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.
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.
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…
Boy was I ever rusty in my woodworking skills for this build!! I’m glad I am here to show you that multiple mistakes during a build can still result in a usable piece of furniture… :)
First off, my plan. Wherever did I think that I could fit the amount of shelves I had planned for is beyond me! I had an extra cut out that the plan called for. You know how I have warned you that using my plan “as is” is probably not advisable? I had a good laugh at myself as I was laying out the pieces on the garage floor for a dry fit!
Which reminds me–I really, really need to get a workbench made so I can quit using the floor.
And then I realized that I was going to have to figure out how high I wanted to make the first shelf, because it was going to be permanent and not moveable. I had not figured that in–I wanted it to all be adjustable. BUT this will not be attached to the actual desk because the desktop is formica. In order to keep it square I need to have it fastened in the middle. This ended up being a monumental decision–I went back and forth on it. Right now she doesn’t need a ton of head room for that first shelf, but I want this to work for her as long as she is at home. I went with the shelf being at 17.5″ (16.75″ once I added the face frame) so that she can fit a bigger monitor under there if need be someday. (I was really irritated with myself for making that such a big decision because it ate up precious time! Sometimes I can be so indecisive.)
Then I got to use another of my birthday presents–my brand new Kreg Shelf Pin Jig. Love it.
Whew! Finally we are at the reveal for this project! Life has gotten in between me and the final coat of Polyacrylic for this one. But now here it is, all set in its place in Pip’s room:
I love it. I can’t believe I made it!! The drawers work. It is the right size. All the stuff I worried about before I started turned out fine. It isn’t perfect, but remember my motto: Perfect is the enemy of done. And it’s done!
I have learned two things about myself since I have taken up woodworking:
1) I procrastinate if I am not sure about how to proceed during a project. Using the router and doing a routered-edge face frame has caused some procrastination during this build. I find other things that MUST be done instead. Like vacuuming refrigerator coils.
2) I am more comfortable building in a 30 degree garage than an 80 degree garage. This is huge! I am normally freezing (even inside) from November until May every year. I was surprised this winter when I was able to work out there and not freeze–as long as I had my hearing protection on. Even when I wasn’t using power tools, I was wearing my attractive, green hearing protection. Guess what? It makes my head want to implode in 80 degree weather.
But the procrastination due to the router and face frame is over! Here are some progress pictures:
Remember this mess?
This has driven me nuts since we moved in and I discovered that all the “necessaries” behind the washer and dryer were not covered up by the washer and dryer. And it looks gross–I don’t know what sprayed in that box back there, but that is NOT water. And I refuse to clean that. I don’t like cleaning my kitchen sink, much less climbing back there and cleaning that out. Nope. Not doing it. Now I don’t have to!
Here’s some pictures of the build. Read More…
I don’t know why it is proving to be so difficult to begin this post in an interesting way! I have began and deleted 4 different beginnings, so now I give up and you just get this. Definitely the worst one.
My last attempt at doors was the cabinet in the laundry room:
These were not difficult–but then again, you’ll recall that they do not actually open either. Since they hide the litter box, I didn’t feel it was necessary to look inside from the front! This current built-in needs working doors. And I am very happy with how they turned out.
Here is a progress report on the built-ins. I made them out of PureBond 3/4″ and 1/4″ birch plywood and pine S4S lumber. They are 20″ wide and 84.75″ tall.