Alaskan cedar cabinet

Design considerations:
This design was loosely based on Japanese sewing boxes (haribako) and small cabinets popular in the first half of the 20th century. Of course, those craftsmen did not use dovetails for any joinery in their boxes - at least not visible dovetails. Next time I would follow their example. The dovetails are visually too busy once the finish darkened up the end grain. Alaskan yellow cedar (AYC) is beautiful to work with but a bit pricey so I wanted to minimize waste. This dictated the major dimensions. 

Materials: AYC, poplar drawer sides and internal framing, Port Orford cedar drawer bottoms, maple drawer pulls, 1/4" birch plywood back. Titebond II glue. 

Methods: The AYC came as rough sawn 2"x8" about 6' long. This was resawn with a frame saw to approx. 1/2" thick pieces, then cut to 18" lengths, then planed flat one face. A marking gauge (kebiki) was used to mark the edges for thickness and then the second face was planed flat and parallel. Care was taken in marking the best planing direction for each face because the grain was hard to read. When the pieces were glued up for the major panels these markings were used to insure that the glued up panel could be finish planed successfully. The top is dovetailed to the sides, and the bottom panel is slid into sliding dovetails cut in the sides with a azebiki and a 10 degree straight guide. The 3 upper drawers ride on open poplar frames, not solid AYC panels like the bottom drawer. Those frames are mortised into the sides. Drawer depth is adjustable by small screws set in blocks glued near the back . A 1/4" birch ply back is rabbeted into the sides , top, and bottom and held in place with brads.  Drawer handles were formed by ripping and planing a strip of maple and then cutting it into sections. Handles are mortised into the drawer fronts and glued.

Created an involved formula for determining equal width pins and tails to join drawer sides to front. I did this because each drawer was slightly taller than the one above it and I though it might be quicker to calculate than trial and error. Not sure it was, but maybe you find it useful for some application.

Finish: The project (before the finish was put on) was not sanded. The 70mm finishing plane (kanna) left a better-than-sanded surface. Shellac 3 coats brushed on. Sanding with 600 grit and 0000 synthetic steel wool (scotchbrite) with linseed oil between coats. Wiped down with naptha after each oil sanding.

Tools: This was a hand tool project - except for a drill for some tiny holes. Frame saw, various Japanese hand saws, planes, chisels. Had to make a 1/16" chisel from a bandsaw blade for the drawer pull mortises. I did not have a 1/4" plow plane for grooving drawer sides/front for the drawer bottom so I made one from an antique plane iron and a block of maple.

Comments:  A lot of mistakes were made, both in design and execution. Only one blowout of a dovetail on the front of a drawer but I was able to repair it cleanly. One drawer side has a slight twist that throws the drawer askew. Make sure they are flat. Over time the poplar drawer sides seem to have shrunken in all directions so the tails are shorter than originally. Dry that wood.