February 22, 2015

Building Custom Cabinets: The Reveal - Part 4 (final)

Hello beautiful. Would you like to come home with me? What's that? You already are home? Excellent.

He he he, I'm SO proud of myself, it's such a wonderful feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment building something from nothing. This was literally pieces of wood when I started, and now it's a beautiful, functioning cabinet that can hold stuff and you can open and close the door, amazing!

I'm not quite finished yet, I still need to add on the toe kick in the front, but I haven't quite figured out what design I want it to be, I don't want just a plain 'ol straight board of wood, so I'll probably give you an update in a later post once I've settled on a design.

Interested in how I built this and some words of wisdom? Keep on reading after the jump!

So in case you've missed my other posts on building this cabinet, you can check them out below.

Building Custom Cabinets: Assembling the Frame - Part 2 of 4
Building Custom Cabinets: Building the Door - Part 3 of 4

Looking back on building this cabinet, it was actually pretty easy once the pieces were cut to size. I'd say the hard parts were in figuring out the dimensions, mocking it up to understand what pieces I needed and where they fit, and then actually sanding and painting the unit itself. Assembly was quick, paint prep was not. Touching up my scuffed up door a bunch of times was also not quick. Bah.

Here's a quick recap of the general steps when building the cabinet.

  • Cut the wood to the sizes needed
  • Sand the wood while it's flat, much easier to do than when there are crooks and crevices
  • Prime the wood
  • Assemble the wood (including all shelves, you risk the chance of marring up paint if you assemble the frame first and then shove in the shelves)
    • Remember to always check the squareness of your pieces as well as make sure everything is level every so often
  • Sand, paint, sand, protect!
  • Figure out what type of door to build
  • Cut the wood to the sizes need
  • Sand down flat panels if necessary to avoid sanding when there are crooks and crevices
  • Assemble the door
  • Sand down the entire door
  • Purchase and install hinges (at this point I would only pre-drill door knob/pull holes)
  • Remove hardware
  • Prime, sand, paint, sand, protect! 

My final thoughts on the whole build process:

  • Do your research via blogs, YouTube, etc. and be informed on how to tackle this every step of the way. You want to feel confident and comfortable using power tools, the more knowledge you have the better, and the less frustrated you will be creating your masterpiece!
  • I looked up videos on the following pieces:
    • What pieces are needed for a base cabinet (i.e. two support braces on the top to screw into the counter top, support braces on the back to attach the back panel/square up the cabinet, etc.)
    • How to build a shaker door with a table saw
    • How to install hidden hinges on a full overlay cabinet (frameless, no frame) as well as proper spacing on your door
    • Proper spacing on installing the door pull
I know I spent a lot of time looking up how to properly pull everything together (more than what I mention above), but you don't realise how many things you will need to know when building, I was surprised at how long it actually took me to figure out spacing of the handle pull let alone building an entire cabinet!
  • If you are screwing your shelves in with pocket holes, start assembling by screwing in the top shelf first and working your way down. Because of the narrow space between my two top shelves, I had to unscrew the middle shelf in order to install the top shelf, then had to re-install the middle shelf.
  • Do NOT paint your pieces BEFORE assembling the carcass or the door, I can tell you first hand that it SEEMS like it would be easier to do, and granted it is easier to paint things when the surface is completely flat, but you don't realise how...rough you can be on wood surfaces when you're assembling things with screws and whatnot. Even with laying down towels and soft surfaces to lay my cabinet on, and being ever so careful screwing in my pocket screws, I still ended up having to retouch a bunch of areas on my cabinets which took much longer than taking the time to paint everything after assembly. Pain in my everything, ugh.
  • When cutting out dados, etc. and installing your hinges, do these on practice pieces of wood first to make sure you get the spacing that you want, it took me several tries to get the groove spacing right, when I did on my test piece of wood I saved it to make for easy setup with my table saw blade. And with the hinges it took me four tries to get the proper spacing, I also saved the perfect 'test hole' and wrote down the measurements/placement as a reminder.

Well that's it, hopefully this post helped you in not making the same mistakes as I did! If you have any questions leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer you :)