Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wall cabinets...cont'd

I last wrote that I was completing a second identical wall cabinet. This has been done since with not too much difficulty. The difficulty was raising the cabinets to the proper height for attaching to the walls. I devised a setup utilizing my rolling shop cart and a spacer which consisted of a wood crate that happened to be very close to the correct height. The rolling cart has lockable casters and this helped considerably. The cabinets are quite heavy since they are mainly composed of baltic birch ply although I lightened some components by using solid poplar and cherry shelving and the doors are fairly light in comparison to the cabinet. I snapped the picture at an angle to display the reinforced corner joinery which consists of long screws capped with contrasting wood plugs. The corner joints are rabbeted and glued together.

I decided to apply light , thinned tung oil to the cherry door frames to both protect the joinery from any moisture change and to keep the wood from staining and attracting dirt. These frames will slowly develop a nice aged cherry look with a patina. My next challenge was attaching the cabinets to the different walls. I gave some consideration to the weight of the cabinets and the tools I would be placing in them and decided on a mounting rail. The mounting rail is installed in the interior of the cabinets at the very top where the top and back intersect. I used hardwood cherry for this and glued and screwed it to the cabinet through the top and then attached the cabinet through the cherry mounting rail to the wall studs using large wood screws. I also screwed the back into the wall studs along the length of the back.

I like to remove any doubt as to the strength of the hanging cabinets as you can see. On the other cabinet I also installed a hardwood cherry cleat below the cabinet and into the wall studs for additional strength but realized afterwards it was not really necessary. It was enjoyable making these cabinets and I now have so much more room for small tools and hardware in my studio. It's great when everything works out as planned!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wall cabinets...

In the past two days I have been working on two wall cabinets for my studio. The cabinets are intended for small tools , marking gauges, small hardware and odds and ends. There is never enough cabinet space for all this, as I'm sure many of you can attest to. My final design is based on a certain depth, width and height of the cabinets. There are existing wall mounted cabinets in the studio and as part of the criteria I wanted these to be of the same approximate width and height size only deeper. This was arrived at by using the maximum depth allowable without the cabinet interfering with any activity I might be performing nearby. I also opted to have two doors on each of the cabinets instead of one wider door, this made much more sense and would eliminate any issues with wide, swinging doors interfering with anything close by.

I will build two of these cabinets since I would eventually need another and the extra effort in creating a second cabinet is far less when they are made at the same time. The cabinet itself is assembled with dimensionally stable baltic birch plywood. The joinery is rabbets in the corners reinforced with plugged screws. The shelves ( 2 per cabinet) are housed in dadoes within each of the side panels. I applied solid cherry edging to the functional edges of the baltic birch plywood primarily for aesthetic reasons since I intend to have the door frames of solid cherry. These cabinets were designed and created with a small budget in mind, and since they are somewhat utilitarian I did not want to spend needless amounts on top grade wood. In fact, I used some cherry seconds I had in my lumber pile.

The door panels are thinner baltic birch pieces. I cut the best pieces from a larger piece of baltic birch ply for these panels, focusing on the lighter colour and appealing graphics to complement the cherry frame. The panels are inset into grooves in both the rails and stiles. The door frames are assembled using dowels. I took extra time to select better grain orientations for the long stiles to eliminate any twist possibly causing the doors to warp. I also installed solid edging on the shelf fronts to create a uniform cherry appearance once the cabinet doors are opened.I decided to use piano hinges to attach the doors to the cabinet since I already had a few of the piano hinges and I wanted both cabinets to be identical. More on the cabinets and I will have a photo of one of the cabinets mounted on a studio wall once the second cabinet is completed.