Embellishing a Box

Still on the shop cabinet. With the carcass of the cabinet complete, I needed to make it pretty. With an item like this, essentially a shelf that could be bought at any big box store, I think it's important to really justify making it yourself. Honestly, just building the shelf took several hours, along with the cost of the plywood I couldn't possibly compete with the shelves available in retail stores. The cost and effort of making something like this for yourself is justified by having exactly what you want in the end. If you're going to bother with making it, make it your own.

As an avid admirer of the Art Deco style I wanted to incorporate some of those elements into the cabinet. I have always enjoyed the bold, angular geometry employed by designers of that era, inspired by the sun rising over the mountains of Albuquerque I played with the idea of a rising sun, with a crest made of sunbeams. 

Fabricating the decorations was mostly straightforward, two triangles and a disc are light fair; the crest was a bit more tricky. Adapting a wax-carving strategy I've used in the past I was able to create the crest on my tablesaw using the dado blades. I used half-inch spacers on the fence to form the regular intervals that make the pattern possible. Those spacers were useful also on the bandsaw when I cut away the last waste from the crest.

The biggest challenfe from this part of the build was applying gold leaf to the sun/disc. This was my first time ever attempting leaf and it swung between frustration and elation as I got to know the material. I was very lucky to have my more experienced partner assisting me with this task.

Though I have to admit that my painting skills are rusty I'm still quite pleased with the outcome and especially so because I can now start moving books out into the studio where they'll be most useful. 

Watch how I did it all here: