Here’s my most boring time-lapse yet – sanding up the cabinet doors to flush the rails and stiles, and prepare it for finishing. Speaking of… something I’d heard whispered around here a few times came to mind the other day while trying to get extremely gummy stickers off the maple I used in this project: mineral spirits. It says right on the can “for cleaning surfaces in preparation for painting.” I wiped some on, and just like goop-off, the sticker goo wiped away in one stroke as if on an infomercial. I’m using that stuff to clean my surfaces from now on. It made wiping away the sanding dust a snap, too, without the waxy leftovers and sticky fingers you get with a tack cloth.
Last night I worked for a couple of hours carefully hand-chiseling in the hinge mortises on one door and the cabinet frame on that side. The last time I did hinge mortises – and the only other time – was for 6 doors for a shed, and they fit inside door frames. Not thinking, I mortised the first door the same way – on the outer edge of the door. I realized only as I went to mark the hinge positions on the cabinet that they should have been on the back of the door. It was a depressing moment. At least that side faces the dust collector bag and garage door corner. Still, sigh… I redid them on the back, and it all worked out pretty well.
Some things I learned today:
1) 1/2” ply is a bit thin for a cabinet carcass. Screwing the cabinet into the wall in 4 places means it’s sagging away at the top corners. I’ll have to stick with the weight and expense of 3/4” from now on.
2) It’s just a bad idea to screw the cabinet directly into old drywall. The drywall itself has some give, too. I need to find some studs, which stinks in an ancient garage like this with 24” stud centers. Looks like I’m going to have to go with that french cleat system after all, and I hope I can manage to find 2 studs in this general vicinity.
3) Because of the sagging, the cabinet door, which is hinged nicely flush with the left edge, dips down in the middle. When I push the cabinet tops flush with the wall, it’s back to fitting pretty well.
4) There’s nothing like a sharp chisel. It was still a lot of work, but I did some hand honing, and later cleaned off and hooked up my WorkSharp 3000 and re-beveled it to a slightly tighter angle. Much better. Chiseling the 1/2” ply edges was kind of fun. It makes a nice, high-pitch shearing noise.
5) Cabinets usually have face frames, and besides looking nice, I can see where they come in handy from a structural standpoint. The front would hold up a lot better against the sagging if it was reinforced with the strength of some solid lumber framing. It honestly never occurred to me while hanging the doors. It was only much later that I thought about it. I’m such a newb.
Today I went at the other door, and got it hung, too:
I used the stock at full size. That was all the maple (with those patterns) and tulip poplar (with those colors) that I had, so I couldn’t grow the door widths, and I hadn’t planned the carcass around them – I built it before I really even considered doors. I was lucky they were just large enough, but as it turns out, they’re just a whisker too small.
There’s probably 3/16” between the doors when closed. They don’t meet properly, owing to the cabinet sagging – which should be fixed with the french cleat – but regardless of that, the doors are also a bit wider apart from each other at the bottom. I’m not 100% sure why yet. The gap widens probably by 1/16”. The cabinet is square (when I push it up against the sagging), the doors are square, the measurements are correct. I think what might be going on is the doors taper a bit, so I’ll have to check that out. I’m thinking of putting a strip along the inside edge of one or both doors – like custom edge banding – to close the gap.
As usual, a crazy, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants build. Now I also need to think about pulls and magnet closers.
-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator