I made this sliding-top pencil box for our three-year-old goddaughter. It’s all Baltic birch; the sides are half-inch and the top is quarter-inch. I carved the design with my X-Carve, painted the carved area, and then finished the entire box with a spray enamel clearcoat.
I built this Shaker-style jewelry cabinet for my wife. You’ll never guess what’s inside…
The cabinet box itself is only 1 3/4″ deep. These are the four sides; the top is shorter because it won’t be mitered, since the top of this box will be hidden in the final product.
I cut a rabbet into the back of the sides so that they could accept a quarter-inch piece of plywood for the back of the cabinet.
I love my 90º clamps.
I would love to have more clamps too.
Here’s the main box after being glued up.
I added this half-inch pine board so the hooks (for hanging necklaces) would have something to screw into and to keep the hanging jewelry away from the back of the cabinet.
I painted the interior of the box at this point because it would be very hard to reach with a brush or sprayer after installing the face frame.
I’m not sure why I didn’t install the top board before doing these coats of paint, but I guess I did it at this point.
Here’s the assembled face frame, made of 3/4″ poplar.
I don’t normally fill any of my pocket holes, but I had four plugs that came with my Kreg jig forever ago, and these holes might have been accessible to dust and lint inside the cabinet if I left them open.
I glued and nailed on the face frame and then filled the nail holes:
I then gave it another three coats of white semi-gloss.
I installed the hooks in two rows, with each hook an inch from its neighbor.
And I hung it up in the bathroom while I worked on the door.
The door was built using cope and stick joinery. These are the four sides; I cut the groove and tenons with a dado stack on my table saw. The groove is a half-inch deep and a quarter inch wide, and the tenons are sized to fit perfectly in the groove.
This is how they go together. Pretend that I also took a photo of the door after inserting the plywood panel and gluing it all up and painting it, because I forgot to do that.
This is a jig I 3D printed to help install the hinges. You drill a hole in the hole, and then the hinge fits in there.
I added a handle to the door, and boom: a door with a handle.
See how easily the jewelry hangs from the hooks?
We decided that the cabinet could use a second row of hooks about halfway down, so I made a second row of hooks about halfway down.
In a picture frame, that is! I made this 30″x20″ frame for my wife, who wanted one for our wedding picture in the same style as this smaller frame she found:
The new frame is constructed of 3/4″ Baltic birch plywood. I started by making the sides (each 3″ wide) and cutting a rabbet into the back of each to accept the glass, photo, and backer board, and then I mitered the ends and glued them together into a basic rectangular frame. (There are no photos of this process, so you will have to believe me. You MUST believe me.)
Then I drew the scalloped shape, cut it out with a bandsaw, cut a cove into the edge, and stained it with Varethane’s Kona stain.
This is so the stain can show through on the edges, which I will weather after painting. Speaking of painting:
I gave the frame three coats of semi-gloss white and then roughed up the edges to match the frame it was modeled after:
I used window glazing points to secure the backer board.
And then I hung it on a wall. The end!
Come along with me on a journey; a journey of craftsmanship, cabinets, and canned goods. Observe as I detail the steps I took to build this new cabinet in our kitchen so that we could move all of our food out of the cramped pantry and into the light where it belongs (the light where it belongs).
It all started with a SketchUp drawing:
My wife and I designed this cabinet to take up an entire wall in our kitchen that had previously only been home to a smaller more decorative cabinet that was more suited for display:
A very nice cabinet to be sure, but it was not meeting our needs. The room directly behind the wall the cabinet is on is our pantry, although it also holds the water heater and furnace air handler, so it is awkward to get in and out of. Once the new cabinet is built, we’ll move all of the food into it and use the old pantry for storage that won’t need to be accessed so frequently.
I started by building the box for the drawers. Plywood and pocket holes, nothing unusual here.
The corner cabinets are triangular in order to match the layout of the kitchen; I made them separate from the drawer box so that I’d be able to carry it into the house myself.
The intersection between the corner cabinets and the center drawer box is a 135º angle, so I glued up these pieces for the face frame so it could all be one piece to avoid having seams in the finished piece where the different cabinet boxes meet.
This worked better than I expected it to:
Here you can see the full face frame before I painted it.
I used full extension ball-bearing slides for all the drawers. They’re installed on spacers so that they will clear the edges of the face frame.
Each drawer is just a box held together with lock rabbet joints and a piece of quarter-inch plywood fit into a groove in the bottom. I’m glad I bought a strap clamp for this, although I should have bought more of them so I could glue up more than one drawer at a time.
At this point, all of the drawer boxes are built and installed and are ready for their fronts.
I cut all of the rails and stiles for the drawer faces and cabinet doors at the same time (sixty-eight pieces). They are all 2 1/4″ wide. (Ripping these pieces from larger S3S boards I bought from a lumberyard allowed me to both get the custom size I wanted and saved me about 65% of what I would have paid to buy poplar 1x3s from a big box store.)
I used cope and stick joinery for all of the drawer faces and doors. Here they are all dry-fit before I cut the panels…
…and after being glued together with the panels, which are made of quarter-inch plywood.
I moved the three base cabinets into the house. By this point, I had also painted the insides of the corner cabinets and drilled holes for adjustable shelving. You can also see an outlet that I would later extend into the corner cabinet.
I painted the face frame and all of the drawers before installing them in the house. And it only took forever! I should have used melamine for the drawer boxes; it would have cut way down on painting time, and I would have gotten a better finish.
Time to install the lower cabinet doors!
Oops. It isn’t very useful to have a handle six inches from the ground. I used a very strong magnet and dragged it up to the top of the door.
The upper section of the cabinet is made up of four parts: two corner cabinets, a lower shelving unit, and an upper display cabinet.
The face frame for the upper section was constructed in the same manner as the lower cabinet frame.
After painting and drilling more adjustable shelving holes, I learned how important it is to leave yourself an inch or two of wiggle room. I had designed this cabinet to come within half an inch of the ceiling, but when I began installing it, I found that our ceiling is 3/4″ closer to the floor on one end of the room than it is on the end that I measured on.
Luckily, I was able to make some adjustments and just barely get everything to fit.
I had originally been painting everything in my 8′ x 8′ spray booth, but with so many drawers and shelves to spray, I masked off the front of my shop instead. I used semi-gloss paint and did all of the painting with an HVLP sprayer. By the time I finished this project, I was consistently getting a really nice smooth finish.
The corner cabinet shelves are amputated triangles.
Haha, look at all those triangles.
The very top section of the cabinet is meant to have glass-front doors so we can display some of our very fancy things. This necessitated a different door construction so that I could easily paint the door before inserting the glass. I went with mitered half lap joints, my first time trying them.
I installed the glass doors, and the cabinet was almost done. (There are a lot of 3/4 views of this cabinet because the kitchen light fixture prevents me from taking a full shot from the front.)
After a week-long wait for my moulding order to come in, I added 3 1/2″ baseboard moulding and a 3/4″ cove moulding around the top.
Show ’em what you got, cabinet!
Not content to live in a house with only one barn-style sliding door, I’ve built another over-toilet cabinet
I made a few changes since the last time I made one of these:
- I made the rail out of poplar instead of pine, as the pine rail on the old cabinet is beginning to splinter a little where it contacts the wheels.
- I shaped the top of the rail to match the profile of the inside of the wheels instead of planing the entire board to be thin enough to fit inside the tapered openings in the wheels.
- I finished the door with tinted wax to get a graywashed look that matches our master bath.
- Instead of using pocket holes to build the cabinet box, I glued the shelves into dadoes in the sides.
- I hung it using a French cleat instead of using a ledger board.
- I cut the spacers behind the rail out of wood instead of printing them on my 3D printer, mainly to save time.
- I glued stops onto the back of the rail instead of printing endcaps.
Stay tuned for more updates on my bathroom activities!
This morning, I built a copy of the workbench from April Wilkerson’s latest video.
I didn’t add drawers underneath (yet) or any storage on the ends (yet), because my primary use case for this bench is to use it to break down full sheets of plywood and as an outfeed table for my table saw. To that end, I made it the same height as my table saw, and I didn’t make any changes that would prevent me from sliding sheets of plywood on it (like the drill holders that April added).
The total build time was four hours, plus an hour last night to make a poor-man’s track saw.
Chickens, they say, are the most industrious of all birds. They are not content to while away the hours just pecking and clucking; they want to be put to work. For this reason, I built for our chickens a chicken tractor.
Unlike its human counterpart, a chicken tractor does not have an engine or even a cupholder. A chicken tractor is a portable chicken coop-like structure that allows the chickens to be transported to different locations around the yard, where they may then eat bugs, scratch at the dirt, and perform other chicken duties.
I began my tractor journey by designing the structure in Sketchup.
It’s essentially a box with a door at one end and a roof with a 5º slope (to match the main coop, of course).
Rather than butt-jointing and toe-screwing all of the boards like in the main coop (what is this, an anatomy lesson??), I decided to try using half-laps for all of the joints.
I found this to be time-consuming. I also found this to create a lot of sawdust.
I made one frame for each side of the tractor and then screwed them all together.
To increase the structure’s rigidity, I added some supports across the top (not shown) and some supports in the lower corners (shown below).
The door fit perfectly (of course) in the taller end.
For the handles and wheel, I took this broken wheelbarrow and chopped it up.
The axle is angled up at about 10º so that the bottom of the wheel just barely touches the ground when the tractor is stationary. Then, when I lift up the handles, the frame of the tractor will be off the ground, engaging the wheel.
I attached the roof panels (extras left over from building the coop), and hardware cloth over the side openings, and voila! A box with a wheel!
The chickens love it! They were all like “Cluck cluck cluck cluck!”
The single wheel idea, while ingenious, did not work out in practice. I had to lift the end of the tractor much higher than I wanted to in order to get clearance under the far end, so I added two wheels, taken from a bike that I’m sure my kids won’t miss probably. This raises the end of the coop up two inches off the ground, but it makes it much more maneuverable. If I ever put chicks in here, I’ll have to add some sort of skirt that prevents them from sneaking out.
Only one more touch was needed to turn this tractor into a home.
Now you might be saying, “Chris, did you build this entire project just so you’d have an excuse to use this chicken knob?” In response to your question, I have a lot of questions. Number one, how dare you.