Constructing an Armoire


Some time ago a friend asked me to construct four armoire units.  He had four painted panels 29" X 48"  depicting  four seasons as viewed through a window.  These had special significance to him and he wanted them to be incorporated into armoires that would belong to his four children.  The units were to be functional to the children as they grew older and were to go with the children when they left home to be on their own in years to come.

I was instructed that they would be stained a dark colour. 

I designed the units shown on this page to meet that request.  The cabinet area is 23" X 36" X 60" and with the legs, stands at 71 " tall.  The basic cabinet is birch plywood and the face rails are aspen with the door made of birch wood.  The door needed to be strong as the panels would likely not be glued in and could be removed for safety when the furniture would be moved.  To achieve this I made the corner joints as full through mortise and tenon joints.  I used a full length piano hinge and a simple sliding catch closure.  I added corner cleats that can be unscrewed to hold the painted panels in place.  The legs are turned from birch hardwood and have a centre dowel section that is inserted through the 3/4 inch plywood base.  These are glued and screwed in position.  I will also glue and screw in a larger cleat made of 1/4 inch baltic birch plywood to add to the strength of the leg attachment to the armoire.  The top and bottom moulding is  intended for appearance and for protection of the side walls.  The front corners have a simple cove routed on their length.  The intention is that the unit can be fitted to take clothes or be modified by adding shelving . 

The images on this page are thumbnails and can be clicked to see better detail.

Outside of door showing cleat

Inside of door showing cleat and rabbetted edge to accept the painted panels

Inside corner showing centre of leg showing through the plywood and heads of screws

Plywood plate that will be glued down and screwed into the leg from inside of the cabinet space

Upper corner showing moulding and top of edge cove.

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The client came to pick up the units in early July 2008.  He brought the painted panels and we fitted them into the doors to see the  intended outcome.  The units still needed to be stained and finished however.  I am pleased with the outcome and the client was as well.