I’ve installed inset door hinges on a number of my projects now, and I’ve finally come up with a way to do it easily. And by myself. Sometimes it seems like you need about 7 pairs of hands to keep things where you want them when you are building, and with this method all I needed was my own set.
This is the magic ingredient for only needing two hands to install hinges.
It seems that every time I build something, I modify how I went about making various parts. I have built drawer fronts for cabinets using a few different methods now, and this time I am very happy with how they came out. I don’t know if my level of skill has increased or if the Greek gods who oversee straight boards were pleased with me, but every one of these drawer fronts came out flat and square and just the right size. Love it when that happens–probably because it is a rare thing
I used the same method as I did on my DIY closet organizer but in this post I’ll show you how I clamped it all together and pinned the plywood backs in.
Rule Number 1. Use. straight. boards.
Rule Number 2. Straight boards. Use them.
Rule Number 3. See Rule #1 and #2.
Off topic, I shot a video during this build where I talk about picking straight boards because I think it could be a difficult thing for a beginner, and because sometimes you can get away with boards that aren’t straight, but only when they are warped certain ways (depending on what you are using them for). Would anyone find that helpful or are my readers past that point in skill level? Don’t want to waste time editing a video nobody wants to see…please chime in in the comment section!
I used two options to assemble: one was a combination square to hold the corners square. This works, but it isn’t my preferred method.
I love hanging files, so when turning the Dining room into a Home Office space, hanging file drawers were a must. I played around with my own design and measured existing file drawers in our house to come up with a plan. I pinned some things I could purchase to attach to the drawer, but I wanted two drawers and I was looking at about $30, which was more than I wanted to spend. And then Sandra over at SawdustGirl.com rescued me and published a post about how she made some file drawers and it was cheap. That was the way I wanted to go, but the problem was that Sandra used a table saw to make hers. And my table saw was still in a really big and heavy box in our garage at the time.
Dremel sent me some of their tools awhile back to try out and I decided to use the Multi-Max to make my hanging file drawer instead of the table saw.
My drawers are going in horizontally so the files go from side-to-side rather than front to back. The drawer dimensions are 14″ deep by 19″ wide (exterior dimensions). If my cabinets were deeper, I would have made the file drawer deeper because getting them in and out works, but I can’t take them straight up and out because it would hit the drawer above it. You can see that it sits right under the drawer above when fully extended.
So here’s how I went about it. Take your hanging file and mark where you should cut. Read More…
When I was thinking about the Dining Room turned Home Office project, I envisioned a dark, stained desktop that had a reclaimed wood feel to it. I knew that reclaimed wood would probably be expensive to buy or time consuming to try to find. I was inspired by ThriftyDecorChick’s dining room built-ins (I actually played around with the idea of buying pre-fabbed cabinets like she did as well, to try to speed up the build, but obviously nixed that idea). Then I ran into CleverlyInspired‘s DIY countertop and later Sandra at SawdustGirl did a tutorial using 2x4s also, so I thought I was good to go for the desktop!
I bought the 2x4s and had them all set to go. I even bought a table saw–did I mention that yet? I am in love with it :) I had been saving for awhile and got the Ridgid R4512.
After I read a few pages of the manual, where they talk about how if you don’t do everything right you will cut off a limb, or die–several times on each page–I was sufficiently spooked about using pine with knots in it. So My Man and I tried to cut off the rounded edges of the 2x4s together, because someone had to catch the 2×4 coming off the saw. We got 1 board done when he started questioning whether this was the best way to go. He thought maybe there was an easier way (and ssshhh, he was right, but I didn’t quite see that at that point…). I humored him, not in a good-natured way though, and did some searching at the box stores’ websites.
I found something called a laminated pine board that had the right dimensions. I wasn’t sure it was going to have the look I wanted, and I think I was a little pouty when we were buying it, but boy was I happy once the first coat of stain went on!
I used 3/4″ plywood as the base under the laminated pine. I chose to use cabinet grade plywood because I could get it in PureBond, which doesn’t off-gas from formaldehyde. I cut the base plywood and the laminated pine board to 16.5″ wide so that once I attached the 1×2 to the front, the desktop would extend 1″ wider than the cabinets. I glued the plywood and pine boards together a day before attaching the face. This is painters tape “clamps” to attach the 1×2 face with glue. I didn’t nail or screw it in–just the tape for a good 24+ period of drying.
The second side I attached needed more convincing that this was a good idea, hence the clamps.
Mitered corners. Make sure the tape makes these corners meet correctly when you are clamping it up.
I think I would like this better if I had faked a cut in the left side so that the corner looked more intentional. Then where it meets would look more decorative. Oh well.
This desktop would be far cheaper going with the 2×4 option, but I think I prefer the look of this one–the pattern is more like a wood floor–and it couldn’t have gotten much easier. My option ran around $100 for 11.5 feet of counter top 17.25″ wide.
The stain is a custom mix that I had since our house was built and the painter used it on one of our mantels. I used it on the DIY Entryway Bench and on the frames for our Family Name Sign and the Geometric Wall Art in the kids’ bathroom. I used a wood conditioner on the desktop before I stained it and I’m so glad I did. I did a test run of the stain on a scrap that was really blotchy without the pre-conditioner. I sanded between coats with 220 grit sandpaper, and then applied polycrylic with a brush. Making sure to sand between coats of that with 320 grit sandpaper, I applied 5 coats of the topcoat in all.
And there you have it! So happy Hubs decided that the 2x4s were not going to go through the saw evenly (I’ve since heard of a way to make that work better and will use it if I build with 2x4s in the future). But don’t tell him…
I knew turning the dining room into a home office/dining room was going to be a big project, I just didn’t know it was going to be a big, BIG project. Ignorance was bliss, until I was in it too far to turn back! I don’t know that I will ever take on a project this big again (thankfully there aren’t that many this size on the to-do list!). But here I am 2.5 months, 14 door and drawer fronts, 16 hinges, 1 gallon of primer, 1.75 quarts of polycrylic and 5 days where I thought “this is the day that I will finish” only to end the day “not finished” I am finally on the “done” side of the build. And I’m happy. REALLY happy! All of the “what ifs” and unknowns are neatly tied up in a bow and all I have to do is fill up the cabinets and style the bookshelves.
The biggest stress for me throughout the entire build was that inside corner where the two units meet. I just couldn’t visualize what would look the best for that spot until I actually had most of it constructed. And even then I wasn’t sure. I’m really pleased with the end result.
The middle part of the desk that looks like a face frame is actually a pencil drawer. I hadn’t decided whether I was including that until the very last part of the project, but I’m glad I did. I’ll show you how I made the drawer in another post.
The right cabinet under the shelves has a charging station in it that I am loving also. I’ll show more details in a later post. Couldn’t wait to get the reveal up, so the detail shots will have to wait!
I’m a file-drawer junkie, so the two bottom drawers are both hanging file drawers. Lot of room for organizing, gotta love that!
If you recall, we don’t have much time to sit back and enjoy the fact that this is finished this year–I’ve got one graduating this spring, eek! I’ve already moved on to trying to pick out a table, chairs, and rug for this room to really finish it up…and move on to the next project
More posts on this build will be churned out!
As always, I only use PureBond plywood in my builds because the air quality in my home matters to me. I have used this plywood since the very beginning of my woodworking adventure and I love it.
I’m finally done with the dining room built-ins and I was moving stuff to the new location last night when I ran into these papers. They are the original mock ups I drew about 8 years ago to take to the cabinet people (long before I started building)! I ended up pretty close to these drawings and I can’t wait to show you the reveal.
Give me a few days to get my life back in order–this was a huge project for me and took every free minute I’ve had for the last two and a half months (and then some). But it has been so worth every second!
I’m really happy with it… AND really happy to be on the “done” side of it
Ahhh, installing drawer glides. I’ve done my fair share by this point, and each time I’ve went about if a little differently. I started out measuring, using a level to draw a guide line, and attaching. And then there was a LOT of fiddling around to try to get the inset drawer to fit just right in the drawer front space. After that, I came across a pointer on Pinterest that I used for Pip’s closet organizer. That worked really well until I tried adding an additional drawer to the top. Oops.
Last June I made good on a promise to myself to buy a drawer glide jig since I knew I was going to be installing quite a few drawers for upcoming projects. Well I haven’t had a reason to use it yet until now…and it was pretty disappointing. Kreg hasn’t let me down yet and I’ve invested in quite a few of their products–love them! But when I tried to use the jig and had the glide set so that the glide left room for the inset drawer face, it lifted the glide slightly in the front. The picture I took of the problem doesn’t show it like seeing it in person. Here’s a photo of how far in front the glide goes when the glide is flat on the jig:
Maybe that isn’t a problem? Anybody use this jig? Maybe it is the drawer glides that I bought that don’t fit correctly? I wasn’t going to take the time to test that out though–I had 6 drawers to install! I’m also pretty sure I would have had to use a clamp style for this that I don’t own. My Kreg face frame clamp is the littlest one and didn’t have the reach I needed (if you are wavering between the smallest and the bigger one, just spent the extra $5!) This is basically a frameless build (there is a face frame to cover the plywood, but it is even with decorative boards I put on the outside of the project). This jig works more easily with what I’ve got if the project has a face frame.
I then used duct tape to keep them in the right spot. Fancy, I know. But it worked!
I drilled a pilot hole and then used a screw driver to get the screws in. The only thing that was making me swear on these glides was trying to keep the drill bit on the screw! The screws are so little–they want to wobble and strip–it is frustrating. I ended up just using a screw driver and my muscles in the end. Only some minor adjustments after they were in this time. I also did (or tried to do) what Sandra over at SawdustGirl.com suggests when installing drawer glides (how to attach the screws). However, these glides that I bought at Home Depot did not have horizontal adjustment options on the cabinet part. I will be more organized next build, and order the glides from Rockler that I have used in the past to compare.The bottom drawers are hanging file drawers, so I needed to use full-extension glides that were heavier duty. I’ve never used anything but the european glides like the top drawers have, so I once again turned to Sandra’s blog to install those. She covers that in the link also. I think I had to double the 1/4″ plywood bottom when I had them in the cabinet though, in order to get the clearance I needed on the bottom.
Compared to other drawer glide installations, this one was rather smooth!
Anybody out there have advice or opinions on the Kreg drawer glide jig?
Since I do not have a workshop for my woodworking adventures, all of my tools need to tuck away when I’m not using them. Up until now I have been working on the garage floor–which appears pretty flat until you are up close and personal on it–and trying to make your project square. My garage floor is NOT flat and I can feel pretty confident telling you that yours isn’t either. Before I began the Dining Room/Home Office project, I promised myself I would invest in a workbench, but obviously it needs to disassemble and tuck away, just like my tools. Here she is:
Nothing earth-shattering about it–just 2 sawhorses and a hollow-core door on top, but I tell you it has made a HUGE difference for me in terms of how square the cabinets and drawers are once they are together. In fact, I didn’t want to put this particular post up yet, but everything I go to write in the other posts seems to talk about this new workbench so I needed to be able to reference it in those posts!
I was warned (thanks Bill!) that the hollow core door may not hold up to some clamping applications, but my laziness won out because I already had the door at home and I didn’t want to spend the time taking it back. I will warn you that the door will sag a bit in the middle if the sawhorses are as far apart as they are in the picture. This was taken before I had really started building yet and discovered that. Moving them closer together helped, but when I really wanted a guaranteed flat surface, I put a piece of scrap plywood on top also and built on that. The bench still saves my back that way!
I got the sawhorses on sale at Lowes for around $28 and the door was about $21. I put off spending the money on something like this for 2 years figuring that the garage floor was good enough, but I really wish I had invested in this right away. Well worth the money.
It has been extremely hot here in Ohio. Extremely. Hot. So when you are out in the garage plugging in power tools in weather like this, you must stay hydrated or you are not going to feel good! Here’s a drink I’ve kept on hand that tastes way better than plain water and makes it easier for me to drink enough to compensate for sweating. I hate plain water, but I like this.
Squeeze a lemon slice into your container. Mine is 20 ounces. Add 5 or 6 drops of stevia (mine are plain, no flavor). Add 1/32 if a teaspoon (not a typo!). I’m not a huge fan of stevia as a sweetener on its own, but it does a great job of enhancing the sweetening power of just a little sugar. And I have a huge sweet tooth! Add water and shake.
I drink a ton more water since I started making this. Hope this helps you beat the heat and keep working in the garage while the weather is
It has been a little slow going on the dining room project for a sad reason. I’ve spent the last few days helping when I can on funeral arrangements. If you could say a prayer for Grandma June I’d be grateful. She was a warm, loving woman with a great sense of humor, and will be missed…
I know I over think my projects before I even buy the first board. I know I do it and I can’t help it. Every time I tell myself to not be so uptight about the plans. And every time I spend hours and hours drawing up every aspect of it.
Oh well! Here’s evidence of my problem. I didn’t scale down the size of the photos so you could click on them to get a larger size if you want to look closer.
Once again a disclaimer–I can’t guarantee that these dimensions or plans will work since I modify and discover mistakes as I go along. Although you’d think with the time I spend on these they would be perfect…most often they end up not perfect.
I spend quite a bit of time trying to figure out the way I can cut for least waste. That means my shelves generally end up being 12.5″ deep–11.75 board width with a .75 face front. That way I can get 4 equal rips down a sheet of plywood. Remember that you have to allow for the kerf when making accurate cuts. Read More…