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Living Room Built-In {post 6: Make A Pocket Hole Plug Jig & Pocket Hole Doors}

If you use a pocket hole jig to assemble cabinet doors, you are left with holes on the back of the door that can be seen.  This may not bother you, and I decided it didn’t on Pip’s built-ins for her room because I didn’t want to deal with it and it wasn’t going to be seen by many.  For the living room built-in, I decided I needed to do something about them.  Using the plugs that Kreg makes is an option, but Kreg intentionally leaves them long so you can trim them for an exact fit.  I decided that if I needed to trim them anyway, I’d do it a little cheaper.  Here’s my DIY pocket hole plug jig.

Here’s a picture of one of the doors I put into the built-in for the living room.  I actually didn’t mean to construct them this way…I meant to do it the same way I constructed the drawer fronts on Pip’s closet organizer.  But I remembered that after I had already routered the edges on all the 1x3s I used for the rails and stiles.  Oops.  Constructing them this way  makes it more difficult to assemble the door perfectly square and end up with cuts that meet exactly right on the corners.

Mitered Corner Pocket Hole cabinet doors

One door was perfect and it was the one I did second.  For that door I assembled 3 corners, and then used the clamps in the picture to square up the door before screwing in the pocket  holes for the last corner.  To make sure the door is square, you measure the diagonal corners–each measurement should be the same.  If not, adjust the clamps until they are.  The one that I did first, and didn’t square it up with the clamps before attaching the last corner, did not turn out exactly square…I had to shave off the top edge.  Next time I construct a door or drawer front that is going to be inset, I’ll plan on making it a little oversized so I can shave it down to perfect (thanks for that hint Dennis!)

Now onto the pocket hole plug jig.  First step is to take a piece of scrap and drill the pocket holes into both ends.  I used my miter saw to shave off some of the ends of the boards after I drilled the holes, so that the screws could move freely without catching on the wood.  Don’t take off too much though, then the screw falls right through the hole (I did that the first try…).  Put screws into each pocket hole. Read More…

Living Room Built-In {post 5: How to install crown moulding}

Ahhh, crown moulding.  How I covet thee.  I want to put it everywhere in this house, but it seems so hard!!  This was my first attempt at any kind of crown.  Up until now, every built-in I have done has been capped off with casing (I think…or it is base…either way, it hasn’t been crown).  I’m pretty happy with how it turned out on this project, so I’m not as afraid to give it a go in other places now.  Here’s how I went about it!

First I did some research after I discovered that I wasn’t sure which way was up.  If you read my little rant, you already know that apparently other people don’t know which way is up either.  I had a little bit of a sticky situation though…I didn’t have much room before I hit a corner, and the crown I had picked out takes up more room depending on how you put it up.  Lucky for me it worked out.

Figuring out which way is up with crown moulding

The research said that the bottom of crown most times has the more decorative elements.  Also, the crown should take up more space on the wall than it does on the ceiling (that is what saved me from having to apply mine upside down–it gave me enough room before I hit the corner of the wall).  This is all in general–it might not be applicable in every instance.  Just don’t ask anyone who knows anything about crown to come into your house and you’ll be fine either way (I crack myself up sometimes).

Anyone interested in coming in and refinishing my floors for me?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller? (Who can name that movie?)  Look how scratched up they are–and I want them a much darker color now.  Uggh.  I don’t look forward to that project.

During my research, I read this article from DIY where they put base moulding on upside down before the crown to build it up.  I loved it, so I did the same thing on mine.

crown moulding part 1

But it kinda ended up being a good thing I had planned on this.  I originally had a top to the cabinet that was separate that I was going to add between the cabinet and the shelves.  Then I made a big mistake and had to modify the plans, but the separate top was 1.5″ thick and I already left 2″ of clearance at the top.  That meant there was only air to attach the crown to on the cabinet and that wasn’t going to work.  The upside base gave me something to work with!

Read More…

Living Room Built-In {post 4: Coping Base Moulding}

I have attempted to cope moulding in past projects with limited success, so I was a little leery of how well it would go this time.  It was one of the things I was determined to learn because I would like to put in crown moulding on the entire first floor eventually, and from what I read, it sounds like coping is a necessary skill to make it look good year-round due to expanding and contracting of the wood during seasonal weather changes, and from walls that may look perfectly straight, but are not (so you don’t have a perfect right angle to split in half and you have to figure out what angle you DO have–not fun I imagine).  I am here to tell you that you can master this skill in very little time with the right tools!

In case you happen upon this post without seeing the project I am talking about, here is the built-in I will be referencing in this post :)

Built In cabinet left side

First I want to show you how I put the Living Room Built-In right next to the wall to make it look built in without removing any base moulding.  In previous projects I have removed all the base, cut the base so I could slide the cabinet next to the wall, and reattached the moulding around the cabinet.  If you want to go that route, you can look at Pip’s built-ins or the laundry room built in and see what I did on those.  It will involve this:

Removing base moulding

There is a LOT of moulding to remove on the wall where this built-in resides.  I dreaded the thought of having to pull it all up, so…

I originally planned on using a Dremel MultiMax like they do in the video “Cutting trim from a wall” so that I didn’t have to remove all the moulding.  But in the end I decided to do something a little different so that I could move the cabinet if needed in the future.

I traced around a scrap piece of the base on the back corners of the cabinet and cut it out with a scroll saw.  I should have erred toward cutting it out a little shorter than my base because the cabinet sits on carpet and causes the base around the cabinet to stand proud from the base already on the wall due to the carpet height.

Did you follow that??!!  It wasn’t a big deal–I had a small hole that I filled with caulk–you’ll see it a little farther down in the tutorial.

Cut out the back of the cabinet to slide over the base moulding

Built-in cabinet slid into place

So now it slides right up to the wall and can be moved along any point of the wall and still look built-in once the moulding is applied to the front and sides.  However, now the only way to apply the moulding to the sides is to cope the wall end to fit over the existing wall moulding.  Here’s an example of a coped joint from Family Handyman if you want to check out their instructions.  Maybe you can get good results with a coping saw–I couldn’t.  Then I found this YouTube video and now coping is possible for me! Read More…

Living Room Built-In {post 3: The Reveal}

First we had a flurry of activity around here to get the Living Room built-in finished before Christmas hit, and now I’m settled in by the computer with a flurry of snow accumulation happening outside, as I write up the reveal post for the Living Room built-in (we think about 6-7″ right now and it’s still falling).  I’m breaking from my regular format and doing the reveal before all of my write ups on the process this time, for no other reason than I want to :)  My goal was to have everything done but the doors before we had Christmas at our house, and it ended up that the entire thing was done!  Yay!

Befores and afters:

Whole room before picture--living room side

Built In--whole room picture living room side

Read More…

Living Room Built-In {Post 2: The Plans}

With the holidays quickly approaching, now is probably not the ideal time to jump into a new project, but that doesn’t appear to have stopped me before!  I am knee deep in a new built-in for our living room.  I’m finding that I am getting quicker with all aspects of a build– finally.  But I added a new feature, which always means I procrastinate completing that part.  Since this cabinet and shelves will be visible from both sides, I wanted to recess the back panel by rabbeting a groove.  That meant I got next to nothing done today as I avoided the garage and the router table.  But first: the plans.

I made myself draw it out to scale this time.  Remember that I am sometimes surprised at how my projects look when I’m done because I planned it all out on scrap paper.  Not this time! (Hopefully anyway)

Built-In plans drawn to scale

Built In assembly and plywood cut plans

I started the rabbeting today and ended up using a straight bit and table with fence, rather than using a rabbet bit with a bearing.  Mainly because I already had a straight bit AND I’ve already used a router table.  Can you imagine how many more days I would have procrastinated throwing in using a router hand-held for the first time?  Yeesh.

sketch of lumber cuts

Remember my disclaimer: Use these plans at your own risk because I’m always changing them.  I think I am already changing the 1×8 to a 1×6 for the top face frame.  The plywood cuts better be right, because I’ve already got them cut out (but not assembled) for this one.

It will be interesting if I get this one done before Christmas.  I think I will be done with everything but the doors, but we’ll see :)  I’ve still got Christmas shopping to do!

Living Room Built-In {Post 1: The Befores)

On Dasher, On Dancer, On Prancer and Vixen, on Skil Saw and Kreg Jig and…oops.  Kinda got side tracked from Christmas!  The last few days I jumped into my next project.  Let’s face it–I’m finding it difficult to find the ideal time to start and finish these projects, so I’ve got to learn to do it in less-than-ideal time frames.  Like during the Christmas season–the most stressful, uh, wonderful time of the year!

This project has been on the docket for awhile, and Hubs has been pushing for it to go to the #1 spot for several months now.  I wasn’t feeling it, so I kept putting it off.  I’ve done a few built-ins now, and they all kind of have the same feel to them, and I wanted this one to be a little different.  I studied some of my pins for this area on my Pinterest board and wrote up some plans (coming in the next post).  We’ll see how it goes.  Instead of vanilla, this one may be french vanilla (Is there really a difference between those two flavors??)

Here’s the area before.

Living Room before picture

Living Room before

Don’t envy my bookshelf styling.  I can’t really even give you a tutorial on getting the look yourselves…it’s really just a gift.  A gift that my Hubs wishes I could return ;)

Plans to come soon!


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