Instructables
Picture of Nojo Design: Large Step Cabinet: February 2012
The largest single piece of furniture I’ve ever made is this stepped cabinet.  Finished piece is 8 ½’ tall and over 10’ long.  This project has been great, although it almost fell over on top of me at one point
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Getting Started

Picture of Getting Started
1. I started with several client meetings and design iterations for the cabinet. 
2. Once the design was finalized, I did some calculations and headed to the lumberyard and bought 5 12’ 8/4 boards of black cherry to build the frame of the piece.
3. Back in the shop, I cut down all the rough boards except for one, which I made the longest members with.  Then I straightened one face and one edge of each board on the jointer and then sent them all through the planer to get even and consistent thickness of 1 13/16”.
4. After that, I ripped all the boards on the table saw down to 1 13/16” squares and sent them all through the wide belt sander to achieve even 1 3/4” square stock.
5. Then I carefully calculated a cut list for the stock and cut all parts to length on the table saw.

Step 2: Beginning Joinery

Picture of Beginning Joinery
4.JPG
6. Moving to the horizontal mortiser, I carefully set up an exactly centered mortis in the stock and begin cutting mortises in the ends of all the short pieces and then on the longer pieces, I took time to lay out the mortise location.
7. Once all mortises were cut, I dry fit the carcass to see the shape of things to come.
vicra2 years ago
this would be perfect to match the new stairs i have to install in the house.. either next to (so the tops can serve as more space) or tucked under the stairs... all i can say is WOW!!!!
mary candy2 years ago
Just F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S !!
studleylee2 years ago
I notice your handsome/pretty(?) dog there and wanted to add that this would be perfect for helping an older pet get to the high places they loved when younger. I could see cats loving this. -Lee
luvfunstuff2 years ago
Fabulous projects like what you have accomplished here is the reason I wish I knew woodworking. This is really unique and looks really well made! Way to go!
nojodesign (author)  luvfunstuff2 years ago
Thank you. It's a very satisfying feeling to design something, build it and live with it. If you ever get thr chance to experience making something with wood, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
You're welcome! : ) I think I'll start with some bluebird houses. Would probably be hard to goof them up, but if I do, I don't think the birds will mind too much ;) Have been dieing to use these antique wooden clamps that were my husband's grandfather's tools. He was a carpenter to the royal family of Bohemia, when it was still a country. (not fooling!) If his grand-dad were still alive, I bet he'd like to see them being used again. Thanks for the suggestion, I'm sure this will be fun!
Obviously very lovely stuff, I wish I had your shop. Anyways I was wondering if we could see this in its final resting place? Id love to see what this looks like in your house.*
(Disclaimer: I skimmed most of the instructable so if you mentioned it somewhere in there I didn't see it, sorry!)
I_lassie2 years ago
Lovely AND magnificent. How I'd love to have even part of it.!
nojodesign (author)  I_lassie2 years ago
Thanks! Part is all that would fit in my house, it's really big.
tn.2 years ago
i LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE tansu cabinets!

just a bit of background for those who don't know: the tansu is supposed to be modular, able to be broken down into individual chests and cabinets and tables and whatnot, then reassembled into the step formation.

what happened was that taxes were levied on second-floor living spaces. so the poorer citizens devised this ingenious method of cheating the tax man: go into the home, it's a simple one-floor bungalow with everybody lying around cheek-by-jowl, typical poor peasants. once the tax collector was out of range, they reassembled the step chest and revealed the trap door hidden in the ceiling that led to the upstairs living quarters.
paqrat2 years ago
Beautiful!
ddw_az2 years ago
very nice, lots of storage and can be build to match my stair case.
yes i know i cannt not walk on this

i also like your shop.
in the photo in step 1, what are the long things hanging on the wall??
nojodesign (author)  ddw_az2 years ago
Thanks for the kind words. The cabinet could function as steps. However this one is not going to be.
My shop is in a old vaudeville theater I renovated 11 years ago. So the goldish thing on the wall is a pressed tin column that framed the stage. The project made for a wonderful work space.
I am refering to the right of the column, and under the wood cabinets.



i will be renovating an old 60x60 pole barn to make a shop. looking for all Usefull ideas.
nojodesign (author)  ddw_az2 years ago
Oh, those are just rows of my lighter duty clamps. I feel strongly that all tools need a home in shop. Good luck with your project, sounds like lots of fun.
TigerMoon2 years ago
So beautuful, so practical, my cats would LOVE this! And me too!
Gosumdoji2 years ago
Fantastic piece of work you've put together there! I've made a couple of smaller tansu myself, but this definitely puts them to shame.

Would you have/be interested in sharing measured drawings, or at least a few of the 'box' dimensions? This looks like something I'd like to try for myself.

Excellent project!
widget20072 years ago
absolutely beautiful!
Rich992 years ago
is that a printer's tablesaw that you use for crosscuts? i haqve one in my basement,m collecting dust. it has the dial micrometer stop on the fence.
nojodesign (author)  Rich992 years ago
Rich99 - It is a printmakers saw, I found they can be nice additions to a fully equipped wood shop (with some modification). Let me know if you have any questions about it. If you are not interested in using yours, please let me know; I may be interested. Thanks for looking at my posting.
atmooney2 years ago
That's gorgeous!
Uptonb2 years ago
Congrats on being a finalist, and good luck!
nojodesign (author)  Uptonb2 years ago
Thanks Uptonb, appreciate it!
noahw2 years ago
I agree - this cabinet is very well executed and is a unique idea that I think the community would really enjoy seeing full instructions for. As editor of the workshop category (the category you submitted to), and taking into account the fact that this is an entry in the furniture contest, I think you'd get a much richer experience of our community and website if you filled out the rest of the instructions with as much detail and pictures as possible. While it's my job to leave encouraging comments on great work all over the site, I'm going a step further with you, and am specifically asking you, as one wood worker to another, could you please add in further detail about how you made this amazing piece of furniture? Thanks for your time and your submission. Regardless of what you decide to do, you've got an amazing piece of furniture there - nice job.
nojodesign (author)  noahw2 years ago
Hi.
Thank you for the kind words, I value your opinion. I had included a 24page PDF with lots of photos and complet instructions. Was that not the appropriate approach?
Thanks again.
Jo
If the contents of that .pdf were to appear as discrete and documented steps on the site than I think you'd have yourself one heck of a project that any website, and especially ours would be very proud to have.

If you've got the time, I think you should totally break that .pdf out into additional project steps in your Instructable by simply copying and pasting the text into our editor and migrating the photos into you library and then adding them to the appropriate step. 24 step Instructable - no problem!
nojodesign (author)  noahw2 years ago
Great suggestion - I took care of it. Thanks again.
Awesome! Thanks for taking the time!
wilgubeast2 years ago
This is gorgeous and enormous. I'd love to see the rest without needing to download the pdf.
nojodesign (author)  wilgubeast2 years ago
Thanks wilgubeast, I broke it out into steps on the site. Thanks for looking.
CementTruck2 years ago
This is a beautiful Tansu. I'm voting for this!
nojodesign (author)  CementTruck2 years ago
Thanks CementTruck!