This is the first article in a series for a Shaker Cabinet that I am building for my joinery bench. If you missed my last post, I mentioned that the metal base I currently have the joinery bench on is not working nearly as well as I thought it would. This cabinet is somewhat based off the Shaker Workbench that BenchCrafted built on their website but scaled down to fit the my joinery bench. There are also few joinery and design changes that I have made along the way. What’s great about this build is that its all built from big box plywood and dimensional lumber. I decided to go with dimensional lumber just to simplify the process and really see what kind of product I could produce using of the shelf S4S stock. Before we get started, I am going to list the materials used and joinery methods for this build.
The cabinet will feature 1 larger compartment in front with two doors and one drawer above it. There will be two smaller storage compartments, one on each side of the cabinet with one door. The cabinet is built out of plywood and the face and side frames are built out of dimensional Radiata Pine.
1- sheet Birch Plywood
1- 12′ x 6″ x 1 ( Radiata Pine)
1-6′ x 6″ x 1 (Radiata Pine)
1- 8′ x 4″ x 1 (Radiata Pine)
2-8′ x 3″ x 1 (Radiata Pine)
1- 6′ x 6″ x 1/2″ (Poplar, this is for the drawer)
1- 6′ x 1 x 1/4 trim (pine)
- Box of 2″ Flat Head Spax Screws,
- Box of 1 1/4″ Flat Head Spax Screws
- Cut Nails for Tremont Nail Company
- Square Drive pocket screws from Mcfeely’s
Have not decided on the hardware for the doors yet. I am thinking about going with just some simple H hinges that Home Depot had in stock.
I am going to paint the cabinet with Behr Deckcover, just not sure on the color yet.
Joinery Methods used during the build:
I wanted to keep the joinery somewhat simple that is kind of the point of the build. Simple materials and simple joinery. I will be using much of the same joinery methods that BC used during their build, simple butt joints reinforced with glue and the Spax screws and the let the frame add rigidity. BC used 5/4 poplar and half lap joinery for their frame construction. I wanted to keep is simpler by using dimensional lumber and pocket screws for the face frame. I am usually not a big proponent of pocket screws but for the face frame it just makes sense. To attach the face frame to cabinet I used cut glue and cut nails just like BC did and let me tell there is no question about the strength of this cabinet. Onto the build!
The entire cabinet is going to be 30.9″ wide x 37″ tall x 20″ deep, these are the dimensions of my joinery bench top. I am trying to avoid having to attaching the top to the base using hardware. I want to be able to remove the top easily in the future. The main cabinet is going to be just shy of 18.4″ wide. Because I am using dimensional lumber, I got this number by taking my overall length which is 30.9″ subtracting 5.5″ for each of the side cabinets and 1.5″ for the thickness of each side cabinet face frame. If this does not make sense, it will further along in the build.
I had to have Home Depot make a couple so I could fit the plywood into my SUV and bring it home. Here is the 8 x 4 sheet of Birch Plywood ready for the carcass pieces to be cut from it. The
The easiest way for me to handle plywood in my small shop is to break it down on garage floor laying some insulation foam underneath the plywood. I don’t trust the cut from HD to be exactly true, so the first thing I do is square up one edge and one side of the plywood.
I cut the two sides, shelf, shelf supports and back from the sheet of plywood. I left everything about an 1″ oversized. I took both sides pieces and cut them to length and width using the MFT/3 and TS 75. The easiest way to do this was to gang the two sides together and cut them to final dimensions in one pass. I want the overall depth to be 20″ but I have to account for both the face frame and the back panel. This meant that the depth two carcass sides is 18.5″.
There is 5.5″ from the bottom of the cabinet to the bottom shelf. I wanted to add shelf supports to add to overall structure of the cabinet. The top of the bottom shelf is sitting at 5.5″ from the floor, I cut the shelf supports to 4.75″ x 18.5″, when the I glue and screw the shelf in, it will sit at 5.5″. I do know that plywood is not exactly 3/4″ but that is okay, there will be a very small gap at the bottom of the cabinet when I attach the face frame but it will be covered by trim that goes around the base of the cabinet. I cut the shelf supports to size right at the table saw, first to width and then used the miter gauge and cut both pieces at the same time.
It was now time to glue and screw the carcass pieces together, with a little tight bond III and the SPAX screws and had about six inches in between the screws.
Next up is the face frame and side cabinets.