - The side pieces are vacuumed to 1/2" baltic birch.   The "frame/panel" veneers are put together as a single piece and then glued to the substrate.   I used home-made veneers that are 5/64's.

The curved doors - once the bent door core (4 sheets of bending plywood) is done - Then a strip of wood about 3/4" is glued to all 4 edges, then the veneer sheets are pressed on - Covering the plywood core & the edging.   This provides a real wood surface along all edges for mounting hinges and room to "finesse" the final fit - without xposing the plywood core.

I hope this makes sense - Trying to use words to describe it seems way more difficult than doing it.


Explaination was perfect.   You formed the door cores on a form in a vacuum press?   Was the bending ply 1/4"?

Karyn - The bending ply is 1/8" - Sometimes called bending poplar.

The doors were vacuumed over a form.

The rails and drawer fronts were done the old fashioned way - 2 part form and a g'zillion clamps.



That is a wonderful piece!

You mentioned that you used "forms"...

Would it be too much trouble to show some pictures of your forms?

How you made them...   and how you use them?

That would be interesting as all get out!

Thank you & have fun,

Joe -
Would be glad to share information on the forms I used for fabricating the cabinet pieces.

I have dismantled the forms used for the rails (the one used with clamps), but still have the ones for pressing the doors.

Will take some pictures this weekend and post them.


Jerry, I was under the impression that forms were permanent fixtures (like jigs)...   once you made them, you had them!   You said you dismantled the clamping form...

Do you have a clamping form system whereby you can prepare a 'form' easily, use it, dismantle, and reassemble to use it again when you want to make another one?

Can you tell us where you buy this "bending poplar" or "bending plywood" that is 1/8" thick?

Also, would it be OK with you if I extracted your pictures, your & other posts to add to my collection on my web page?

This is truly a very unusual project that I'd like to save.

Thank you very much,

Hi Joe
About the clamping forms - The one I used for the pressing the doors is a permanent one - now relegated to a corner of the shop.

But the ones I used for the rails and drawer fronts (which were pulled together by clamps) were mostly 3/4" MDF stacked and screwed together - Then trued with a patterning router bit - So they came apart easily and can be recycled.

The bending plywood I got at a lumber yard that primarily handles a good selection of foreign woods.   Would try a Google search for a supplier near you.

I am pleased that you would like to include my work on your site -
Thank you very much.



Thank you!   Will let you know when I have it added.

What kind of hinges did you use?

Thank you & have fun,

Brass Scissor hinges.


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