A.J. Hamler's Sideboard

A contemporary classic patterned after an old-fashioned original.

LOCATION: Hartford, CT

    When we moved from Ohio to our condo in Hartford, Connecticut 15 years ago, I had no shop and had yet to make arrangements with anyone to use shop space and equipment.
    As a result, itchy to make something, I bought a kit from Emperor Clock Co. to make an old-fashioned ice box to use in our dining room. (See photo, below.) Since we were still in the process of furnishing our new home and paying bills from the move, the kit was a bit pricey at about $250; so my wife and I considered it an anniversary present to ourselves. (By the way, the same kit in the Emperor catalog costs almost $400 today.)
The Original Icebox

    The kit wasn't bad, but almost all of the solid wood was laminated. Even some of the pieces only 2" or 3" wide were made up of several thinner strips. Because of that, staining was uneven. Still, the piece was solid, attractive, and the end result was a nice addition.
    Fifteen years later, with a full shop in the condo basement, Sally's been begging me for a cabinet to use for storing dishes and other dining-room items. We decided I'd make something that matched that kit icebox. I copied it as exactly as I could -- visually that is... except for the top, which is made of two pieces, there is no laminated stock in it. The only other difference was that, because the carcase was not as deep as the icebox, I made single panels on the sides instead of the double panels on the original. I used the same stain, and topped it off with several coats of poly, buffed to a satin finish. The two pieces match nicely. The sideboard measures 48" x 30" x 16" and, including the hardware, cost only $200. My wife is more than pleased with her cabinet. Sideboard Door Open

     Since I did all the work to make something that my wife wanted, does this sound like a one-sided anniversary present? Yep. Of course, I needed to buy a biscuit joiner to make the project. I'd been wanting one for some time anyhow and used the sideboard as an excuse to buy it.

...A.J. Hamler




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