With the site prepped and ready, it was time to start work on the cabinet. Using Sketchup, I generated a cut sheet for all of my pieces, so I knew how many pieces I could cut from each 4’x4′ piece of plywood. Once I had everything laid out, I cut the pieces with the table saw and labeled them for easier assembly.
Using my Kreg Jig, I drilled pocket holes in the pieces that would need to be joined.
Using a clamp and a square, I assembled the face frame. Remember in the last post when I said that swapping 1/2″ for 3/4″ was a bad idea? Well here’s why. Even though it is possible to use the Kreg Jig to make pocket holes in 1/2″ plywood or stock, if you screw up your distance in the slightest, or if you over-tighten the screw just a wee bit, your screw tip is going to bulge or even poke through the front of your piece. I discovered this only after building the whole frame. Backing out the screws helped, but there were still holes to fill with wood filler and bulges that wouldn’t totally flatten. Oh well, this is a first-time project, and mistakes are expected and welcome, as each one teaches a valuable lesson. Sometimes those lessons feel like cold slaps to the face though!
Once the face frame was built, I attached supports to the cabinet sides with glue and screws, then fixed the face frame to the cabinet with glue and brad nails. For my next built-in project (there will be many more and bigger, too!) I will probably wait until the cabinet is installed before attaching the face frame. More on that next.
You can see in the next photo just how well the cabinet fits in its space. Almost too well. I was so careful with my measurements and cutting, but I only measured the space where the cabinet would sit. Since the dwarf walls have that over-sized cap/handrail on them, I needed to slide the cabinet into place starting from the top of the stairs. But I didn’t measure the width at the top of the stairs. Ugh. Another lesson learned: houses are not square. After pushing and bumping like a housefly at a window pane, I finally measured the opening and found it to be 1/16″ less than where I measured the cabinet would sit, a measly 3 feet away. My only option was to partially dismantle the cabinet by removing the left side panel. This is where NOT attaching the face frame before installing the cabinet would have been a good idea since I had to bash the side panel away from the face frame with a rubber mallet. But once I got that side panel off, I was able to slide the cabinet right in and re-attach the panel in place. Phew! I put in a few shims (did I mention that houses are never square?) to level it out. Did you notice the new wall color? Handan just finished painting the night before I installed the cabinet frame. You can still see the blue painter’s tape everywhere.
I glued and screwed in a permanent shelf bracket and installed the shelves to see how they fit.
Next step: Build the doors.
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