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Look at the shelf corners of this vitrine display cabinet. They are the small cubes being visible in the cabinet corners, from floor to top. This design makes the cabinet.


I had never seen anything like this, when I first used the design in a multimedia rack (push left arrow in heading). This cabinet's solution is slightly enhanced by using lap joints. Now each visible corner's box has two colours (pictures).

I may have invented this, but I find that quite unlikely. The solution is so obvious! If you have seen or used this before, please mail me and I will link up any internet page that contains a picture.

The cabinet is 83 x 200 x 35 cm, made mostly from 15 mm birch lists of various widths. I have cut and milled to correct dimension. The standing L-shaped front feet, that go all the way to the top, are 43 x 43 mm. The back feet are 43 x 30 mm, glued from a pair of lists. Close to the floor there is an embedded screw in each foot, meant to help the glue, should the floor be washed and become too wet over the 100 year perspective I have for the cabinet.

Having a 100 year perspective is an interesting encounter. The design will have, I think, to be simple and elegant to survive through several furniture style shifts. The greatest threat will be from the mind of the owner. It must be liked, so that it is kept nicely. It must be structurally solid enough to survive several family moves. All mechanical details must be solid, and easy to repair. So, if it does not burn it might even survive more than 100 years. My role at that time would be as a signature and year (Teig, 2009), cut inside in the closed, lower compartment. The present owners give me no worries in this respect! (*1)

The rectangular shelf frames are grooved for 5 mm glass in such a way that part of the groove comes into the front sides. This way the glass is fastened in front so that cleaning the shelf on the underside does not push it upwards. In the back I have made brass bends that hold the glass, and are themselves fastened with a brass wire through a hole. It is possible to lift and carry the cabinet for two people with this fastening. The glass will not fall out.

The top (4 mm) and bottom (6 mm) glasses are frosted. The top to let the light inside come through, the bottom just for aesthetic reasons.

There is about 5 cm of space for light in the top. I have taken considerable care to let air pass through for cooling, and still tried to make light leaks small. I fastened a 2 mm aluminium sheet inside the top, to ease cooling. Even then, I painted max 10 W and no halogen and keep distance to glass inside. LED or fluorescent kitchen type light would be perfect. I'll wait and see what the owners put in there. They must decide if they want daylight or night time visible light, so I only made the space ready for them.

The three separate glasses (3 mm) in each door are pushed up into a 6 mm groove, then let go down in a 3 mm groove. This way, they are held by (6-3=) 3 mm both in the top and bottom. Square 4 mm lists are then only needed on the inside sides. In addition, I have used a little silicon to avoid glass to wood noise.

The side glasses (4 mm) are about 152 cm and pushed in from the top, into a 6 mm groove. A few 2 mm soft transparent plastic pieces are used on the inside to press the glass so that there would be no noise. The glass stops when the groove stops, and there is no extra protection at the glass' bottom end.

The two doors each have a diagonal list on the inside, to make sure the doors will not sag. Also, the whole cabinet has two diagonal lists on the rear side, to make it more stiff for carrying. The lower closed room has a veneer back, with a small door to push open. It is meant to open for access to electrical receptacles. The whole cabinet's total weight with glass is about 55 kg. I have made a product declaration in lexan plastic - it also contains glass sizes - it's hanging inside the closed part.

With such a stringent form, I have tried to make it less symmetric by making the pine panels in the back (with 2 mm groove) unequal in width. They are from about 2 to 6 cm wide. I have done the same thing with the birch panels in the lower part of the doors, and the side panels.

skeletonwooden details in use

The cabinet is fastened to the wall by a circular locker that once held a toroid transformer in place. It may rotate, so that it's easier to meet the wall screw. A bolt is fastened to the wall with a 2 mm lexan plastic, and adjusted with two nuts on a 5 mm bolt.

The locks (one central and one on the top) I made of birch, assembled from 4 layers, each rotated by 45 degs to each other. That way, there is no weak point at 90 degs, which is nice for the circular knot, that needs to be strong for 360 degs. The brass axle I dismantled from a radio in the 1960-ies. It has two diameters, very nice for the central knot. A small iron screw and a neodym magnet clicks the central knot in position. I had to add 3 tiny damping pieces in soft, transparent plastic to avoid noise from passing people.

The cabinet has been washed with soft or green soap ("grønnsåpe" in Norwegian) two times, and sanded with very fine grained paper after each wash.

I have estimated that the cabinet took about 120 hours to finish.

metallic details

©2009 - Original design and woodcraft by Øyvind Teig, Trondheim, Norway
with reflected replies to "what do you think about this" questions from me, by my wife Mari. Thanks!
Please help me with the English terms here, I'm not a woodwork-English specialist!

Search words in Norwegian: Hjemmesnekret vitrineskap, hjemmelagd, bjørk, grønnsåpevasket