It's November and we are off...
...building cabinets!!

We decided to use the upstairs vanity as our 'prototype'. The first of anything requires a lot of templates, jigs and mock-ups, so it is much slower going. But it sets the pattern for the rest, so it's a final opportunity to fine tune the design!



                                         Click on (most) images for a larger view.


- 3/4" pine plywood
-1/2 paperface plywood
- 3/4" laminated project pine
- clear douglas fir - milled from left-over framing lumber

Cabinet backs: 1/2 paperface plywood, painted white on exposed side
Drawers sides and bottoms: 1/2 paperface plywood, painted white on exposed side
Exposed cabinet sides: 3/4" laminated project pine, stained x3, sanding sealer x1, clear satin finish x3
Shelves: 3/4" laminated project pine
Unexposed cabinet sides, partitions: 3/4" pine plywood, sanding sealer x1, clear satin finish x3
Door face: 3/4" laminated project pine, stained x3, sanding sealer x1, clear satin finish x3
Trim: douglas fir, stained x3, sanding sealer x1, clear satin finish x3
Counter top: support pieces - 1/2 paperface plywood, solid piece - 3/4" pine plywood
Counter top surface: Baltic slate formica

poor man's dado set; 4 old saw blades laminated on the table saw mockup to confirm the joint designs poor man's 'table' saw works to a precision of 1/32" squaring the fence
kitchen is getting cleared out everything must be cleaned cabinet panels cut to size jig to mark and pre-drill screw holes
table mounted jig keep things square our magic glue at work again drywall screws have a nice thin
shank are great for clamping
using knife and wet paper towel
to clean off excess glue
finished product ready for staining glue needs to set for 24-48 hrs three cheap guns with bits and drivers at the ready dado cut at end panel on 2nd cabinet
starting the mockup for the doors douglas fir framing sticks for trim day off for pruning and chipping mill the post components
mark for nail positions post will butt-joint against smooth inside cabinet joint assemble "T" to accommodate drawer and overlapping joint clean glue joints with blade

While we wait for the glue to harden solid, we divert our attention to the shower stall plumbing install and prepping the bedroom floor for carpet installation.

final cleaning to get ready! laying the 10lbweight underlay... rolling it out!... expertly trimming...

What a skookum tool! -  a "knee kicker" to pull and stretch the carpet to the wall.  Of course one has to be precise in the cutting knowing how much stretch there is going to be so just the right amount gets crimped down in to the trim or up against the wall.

CARPET CHOICE: Filament PET carpet made from 25% recycled plastic bottles!!  Beautiful look and feel - on the feet and environment!


Back to the cabinet; the "T" is cured and solid, so we glue the top bar at both ends, clamp and secure with a single finish nail to stop from slipping. Again we allow the glue to fully set for 48 hrs. before securing the bottom.

  clamp at the ready ends are glued clamped
and centered to insure vertical excess glue scraped off and wiped clean. more packing in between work
cabinet moves to "finishing room" for first coat of stain milling and sanding douglas fir frame of doors rough cutting dado 
finish cutting dato with router trimming ends at 45 degrees one end per stick is ready
cutting door panels using a 'poor man's table saw' and a 'poor man's jointer' assign location to each piece
glue and clamp long sides first using laminate flooring scrap as shims to protect the finish with one end angled, it is easy to measure precisely the length required to make a snug fit

After Laura finished the staining and varnishing the cabinets were ready to go upstairs. First we mounted the sliders for the drawers and cut out the hole for the plumbing. The 3/4" wall mounting/standoff strip was ready and in place with stud locations clearly marked. We prefer a mounting strip on the wall instead of on the cabinet since we use solid plywood. We clamped the cabinet frames together and installed "show" bolts while our support team looked on; West Coast Bear, Po and Junior.  Gotta keep the kid alive inside all of us!


Next we install the 1/2" plywood support strips to the top of the cabinet... the counter top will be secured to these...

measuring for overhang gluing and fastening with finishing nails in to the plywood sides
nice solid support for countertop checking square for countertop 3/4" pine plywood for top figuring out clamping for trim...

Clamping was a little nerve racking until I figured out a simple way. Using scrap laminate flooring as shims, I lifted the panel off the clamps by 1/4" and then set the Douglas Fir (DF) trim up on either side of the panel. In this way I could clamp the first DF trim and squeeze it into place, carefully aligning the ends while the second DF trim just lay below the final plane of assembly acting as a shim. Then I could release the clamps knowing that the compressed glue would prevent the first trim piece from shifting. Now I could take my time to set the second trim into place and then clamp the whole shebang in the final state. I used long shims as you can see to bridge the clamps so I would not have to balance them individually.


Worked out great!
Now it's time to lay on and glue the Formica laminate surface...

Stay tuned...


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