Free Download: Wainscoting Calculator

Posted by John on April 30th, 2016

One of my favorite home improvement projects over the past few years has been our raised panel wainscoting we added to our dining room.  While this project was fairly challenging, it was well worth the effort.  It dramatically improved the look of this space and I think it’s safe to say it probable added some value to our home.


It might surprise you to learn that the actual woodworking portion of the project wasn’t all that difficult.  The hard part was planning the layout so the panels were properly sized and the walls looked even and balanced.  This isn’t a project where you should try to wing it.

To help aid you with your own wainscoting project whether it’s raised panel or shadow boxes, I’ve come up with an MS Excel file that calculates the sizes of the panels on multiple walls for you.  All you need to do is mess with a couple numbers to play around with your layout.

That calculator file is free to download on our Plans page, all you need to do is subscribe to our newsletter.

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

To help you use the file, I filmed an instructional video that walks you through how to use it effectively.  You can watch that video below or you can click this link to be redirected to the YouTube channel.

I hope you find this video and calculator helpful and I would encourage you to try adding your own wainscoting to your own dining room, living room or vestibule.  This project can be a major game changer in the look and feel of your home.

If you have any questions at all, you can email me on the Contact page or leave a comment on the YouTube video.  I try to reply to every email I get and I’m always here to help.

Thanks and good luck!

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

New Download: Office Cabinet Plans

Posted by John on January 18th, 2016

In today’s post, I’m finally releasing the plans for my home office cabinets.  Unlike some of the other cabinet plans I’ve released before, these plans are fully adjustable and will allow you to modify the dimensions to fit your space.  The plans are actually an MS Excel file that you can download.  The file allows you to customize not only the dimensions, but also the build method.  You can select pocket screws or dados for the box construction.  You’re also able to turn the added bead feature on or off.  While I think beaded face frames looks killer, it adds a level of complexity that not everyone will want to try.

Office Cabinet Plans

home office cabinet plans


To get access to the free plans, all you need to do is subscribe to our free newsletter.  You can use the email sign-up form below.  If you’re already a subscriber, you know where to get them.  (I’ll email them out to everyone anyway!)

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Join our newsletter and be part of a community of DIYers and Home Improvement enthusiasts.

Since these plans are somewhat involved, I’ve also released a new video explaining some of the finer points of the plans.  Here’s that video…

(Click here to be re-directed to the video on YouTube)

Here’s a list of parts you’ll need to build these cabinets.  I’m not including some of the more basic tools like a table saw and a miter saw, since you can read my tool recommendations page for that stuff.

Office Cabinet Parts List

1.  1/8″ Radius Beading Bit (Optional: Only if you want a beaded face frame)
2.  1-1/2″ Kreg Notching Bit (Also only required for the beaded face frame)
3.  Inset Hidden Hinges
4.  Shelf Pins
5.  Blum Inset Drawer Locking Devices (There’s a left one and a right one)

I’ll refresh this parts list if I think of anything else I forgot.  You’ll also need drawer runners, but the plans will specify the exact part number once you punch in your desired cabinet dimensions.

Must-Watch Videos

In order to build these cabinet properly, you should familiarize yourself with at least two more videos in addition to the one above.  They’re not long.  Two of them feature this exact cabinet set so they are worth watching.

  1. DIY Home Office Cabinet Build
  2. DIY Shaker Cabinet Doors

You should also refer to the main Home Office Cabinet Wrap Up post to see the progress of the entire project from start to finish.

I hope you enjoy the challenge of building these cabinets!  This was one of my favorite projects so far in our new house.  Good luck and if you get stuck or have a question, just leave a comment or shoot me an email.



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Woodworkers of Instagram #1: Humphrey Munson

Posted by John on November 6th, 2015

If you’re into DIY and woodworking like I am and you have an Instagram account, then you’ve probably seen some pretty amazing projects in this app.  In today’s post and throughout the rest of the year, I’m going to spotlight some of my favorite Instagram accounts so you can check out their impressive work. We don’t have a lot of home improvement projects going on at the moment, but be sure to follow my Instagram  account (@john_ohfs) to see what we’re up to.

Woodworkers of Instagram

I’m going to kickoff this series by taking a look at one of my favorite cabinet shops, Humphrey Munson.  Their Instagram account is @humphreymunson.  Give them a follow.  (By the way, I’m not being paid by anyone to share my favorite accounts and I’ll just assume that they’re ok with me sharing their photos.) Here’s one of my favorite @humphreymunson photos.

Humphrey Munson is a British cabinet company that build handmade cabinets for custom, high-end looking kitchens. They’re designs are simple and quite elegant featuring mostly inset doors, beaded face frames and hardwood dovetailed drawers. If you’re thinking about building your own kitchen cabinets or built-ins, their Instagram account is a must-see source of inspiration. In addition to the white cabinets, they also have a few other paint colors and some stained pieces as well.


A photo posted by Humphrey Munson (@humphreymunson) on


A photo posted by Humphrey Munson (@humphreymunson) on

Amazing work, right?  If I ever build another set of kitchen cabinets, I’m going to use these guys for inspiration. Now here’s what I’d like you to do, either in Instagram or in this post, let me know what woodworking Instagram accounts you love and tell me your account as well. Have a great weekend!  

Posted in Carpentry. Tagged in ,, ,

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 explains this whole process in written form along with an explanation for the angle cuts on the stairs.  You can read that post here.

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.


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


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.



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


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 ,,

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