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Carpentry

New Video: How to Install Shadow Box Trim

Posted by John on August 28th, 2015

In today’s post, you’ll learn
– How to Install Shadow Box Trim

It’s been a while since we’ve finished any home improvement projects and although, this latest one is pretty quick and simple, it feels great to wrap up another project nonetheless.  Lisa and I had been planning on adding some sort of decor or charm to our front entry for some time now and we settled on shadow box trim since it looks great and won’t break the bank.  Between paint and trim (both chair rail and base cap molding), we probably spend around $150.

shadow box trim pinterest

To make this tutorial even easier, I put together a video for you to help demonstrate the process.  Check it out:

(Click here if you don’t see the video to be redirected to YouTube)

Here’s what tools you’ll need for this shadow box molding project:

– Base Cap Molding
Miter Saw
– Tape Measure
Brad Nailer
– Adhesive Caulk
– Nail Sets
– Painter’s Caulk
– Wood Filler

I wrote a how-to post for eHow.com, which will explain this whole process in written form along with an explanation for the angle cuts on the stairs.  As soon as that article goes live, I’ll update this post with that link.

There are a couple things to keep in mind when you are thinking about installing shadow box trim.  For starters, when you are trying to plan the layout and figure out how many boxes and how big each one should be, smaller walls should only get one box.  Longer walls can get more than one, but try to get an odd number as odd numbers tend to look better, although we weren’t able to squeeze in odd numbers on our walls.

You’re also going to need some sort of top cap like a chair rail molding before you install the shadow box trim.  Luckily, we have a post and a video on how to install chair rail, which you can check out first.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me or leave a comment on this post OR on the YouTube video.

If you think my shadow box trim looks good, do me a favor and share this post.

Thanks!

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects,Home Decor. Tagged in ,, , ,

Matt’s Fireplace Built-Ins

Posted by John on August 3rd, 2015

In today’s post, we’re talking to one of readers, Matt from Virginia.  Matt recently finished his own fireplace built-ins using our Large Built-in Plans and we’re talking to him about his experience.  There’s a few nuggets of wisdom here.

Matt ended up taking our free plans and making some modifications to the dimensions to accommodate his living room.  Along the way he painted the fireplace, added floating shelves and mounted his flat screen tv.

Here’s what Matt’s living room looked like before the project:

fireplace built-ins before

 

Now here’s the after.  Looks killer!

fireplace built-ins

 

1. You based your cabinets on the Large Built-In cabinet plans. Did you have to make many changes to the design or the dimensions to get them to work in your space? Was that difficult to do?

I had to change the plans to accommodate two different sized cabinets. The left hand cabinet is 48″ with the right hand cabinet being 51″. It was not difficult to change the plans.  A little time consuming to verify measurements and check over everything twice, but rather easy. Having the plans actually saved time, because I had something to reference and/or use as a guide.

built-ins 2

2. What was the hardest part of the project?

Hardest part of the project was the amount of time it took to finish.  The first problem was the plywood was cut to the wrong size at the big box store that I went to, so I had to further modify the plans versus returning the wood to the store.  This only set me back and added additional time to the project.  Secondly, I cut the face frame short on both cabinets – this proved to be challenging as it made hinge selection difficult. I ended up using 3/8″ hinges and hollowing out the sides of the cabinets to accommodate the hinge. Finally – I have never made inset doors. This for me was by far the hardest part of the project. By nature I am a perfectionist and getting the gap to line up without having a jointer or planer was very difficult. The gaps on the doors to this day are not a perfect 1/8″ all the way around

built-ins 5

3. How long did it take you?

It took 8-9 months to finish the project. I worked mostly on weekends or in the mornings before work to get the project done. This was building the cabinets, painting the fireplace, running cables through the wall to mount the TV above the fireplace, installation of floating shelves and repainting the living room.

built-ins 7

4. What kind of finishing process did you follow? What primer and paint?

I sprayed the finished using a HomeRight Finish Max Fine HVLP Paint Sprayer – Behr Premium Plus Paint in classic white and Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer.  In total, it took two coats of primer and two coats of paint. The process also included tips from your site on painting cabinets.  I used 150 girt and 220 grit sand paper initially on an orbital sander to get everything smooth prior to painting, with a light 220 grit sanding between coats of paint and primer. The top was stained with American General Java Gel Stain and finished in Min-Wax Polyurethane – I sprayed this from a can for a satin finish.

built-ins 6

5. What are you using the cabinets for?

The cabinets are mostly for housing the cable box and electronics along with my kids puzzles and board games, pull-ups, etc.

6. What are future projects are you planning around your home?

Future projects are bathroom remodels – one which is already complete. I have two more bathrooms to finish out. The two remaining will get new floors, vanities, mirrors, etc.

7. If you had to do the project over again, what would you have done differently?

If I had to do the project over again, I would have used pocket holes to put the carcass of the cabinets together. I ended buying a dado blade set off of Ebay that came in handy, but I already had a pocket hole jig and that may have saved me some time. I would have also opted for overlay doors vs inset, as I think overlay doors would be more forgiving.

Great advice from Matt after his cabinet build.  You can see the reflection in his countertops from across the room.  Nice!  Thanks for sharing your project with us, Matt.  

Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects. Tagged in ,, , ,

DIY Cabinet Door Calculator

Posted by John on July 21st, 2015

In today’s post, I wanted to let you know about a new, free tool I’ve added to our Plans page, a Cabinet Door Calculator.  It allows you to input the dimensions of a cabinet door opening and it outputs the dimensions of the individual parts to make that door.

cabinet door calculator

If you’re thinking about replacing your current kitchen cabinet doors, this tool will take the trouble out of figuring out the dimensions for the door parts.  You can select between Inset or Full Overlay doors and you can even adjust the number of doors you are building.

To get access to this free tool, you just need to subscribe to our free newsletter using the form below.  As soon as you subscribe, you’ll receive an email with a link to the calculator and all my other woodworking plans.

Get the Free Calculator
You'll also have access to all of our free woodworking plans.

This is the same type of calculator I’ve used for all of my cabinet projects including my home office remodel and both of our built-in projects.  Actually, every time I’ve planned and built my own cabinets, I’ve used a spreadsheet like this one to make the project easier.  It allows me to make minor changes to the design or dimensions without much of headache.

This tool will help with the planning, but if you want to see how to build the doors, you can watch how I’ve built a couple in two of my YouTube videos:

1.  How to Build an Inset Style Shaker Cabinet Door

and

2.  DIY Shaker Cabinet Doors

The spreadsheet includes instructions on how to use it, but if you have any questions, you can always email me (John(at)Ourhomefromscratch.com).  Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and you’ll see the latest videos as they are released.  At the moment, I’m planning on filming at least one more cabinet door instructional video.

 

Posted in Carpentry. Tagged in ,, , ,

New Plans: Table Saw Station

Posted by John on May 24th, 2015

It’s been a while, but I’ve finally finished the Customizable Table Saw Station Plans.

table-saw-station

 

To get access to these free woodworking plans, you simply need to subscribe to our newsletter.  You can sign-up using the opt-in form on our sidebar or the form following this post.

This workstation has made using my table saw considerably easier.  Building it was a big priority before we made the built-ins for our home office.  If you cut large plywood sheet goods, a large table saw work surface is hugely important.

For the first time since I started blogging I’ve also made the Excel spreadsheet available to accompany the pdf.  If you have any problems getting the calculations to work in the pdf, the Excel spreadsheet is a second option.

As I mentioned above, these plans are completely customizable to adapt to whatever sized contractor or hobby table saw you already own.  All you need to do is enter the saw’s length, width and height and you’re good to go.

Good luck with it and let me know if you have any questions!

Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects,Tools. Tagged in ,, ,

New Video: How to Install Chair Rail Molding

Posted by John on May 16th, 2015

In this video and post, you’ll learn
– How to install chair rail molding
– How to install molding on a stairway
– How to add end caps to your trim work
– How to use two basic tools to figure out what angle to cut your trim pieces to

chair-rail-molding-featured

Happy weekend everybody!

This past week I was able to get some more house work done in the form of chair rail molding.  This is the second time we’ve added chair rail to our place.  The first time was back a few years ago.  You can read about that experience here (photos were pre-DSLR).  This time around it went MUCH quicker.  Funny how a little bit of experience will do that.

This time around, I snapped a chalk line in the areas where the chair rail was to be installed.  I also used my patented* no-tape-measure approach to trim installation, which was more fully explained in my baseboard installation video.

Anyway, why don’t you watch the video and let me know if you have any questions…

(If you don’t see the video, please click here to be redirected to YouTube)

The key takeaways from this video are:
– Use construction adhesive and a chalk line to align your trim
– Use a finish nailer for trim that is thicker than 1/2″ or so. Keep in mind that the nail needs to go through a 1/2″ thick piece of drywall plus the trim. Most brad nailers only shoot nails up to 1-1/4″ long.
– Use a t-bevel and your miter saw to figure out what angle your molding should be cut to.
– If you want an end cap or a “return”, just cut the end of the trim to a 45 degree angle. Then using a piece of scrap trim, cut a 45 degree angle on the opposite side you intend to install it and then just lop it off with a straight cut.

I hope this video helps you with your chair rail installation or any similar type of work.

Any questions??

 

Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects,Trim. Tagged in ,, , , ,

How to Install Baseboard Molding

Posted by John on April 29th, 2015

In this video, you’ll learn:
– How to remove baseboard molding
– How to install new baseboard molding
– How to work without a tape measure

Well, we finally started our latest home improvement project.  As we mentioned a few weeks ago, we’re working towards adding some character in our vestibule with taller baseboard molding, additional chair rail trim and shadow boxes.

How to Install Baseboard Molding 2

The first item on this to do list is the baseboard molding.  Rather than write a few hundred words on how to rip out short molding and install taller trim, it’s easier and more educational to simply film it and narrate the work.

Here’s a super quick video on how to install baseboard molding.  By the way, super quick for me is around 5 minutes!

(If you don’t see the video, you can click this link to be redirected to YouTube)

I hope you find this video helpful.  Adding taller trim can give your home a more high end look since shorter trim is very common.  The visual effect of the taller baseboards gives the wall a more defined contrast with the wall.

Again, I’d like to emphasize that you don’t always need to work with a tape measure.  Sometimes you do, no doubt.  However, I find that if I’m able to employ the process I used in this video, I make less mistakes. When I first started out installing molding years ago, I used a tape measure.  I can’t tell you how many cuts I messed up.  When you use a tape measure, you’re adding potential pitfalls.  You measure the wall then you measure the molding.  If you make tiny mistakes on each of those steps you can make a noticeable mistake at the miter saw and cut the board too short or too long.

You can see another example of where I was able to avoid using a tape measure when I installed quarter round molding in our family room a couple years ago.

In our next video, I’ll show you how I use a t-bevel to make trim installation on angled walls easier.

Are you in need of new trim in your home?  What molding work are you considering? 

Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects,Trim,Videos. Tagged in ,, , ,

Video: How to Build a Medicine Cabinet

Posted by John on February 26th, 2015

In this post, you’ll learn:
– How to build a medicine cabinet

How to Build a Medicine Cabinet

Well I wanted to show you this medicine cabinet completely finished and painted, but I think it may be a little while longer before it gets warm enough to spray paint it.  Maybe I’ll just brush paint it with a few coats instead.  We’ll see.  In any case, I was able to capture the build process for an instructional video.

Here are the tools and resources I used to build this cabinet.

1.  The mirror and glass shelf were from One Day Glass.
2.  The door hinges.
3.  The door latch.
4.  The router bit is a pattern plunge bit.
5.  The shelf pins.

Any questions?

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects. Tagged in ,,

Let’s Build a Medicine Cabinet Part 1

Posted by John on January 28th, 2015

In this post you’ll learn:

– The first steps to build a medicine cabinet

For a few years now I’ve been itching to build a medicine cabinet.  I’m not really sure why.  I guess I never liked the idea of paying a couple hundred bucks for a small painted box.  They’re pretty simple after all.  I had thought about building one for my first house, but I never got around to it.  So when I noticed my sister and her husband were making some upgrades around their house I offered to build them one, especially since they had already ripped their old one out.  They have a 1950’s bathroom with most of the original features and it’s in pretty good condition.  When I was over for the holidays they were using the space where the old medicine cabinet had been.

medicine cabinet hole

For this project, I pitched a few different designs to them.  They settled on a variation of a Restoration Hardware cabinet, more specifically, the Cartwright model.  We’re going to keep the overall scale and hardware, but skip the crown molding.  It’ll be a little more plain, but should blend in better with the existing decor.

cartwright medicine cabinet

(via Restoration Hardware)

This is how this project is going to work.  In this post we’re going to discuss the design, dimensioning, material and some of the other critical elements.  Then in our next medicine cabinet post, we’ll show a video on how to actually build the cabinet.  I would like to keep this series down to two or three posts at most.  If you’d like to read a more in-depth cabinet building series, you can check out our work on the TV stand we did a while ago.

Allright?  Ready to get started?  Let’s build a medicine cabinet!

Let’s start with the existing space.  There’s obviously a hole in the wall.  The medicine cabinet we’re going to build will recess into that hole.  A recessed cabinet will be a big space saver and they won’t need to patch the walls.  All I need to get started dimensioning the cabinet now are the dimensions of the hole in the wall.  I marked up the photo of the room and emailed it to my sister for her to take some measurements.

Here’s what I emailed her:

opening

I asked her to provide me a dimension for each one of those letters.  For the opening width and height, which are letters A and B, I asked her to take measurements at three locations: the left, right and middle (or top, middle and bottom).  I want the smallest of those three dimensions.  If I asked her for just the width and it turns out that the hole is slightly wider at the top than the bottom, then I could end up building the cabinet too large.  I want to make sure it will fit so we’ll build to the smallest width and the smallest height.

Since the wall is plaster and has some left over markings from the previous cabinet, I’d like the new cabinet to hide those markings.  So by asking for dimensions E and F, I can figure out how big the frame needs to be to cover that stuff.  The measurement at point D is the distance to the top of the wall tile.  I want to make sure the cabinet doesn’t touch it.

My sister took all those measurements and emailed them back to me.

At this point, I can start figuring out what the design will look like, how it will be built and how big each piece should be.  If you’re comfortable drawing this out on paper, you could use that approach.  Personally, I’m a big fan of SketchUp, so I prefer to draw my cabinets in that program.  While it’s fairly easy to use, it also has the added advantage of allowing me to show you nice rendered images of the design.

I started the drawing by sketching out a plain wall with a hole in it.  Then I gave the wall some thickness.  With that part out of the way, I drew a basic four sided box, which will be the insides of the medicine cabinet.

medicine-cabinet-box

You can see I left some space around all four sides of the box; about a 1/4″.  The depth of the box is also 1/4″ shorter than the depth of the hole.  Too small is probably OK.  Too big is going to be a problem.  You can see from the illustration that the box bottom and top will be assembled together using grooves in the box sides.  I didn’t draw a back piece, but you can just figure out its dimensions from these four pieces.  SketchUp has a tape measure tool, so after I had all four pieces drawn I could measure the dimensions of each one and write them down.

After the box parts were drawn and dimensioned, I turned my attention to the face frame.  The face frame will be attached to the box and will cover the open area around the box and also part of the wall.  Here’s what that frame looks like attached to the box.

medicine-cabinet-frame

The frame consists of a top and bottom rail board and two stile (aka side) boards.  The face frame will be assembled using pocket screws and it’ll be probably be attached to the box using pocket screws as well.  Pretty straight forward construction.

Now onto the door.  The door will be inset into the frame of the door, just like in the Restoration Hardware design.  Inset screams custom and it’s pretty much the only doors I like to build!!  They’re also pretty easy to make.  I’m going to draw the doors with a 1/8″ gap all the way around, just for the sake of the image, but in reality, I’ll make them the same size as the opening and then gently trim them down to their final size.

For the sake of clarity, I’ve dressed up the SketchUp drawing with a tile lip and some pink walls to match the photo.  I didn’t draw any hardware or a beveled mirror, although I’m sure you could do that if you wanted to.

medicine-cabinet-2

With the door drawn, I’ll write down the dimensions.  I’ll need to order a mirror and glass shelves as well, but I’ll get more into that in the next video post.  It’s also important to think about what sort of hinges or latch hardware will be required and to order it all in advance.  The box material will be birch plywood and the frame and door will be made from poplar.  While there are a lot of material options to choose from, I happen to have a lot of poplar and birch plywood laying around my shop.  Should be able to build most of it with scrap wood!

That’s it for this post. Hopefully you have a solid understanding of how I sized the cabinet and where we’re going from here.

Thanks and stay tuned.

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments and please share this post if you enjoyed it.

Posted in Carpentry,Design,DIY Projects. Tagged in ,, , , ,

Media Center Plans Now Available

Posted by John on December 2nd, 2014

tv stand plans

Well it’s been a while, but our latest set of woodworking are now available.  If you are a newsletter subscriber, you can download this tutorial from our plans page.

Get the FREE plans for this project
Join our newsletter and be part of a community of DIYers and Home Improvement enthusiasts.

The media center plans includes:

– A complete shopping list
– Cut sheets for all the plywood components
– Cut list for all the hardwood parts
– Illustrated instructions

The plans are based on our Custom Media Cabinet series.

Enjoy!

Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects. Tagged in ,, , ,

Cabinet Door Hinges and Drawer Slides

Posted by John on November 9th, 2014

In this post, you’ll learn all about

– Cabinet door hinges

– Cabinet drawer slides

– What you need to consider when selecting this type of hardware

After nearly a year of part time work, our home office remodel is finally finished.  Stop back on Wednesday and you’ll get a close up of our newly remodeled space.  In the meantime, today’s post is about cabinet hinges and drawer slides.  During our recent series on cabinet building a received a few emails asking about the hardware I’ve selected so I thought I’d put together a helpful reference post to help you select the best hinges and drawer slides for your next project.

The easiest way to explain all of this is in a video.  Can I talk about hinges, drawer slides and drawer boxes for 20 minutes?  What do you think?

(If you can’t see the video, click on this link to be taken directly to YouTube)

Let’s recap the most important aspects of the video.

Hinges

To select a hinge for your project, you first need to know what type of cabinet and cabinet door you have.  Cabinets are either frameless (European) like Ikea cabinets or have face frames, which is typical for most American made cabinets.  Next you’ll need to determine if the door is full overlay, partial overlay or inset.  My kitchen cabinet doors are full overlay, but our office cabinet doors are inset.  Generally, most kitchen cabinet doors on the market today are full overlay.  Inset doors are more labor intensive and therefore are higher in cost and tend to be associated with custom and higher end cabinets.  Partial overlay doors were more common in the 50’s and 60’s, but you can still occasionally catch them on some other pieces.

Once you know the cabinet type and the door type, you just need to determine if you want the hinges to be hidden or decorative.

I prefer Blum hinges since they are high quality.  There is a planning tool on Blum’s website that will help you plan the doors and the hardware.  I used the tool for the Clip Top Hinges with face frame.

Here’s a link to the Blum inset hinges I used on the office cabinets (affiliate).  You’ll also need a forstner drill bit for the cup holes.

Drawer Slides

For our home office project, I used Blum Tandem drawer slides.  They install with some rear brackets and side mounting blocks.  They are a little more expensive than the basic European or epoxy slides, but they work great.  Blum also has a Tandem drawer planning tool on the same page as the hinge tool.  The big difference between drawer slides is usually the length.  You can use the planning tool to get a recommendation on the slide hardware as well as the drawer box dimensions.

I hope this video helps give you a better understanding of cabinet door hinges and drawer slides.

Let me know if you have any questions!

 

Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects,Videos. Tagged in ,, , ,

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