February 22, 2015

Building Custom Cabinets: My Vision - Part 1

My vision
Yup. Custom cabinets. This can't be too hard right? Especially for a third woodworking project...

Some people call me ambitious, others call me crazy. I believe I'm a fine line somewhere in between ;) Why custom cabinets you ask? Well this of course has to do with my craft room. I was going to purchase some RTA (ready to assemble) kitchen base cabinets, but the dimensions were just too big for my little craft room, the cabinets would extend out to 25" with the table overhang and that would give me literally 2 square feet of space to walk into my craft room. Not that I'm in dire need of walking space in there, but I don't want my entire room to be cabinets...only 3/4 of it!

Keep on reading to follow me on this project, it's lengthy, but keep in mind I'm trying to write out all the details for any newbies wanting to know what the process is :)



I'm hoping to get this project finished by the end of the year, fingers crossed tightly. I know 2.5 months seems like a long time, but between taking care of a baby, a house, and then planning Halloween, birthdays, Christmas, etc. I know the time will go by super fast. And then I'm also back at work officially (for those of you who didn't know I'm on maternity leave) at the beginning of December. I'm already overwhelmed thinking about everything that lies ahead!

This is what my office/craft room currently looks like. Nope, totally didn't bother cleaning it up before taking this picture! The cabinets I plan on building will replace all of those units, including my lovely little file cabinet that I did a makeover on. I still love it, but it's not as tall as the other cabinets will be and I want everything to look relatively seamless. So everything in the picture will go bye-bye!


Anyways, here's a mock-up of what I'm envisioning for the base cabinets (minus doors and counter top of course). I've already taken inventory of everything that I would like to store in these cabinets in my craft room, and have measured out specifically where they are going to go. I figure I could do little peg holes in the side and have the shelves move-able...but that would be smart, instead I'm sticking to my guns and drilling them into the sides! The majority of the frames will be held together with glue and pocket holes (have I mentioned how much I love my Kreg Pocket Hole Jig??), and then I'm planning on attaching the backs with a nail gun. 

Here's the type of doors that I've settled on, just simple shaker cabinets with a frame and a smooth inset panel. I was debating on making the inset panels bead board...but to keep it consistent with the hanging cabinets, I've decided just a flat surface will do. Gotta figure out hardware and hinges now, hmm. That will come once I see if I can actually build the door!


So, obviously with the title picture the cabinet frame is assembled, huzzah! I picked up a 4'x8' sheet of 5/8" sanded pine plywood (baltic birch wasn't in stock, and I wanted to try something different from MDF) and had Rona do all my cuts so it would all fit in my car. I have a table saw and could totally rip the boards myself...but if I'm going to get the wood cut into pieces to fit in my car I might as well get them to cut everything :) It's $0.50/cut so it's a small price to pay to not worry about doing it yourself. I did get my pieces cut slightly oversize just to make sure everything was the right measurements in the end. 

Here's the diagram I printed out and hand wrote the dimensions of each on the paper. I sketched this up as usual in Google Sketchup, this not only helps me figure out what pieces I can get cut on my sheet of wood, but also as a handy diagram for the person cutting my wood.


And here's how I stored my wood! Fancy I know, only the best for my wood.


Interested in seeing how I cut and assembled the cabinets? Wait for the next post!