Canadian Woodworking

Sliding door buffet

Author: Carl Duguay
Published: October November 2007
Greg Schlitt
Greg Schlitt

Greg Schlitt, a self-taught, hobbyist woodworker from Chilliwack, BC, built this sliding door buffet from Douglas fir and black walnut.


Greg used mortise and tenon and dovetail joinery on the cabinet. The side panels have a gentle curve to them, which Greg accomplished using bent lamination, a technique that he has used for the first time on this project.

The curve on the sides is carried through to the legs. Both of these features help to take away what would have otherwise been a ‘boxy’ look to the cabinet, giving it a subtle upward movement. The thin walnut stiles that run along the front of the doors provide visual relief to the front of the cabinet. The stiles extend ‘rib like’ out from the inside of the cabinet, here again adding some visual interest to the interior. The cabinet is finished with dewaxed orange shellac followed with a wiping varnish, and a thin coat of wax.

One can appreciate Greg’s fondness for the quiet figure of vertical grain Douglas fir and the manner in which it ages to subtle red tones in this piece. “I appreciate that Douglas fir is one of our (West Coast) local woods, which I prefer to use for environmental and aesthetic reasons,” says Greg. “It can be somewhat of a demanding wood to work with, as it has a tendency to splinter and can tear-out unexpectedly, but it responds quite well to a scraper.” Greg usually doesn’t completely design a piece in advance, but begins with basic ideas and does what ‘feels right’ during the construction phase. He tells us that this piece looks very different from what it was when first conceived.

Among the important lessons Greg learned on this piece: slow down, and make sure you build your jigs correctly and completely the first time.

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