House Built-in #1: Finally Making Some Progress

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Blog entry by Jimi_C posted 11-08-2009 02:15 AM 1048 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of House Built-in series Part 2: Numero Uno »

I started planning this about a month ago, including starting to mill the wood. I kind of goofed though, and cut the rails too short, as well as making the bottom rails too narrow (I wasn’t sure if on a face frame you kept that rail the same thickness or not, turns out you do). After that, I got kind of busy with life. As I’ve mentioned before, my wife is in nursing school, and she was accepted to go on a humanitarian trip to Brazil to do volunteer public health work. So, needless to say, preparing for that was pretty much all we did. She left Monday, so the plan now is to try and get some home improvement projects done.

The first one will be this built in, which is for a small nook near our dining table. We currently have a free standing shelf there, but the wife does not like that because it has all of our bar glasses on it. My grand father was a bartender, so I have some really neat, old glasses, plus all the glasses we got as gifts for our wedding. Her fear is that one good bump and it could tip, which would be devastating on many levels, so this is item #1 on the honey-do list. I’m also considering this as practice, since this will be my first project pretty much ever (besides my workbench). I’m doing this as two individual cabinets, each 25 1/2” wide and 10 1/2” deep. The nook is 50 1/2”x11”, so I’ve left some space on each side of the face frame to scribe them to the walls. Each cabinet will have 1 drawer and 1 door.

So, I woke up this morning and hit the workshop (after having some coffee of course!). First up, I milled more soft maple (which I think is Ambrosia maple, based on some of the other projects I’ve seen here using that) to complete the rails.

After getting everything milled and cut to size, I assembled the face frames using the Kreg K3 Jr. I reviewed (one of the frames was mostly done, but I was short one rail for it, so I finished that off). Here are the completed frames (sorry for the crappy pics, wife took the good camera with her to Brazil):

These are going to be painted, so I’m not concerned about color or grain matching much, though I don’t think they look too bad :) You can see the curliness of that maple, especially in the top rail of the right frame – it’s too bad I’m painting it because it’s very nice looking wood.

Also, early this week I had bought some sheets of baltic birch (the real stuff, 5’x5’) from a local lumberyard here in St. Louis. I sliced and diced this on my table saw, which was pretty fun – it’s the first time I’ve cut anything really large on it. I was pretty happy with the cut quality, I managed to keep the lines straight despite wrestling that 5’x5’ sheet myself.

Here are the parts, awaiting assembly:

And that’s where I stopped today, I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast, and it was about 4:30PM by this point. Tomorrow, I’ll break out the Kreg again along with the right-angle clamp and assemble the carcasses, and attach the face frames. I can’t wait, this is coming together better than I could have hoped for my first attempt :)

I’ve also got wood milled for the door frames, though I’m going to need at least one more board – I calculated that I need about 167” total length and I’ve only got about 120”. I also, also need to figure out how I’m going to do the shelves, though I think I’m just going to use some shelf standards with clips rather than drill holes in this. I’d also like to keep them adjustable, so I don’t want to dado them into the sides – which means I’ll probably just cut some thin strips of maple and use that to dress up the front edge of the birch for the shelves.

Finally, I need to get a sheet of 1/2” birch (only got 3/4” and 1/4”) for the drawers, or I might just use some of the maple I have for the drawer box with the 1/4” for the bottom panel. Either way, I’m probably going to use a simple box joint for those, though I wouldn’t mind trying out my new dovetail marker… My primary concern about the drawers is how shallow this cabinet is. The shortest draw slides sold by Rockler are 10”, which would seem to be just right for my cabinet depth, but I’ve never done this before so I don’t know :) I really need to order the hardware for this so I can make sure it’s all good before I get too far.

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

4 comments so far

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 3199 days

#1 posted 11-08-2009 03:28 AM

Nice job so far, but take some breaks. You need to replenish your strength too. Slip out and get some BBQ. Those rails you made too thin, might cut them into usable corner blocks for the carcasses.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3333 days

#2 posted 11-08-2009 05:51 PM

Lookin good Jimi. With the wife away in Brazil there’s no limit to how much time you can spend in the shop you lucky dog. Make hay while the sun shines! I would recommend you make sure the house is nice and clean just before she comes home though. Keep up the good work!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3576 days

#3 posted 11-08-2009 06:14 PM

The beggining of somthing great I’m sure.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View woodchic's profile


841 posts in 3356 days

#4 posted 11-09-2009 04:38 AM

Hey they look great so far!! Keep on keeping on.

Robin Renee’


-- Robin Renee'

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