When working out an idea, a full size prototype is invaluable. The "client" gets to see the piece in 3D and the basic joinery can be worked out and explained. Most people have no idea about what holds the the table they eat at together. A full size prototype that's held together just with the joinery presents an opportunity to educate a client..

An educated client is also more apt to appreciate, AND be willing to pay for, the extra cost of sliding dovetails, splined mitered corners and mortise and tenon joints.

In this case, the prototype would give my son an understanding of what he'd be making and how all the parts could go together. It's usually better to know WHY your doing something than just knowing HOW to do something.

That night (we were still on Day One but it wasn't "day" time anymore) I got out some 3/4" MDF and some 1/2" ply and made the full size prototype of the idea, without the toe kicks or back panel. I did the top in MDF though the actual top would have breadboard ends if solid wood, or be framed in hardwood, with mitered corners, if the top's core were made of ply.

The sliding table on the Robland X31 combination machine made cross cutting stuff over 12 inches wide a lot easier and safer. The JoinTech Cabinet Maker System router table top and precision positionable fence - with zero clearance insert - made routing the stopped dovetail grooves along with the male parts of the sliding dovetails something even a novice woodworker could do. One of the things I wanted to do with this project was to use methods a novice could do.

With the full scale prototype done I started thinking about the "No Door" problem. .A tilt out front panel with some kind of mechanism for holding it in place when shut could work. Here's how it would work.

The locking mechanism had to be worked out so it wouldn't be obvious from the outside of the cabinet. Had some small earth magnets that'd work. Found a round dowel that could accomodate the small earth magnet, turned a step in a piece, drilled the top and glued in a magnate. Drilled a step hole on the outside of the prototype cabinet and in a piece of scrap, the latter glued to the inside of the panel "door". From the outside of the cabinet the "lock" would look like one of several doweled joints.

Any magnet can be used to "unlock" the front panel "door" but why not build the key into the cabinet. So I did up one of these..The "key" peg would be one of perhaps six or more in the top of the cabinet. Pull on the right section of trim and the "key" pops up for you. I was pretty proud of this slick idea - but then I'm a magnet freak.

Thus ended Day One.

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