Sunday, September 2, 2018

Small display cabinets for Asger

Asger collects matchbox cars, and he has gotten himself a nice little collection. In order for him to organize all the small cars, we decided to build a couple of small display cabinets.

The original idea was to not make the joinery complicated, so that he could help himself in nailing the cabinet together. The front frame is made with half lap joints which is then later glued and nailed to the carcase. The carcase itself is assembled using rabbets in the corners.

For once I did something unusual. I actually bought the wood for the project.
I purchased the best pine they had in the lumber yard, and I now realize how expensive it is to buy wood. But it is nice to work with something else than larch for a change, and pine smells so good when being worked.

The back boards received tongues and grooves by means of a hand plane. That was just the right project for a child.
The moulding on the back boards were also handplaned, Asger tried to plane one, but using the combination plane wasn't easy, so I finished the rest of them.

The cabinets were finished with some spar varnish, and in a very short time they were both filled to the brim.

Actually this project was completed a year ago, and it ended up in the "draft" section because I couldn't pull myself together to take a couple of pictures. Mind you, it was prior top me getting a smart phone!
So before heading to sea this time, I took a couple of pictures, but off course there are none that will show the progress in the shop.

Display cabinets made of pine.

Moulded backboards.

Door open showing bridle joint construction.

Moulding detail on the door.

The shelves are adjustable.

Old Britains vehicles and detail of backboards.

Glass retaining strips.

Rabbeted construction and half laps on face frame.


  1. The spar varnish looks really good on that cabinet. I'll have to try some again. How did you apply it?

    1. Hi Brian

      Thanks. I am pretty sure that I brushed it on, because I wanted to be sure to get it into the small beading around the door.
      It was Asger who decided what finish we should use, since the cabinets were for him.


  2. When I was a kid in the 1950’s, my dad traveled a lot and brought me small cars from around the world. I’ll have to built cabinets like these before I pass them on to nephews.

    I’m jealous of Asger’s Isetta.

    1. Hi Larry.

      It is amazing how old toys were of a much better initial quality compared to many modern counterparts. I doubt that very few small toy cars of today will still be around in 50 years time.

      Asger took very much pride in organizing the cars in the cabinets, and he spent a lot of time searching on the Internet about the individual models (He had just turned 11 at that time).
      As you can see, we ran out of space before fitting all his cars into the cabinets.

      I can't quite remember why the Isetta is on the outside of the cabinet. I think it might be a "Dinky", a "Corgi" or a "Techno" (Danish brand) model.
      Initially it was only going to be Matchbox inside the cabinet, but I think he changed that plan a bit - at least for the Britains models.
      I think the left front tire is missing on the Isetta too. I'll have to see if I can find a small O-ring for it, as a replacement.

      Best regards

  3. Great looking cabinets. Simple joinery can make sound, attractive pieces. I especially like the mouldings. And the adjustable shelves. And the doors being inset.

    1. Hi Jeff

      Thanks for the nice comment.
      I would personally have preferred to join the corners with dovetails, but using rabbets made it possible for Asger to help a lot more in the process, and thereby giving him a greater sense of ownership in the project.
      And unless he plans on filling the cabinet with lead it will still hold up just fine.

      He also helped drilling the holes for the shelf adjusters, and he rounded the ends of the shelf supports on the disc sander.
      Plus a lot more in the project.

      That is the best part of it all in my opinion - to have the kids feel that they actually helped making something that looks good.