I had a very satisfying burst of progress over the past few days. I managed to finally get all the planer marks out of the boards, then went around the perimeter of each with a dadoed scrap piece to ensure a good fit between the panels and the dadoed frames.
I sanded each board up to 3000 grit sandpaper, so they are gleaming. I am almost tempted to put no finish on them!
Then I touched the edges of each of the frame pieces with 600 grit sandpaper just to remove any ridges left by planing the edges.
The test fit went well, despite the fact that I put a couple pieces in the wrong way. I was quite encouraged that a fairly limited amount of bashing was required, and it all seemed to fit in well and all the gaps closed up nicely.
My ruby shellac flakes arrived the other day. I dissolved some into a 1/2 lb cut, and did a test with a couple coats padded on a piece of elm scrap. It was not at all what I wanted. No hint of red at all. So I took a much larger piece, scraped and sanded it up to 3000 grit so it is the same as my actual panels, and I'll use that to test out a couple other finishing ideas.
Oh yeah, I also still need to do the shelves and the top!
13 hours ago