Posted by John on November 18th, 2013
So I was going to make another video of the cabinet installation, since we were already at that point. Then I realized, I’d be showing a 30 second long clip of me screwing the cabinet to the wall. (I just secured the cabinet to the wall with a couple of 2″ drywall screws. The screws went into the backstrap that runs along the back of the cabinet and into a stud in the wall.) I don’t think you need to see that.
Let’s go ahead and skip that video and get right to the good stuff.. the pictures.
Here’s what our TV wall in the sitting room looked like just a couple of hours ago..
And here’s how it looked with the new cabinet installed…
Looks pretty close to that concept drawing we made a few weeks ago.
Here’s a front view…
And that front view concept drawing…
So that’s it for this tutorial series. The only thing we have left to do is wrap the bottom of the cabinet in some baseboard trim to tie it into the wall and do a bit of caulking and touch up paint. If you’re interested in learning how to apply molding to cabinets*, you can check out the tutorial we did when we built the bigger unit. It’s the exact same process.
Next time you see this cabinet, it will be completely finished… and the walls may be painted too. We’ll see.
*Lisa actually really liked the look of the cabinet without the baseboard molding and was reluctant to add it. Then she saw the baseboard molding on the cabinet and thinks it looks even better.
Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects. Tagged in ,built-ins, cabinets, carpentry
Posted by John on November 7th, 2013
So our Custom Media Cabinet is nearly complete. I’m hoping to get it painted and then assembled this weekend. Instead of putting it together and then painting it, I’m going to try painting most of it first and then gluing it up. It was a major PIA to paint our built-in once it was finished. Especially the interior of the cabinet. Hoping to avoid that aggravation. Anyway, in today’s post, I’m going to show you how to DIY cabinet doors.
Back when we made our built-in, I threw together a video on YouTube showing our readers how to build inset shaker style cabinet doors. That video was up on YouTube for a couple months and got over 12,000 views! I took it down to make some changes and re-uploaded it a few weeks ago. There’s really no sense in making another video on shaker style inset cabinet doors, obviously, so I’m just going to re-share the original video.
Shaker style doors are fairly straight forward to make. Making them inset instead of overlay just screams custom and in the video I show you how I go about getting that result.
Oh, and head’s up… Sherwin Williams is having a 40% off sale this weekend, so you can be sure we’ll be heading over there.
Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects. Tagged in ,built-ins, cabinets, carpentry, shaker, woodworking
Posted by John on October 15th, 2013
During my three day weekend, I managed to finally get some woodworking done. I built the face frame for our custom media cabinet. As promised, I whipped up a tutorial video. Let me know if you have any questions. You’ll see it’s not all that difficult to cut the pieces to their finished length and width and then assemble them using pocket screws. Hope it helps!
Up next we’ll be cutting out our box components and adding our grooves and dados. Fun times.
Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects. Tagged in ,built-ins, cabinets, carpentry, face frame
Posted by John on October 13th, 2013
Happy Columbus Day! Or as my Italian wife refers to it… “Better than St. Patrick’s Day.” We hope you all had a great weekend. We made some solid progress on our media cabinet. The face frame is built and I’ll be starting on the cabinet boxes shortly. I filmed almost all of the face frame construction and I plan on doing the same for the rest of the build. Hope you like videos, because you’re going to be seeing a lot of them soon.
On Friday, we left off with some cut sheets that I used to draw up a shopping list. Today, we’re going to discuss actually buying the material.
Our shopping list consisted of one 4×8 sheet of 3/4″ thick paint-grade plywood and a couple boards of paint grade hardwood. Let’s start with the plywood.
What to avoid: Framing, roofing or flooring plywood.
Why not? Well, these types of plywood are designed for their particular application. For a paint-grade project, we want something that has a smooth finish on both sides that’s also knot free. Most of these construction quality plywood sheets are going to have a significant amount of defects that won’t leave you with a quality finish. The tempting thing about these lower grade plywood options is their price. They may be up to half the cost of the plywood I normally use.
What to look for: A quality furniture grade plywood, like this Birch plywood. It’s finish grade on both sides, it’s strong and it’s designed for cabinet builds.
Now here’s the bad news: the price.
The good news is I only need one sheet. That’s a lot of money for some plywood. Here’s the deal though, in total, this cabinet will probably cost under $125 and I’m hoping it lasts a long, long time. So, spending $50 on some plywood isn’t that terrible if you put it in perspective.
With my sheet in hand, I took it over to the panel saw and had the lumber associate cut it into four sections so I could fit it in my car.
For the hardwood boards, I like poplar. Poplar is fairly inexpensive and it’s perfect for paint. Maple would also be a great choice. Unless you are planning on staining a project like this, I’d avoid oak or cherry. And yes, you could use pine, especially a high quality pine, but it’s a softwood so expect it to show wear and tear over time. The hardwoods like poplar tend to hold up better.
So that’s my 2 cents on buying paint grade lumber from your local big hardware store. You may also want to look for some local non-chain lumber yards as well. Sometimes they have a better variety of plywoods and most will special order some if you’re looking for it.
In our next post, we’ll have a video on building the face frame.
Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects. Tagged in ,built-ins, cabinets, carpentry
Posted by John on October 6th, 2013
Hope everyone had an enjoyable and restful weekend! Last week we started the design work on our custom media cabinet by constraining our overall dimensions and making a rough drawing of how it should look. Today, we’re going to pickup where we left off and do some detailed design work starting with the face frames.
Even though this is a custom piece, it has the same basic bones as your typical run of the mill kitchen cabinet. It consists of a plywood box, a hardwood face frame, a countertop and of course, some doors.
If you’re not familiar with what a face frame is, go take a look at your kitchen cabinets. Most American kitchen cabinets have face frames. It’s a 3/4″ thick frame of wood that gets attached to the plywood box portion of the cabinet. Here’s a side view of the media cabinet we’re designing that shows that the frame and the box. A lot of European cabinets are “frameless” and skip the face frame altogether. Ikea kitchen cabinets are frameless. Some of this may sound familiar if you followed our built-in posts closely.
The face frame does a few things for us: it provides a frame to attach the doors to, it serves as a divider between each section and it provides some added strength to our media cabinet. It also gives the cabinet a more traditional look.
So let’s take a closer look at our face frame.
In our last post we mentioned that the overall height of the cabinet it 27″ and the width is 50″. From the image above, you can tell that those dimensions INCLUDE the countertop. That’s important because I think the countertop will look great if it overhangs the rest of the cabinet by a good inch on the front and both sides. The countertop will also be 3/4″ thick.
So let’s subtract out the 3/4″ countertop thickness and the 1″ overhang on both sides and see where that leaves us.
Now we know the overall dimensions of the face frame. Not too hard, right?
We’re almost ready to dimension each of the face frame pieces, but before we can do that we need to make a couple decisions. We need to pick the width of each board that’s going into the frame. In order to do that, we need to know where each board ends and the next one begins. To help make this step easier, I color and letter coded the face frame drawing. Each color and letter is a different board. The same color and letter boards are the same dimensions exactly.
When I designed my built-in cabinet, I made most of the face frame out of 1.5″ wide boards (also known as 1″ x 2′s” or “one by’s”). A “one by two” is a 3/4″ thick board that’s 1.5″ wide. Why they don’t call it a 3/4″ by 1.5″ is beyond me.
Let’s take each board and dimension it.
The “A” boards
The”A” boards will be 1.5″ wide as we mentioned. The length is 27″ minus the thickness of the countertop: 26 1/4″.
The “B” boards
The bottom “B” board will have part of its width covered by a baseboard trim. I’d like 1/2″ to be hidden behind that baseboard molding and above the baseboard I’d like to have 1.5″ to be visible. So that’s a 2″ wide board. The length is 48″ minus the width of the two “A” boards, leaving 45″. The top “B” board won’t be hidden at all, but I’m going to make it 2″ wide anyway. I think the top board will look better if it’s a little wider than the rest.
The image below shows a close up of the bottom “B” board and how it will be partly covered by my baseboard molding. The dashed line represents the top of the baseboard molding, which is 3 1/4″ tall.
The “C” boards
The “C” boards will be 1.5″ wide. The length is determined from subtracting out both “B” boards and the 2 3/4″ bottom space from the overall 26 1/4″ length of the face frame leaving 19 1/2″.
Let’s recap our dimensions, all are 3/4″ thick:
A: 1.5″ wide x 26 1/4″ long
B: 2″ wide x 45″ long
C: 1.5″ wide x 19 1/2″ long
Now that we have the dimensions for all of our face frame components, we can move onto the next step, which will be to design and dimension our cabinet box. We’ll save that for our next post.
What can you takeaway from this post?
Face frames sit on the front of most American cabinets. You can design a face frame from the overall dimensions of a project and you can dimension each board if you select board widths. This stuff isn’t rocket science, it’s basic math and some design choices. It’s just a matter of knowing the process.