Sunday, 5 December 2010

Building a Cabinet whilst Clueless

First, draw some plans and work out what dimensions you want the thing to have. (OK, given I did actually do that first maybe I’m not totally clueless).

I wanted my cabinet to fit into the window, so the dimensions I needed were 80cm high, 25cm deep, 102cm wide at the back and 116cm wide at the front. For simplicity’s sake I decided to make the box part of the cabinet a cuboid and just stick a wider front and a trapezoidal top on. 

First obstacle - bits of wood 116cm long by 25cm wide are relatively expensive. I didn’t want laminate, chipboard or MDF because I was planning to stain it to match the other furniture. So… I bought 2 14cm wide planks and stuck them together with glue. I should have used floorboards, because they have that little notch that makes them stick together accurately.

I was a bit worried it wouldn’t be strong or smooth enough. But it was! 

I made the front out of 14cm wide planks, using a chisel for just about the first time. Funnily enough, my Dad taught me how to use an electric jigsaw and a power drill, but never a chisel. I marked and cut my notches for my step joints, and they actually fit! So I glued and screwed them together quickly, before something went wrong.

On to the sides. Because they are so narrow, I made them out of solid blockboard I found in the cellar. Next obstacle -  my jigsaw Did. Not . Want. to cut the blockboard. Well, one piece - it cut the rest fine. I still can’t work out why it threw such a tantrum, but I finished the cut with a hand saw. 

Then I made a box with the ends and three narrow beams, about 2cm x 4cm. The back was just a bit of hardboard, the thin stuff, left over from covering the bathroom floor. Then I screwed on the front to the framework. Everything just about matched, and I was very elated. I was also tired, and it was 11pm. So I glued on the top and left it to dry overnight.

In the morning I removed the clamps and sawed the top to the desired shape, and checked it fitted in the window where it was meant to go. It did.

Lastly, the doors. I had wondered about just shelving it and not having doors, but the scrap wood I used for the sides was bright blue. Not a good look with my red, cream and dark wood. I thought about making them solid but that would require more wood than I had. So I just built them like picture frames and nailed black cotton on for the panels. 

I gave everything a double coat of varnish, and (after my third trip in 2 days to the DIY shop on the corner) hung the doors using brass hinges.


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