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Craftsman built-ins

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Blog series by mountainaxe updated 06-04-2014 07:44 PM 12 parts 20772 reads 18 comments total

Part 1: Window seat - stereo cabinet #1

11-24-2012 09:40 PM by mountainaxe | 0 comments »

Four years after major home renovation work, I’ve decided to tackle the living room space in our 1943 ranch. The house has an interesting feature…the interior walls were not studded/plastered; instead, the exterior brick was simply stuccoed on the interior…which makes for awkward built-in attachment. My larger goal is to work my way around the room installing built-ins in a craftsman like style. The individual projects I’ll address in this blog will include: 1. ...

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Part 2: Window seat - stereo cabinet #2

11-26-2012 02:22 AM by mountainaxe | 0 comments »

Back in the shop this morning to start glue-ups. This was pretty simple as I had dry fit the day prior. I realized that the old saw is true…you can never have enough clamps—and I don’t. It was also somewhat difficult to put it all together by myself due to the size of the unit and the small space available in my shop. Used standard white wood glue and a few finish nails as insurance. Finally, I used wood putty to close up any small gaps and nail holes. Overall, I’...

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Part 3: Window seat - stereo cabinet #3

11-26-2012 11:15 PM by mountainaxe | 0 comments »

After giving the glue a chance to set up overnight, I used today to accomplish final assembly and sanding. The top of the bench is 3/4” hardwood plywood. Of course, since the bench is longer than 8’, I had to piece the top from several sections. This was not a problem since I’m painting. The doors look great and, to my surprise, fit the bench door openings almost perfectly. I trimmed the front plywood edge with 1 3/4” pine…two pieces spliced together with a ...

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Part 4: Window seat - stereo cabinet #4

11-28-2012 01:36 PM by mountainaxe | 3 comments »

As construction is complete, the bench is ready for painting. I used Zinssler BIN primer, the one with shelac, since I need to ensure the pine, especially knots, don’t bleed through. It’s pretty expensive, but I’ve heard quite a few good reviews. I found that this product was easy to use and dries quickly…in about 15 minutes. I used disposable 4” & 6” rollers to apply the paint. The downside is that the fumes are very strong. Fortunately, it was a...

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Part 5: Window seat - stereo cabinet #5

11-29-2012 01:34 AM by mountainaxe | 1 comment »

Second coat of primer dried quickly, so I was ready to move the bench into the house. This required more muscle that I could muster myself, so I borrowed my neighbor’s two teenage sons to move the beast. At over 8’ it is not only ungainly, but very heavy. The boys were able to get the job done in less than 5 minutes without problem. The unit fit in the space under the window like a glove. It was even fairly level…which surprised me. A few small shims was all it took. ...

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Part 6: Knee wall

12-05-2012 03:17 PM by mountainaxe | 1 comment »

I’ve been back in the shop the last several days working on the next phase of this project. My goal was to build a knee wall to cap off the stereo cabinet/window seat near the front door. This half wall will be 44” high, 42” long and 19” deep. I saved the baseboard I pulled earlier and will reuse it. This will be the configuration: I spent two days constructing the wall out of 3/4” hardwood plywood and 1 by pine. It was fairly simple to put together. My ...

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Part 7: Knee wall #2

12-10-2012 02:03 PM by mountainaxe | 1 comment »

The last several days were spent in the shop working on the second knee wall which will stand opposite the first. This project is somewhat different and more complex than the first. My wife wanted this to serve as an enclosed storage unit. The challenge was to build a solid structure that has doors and access to the shelves the length of unit. This meant a different construction method was needed although the look had to be similar. I decided to use 3/4” hardwood plywood for the ...

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Part 8: Fireplace surround

12-16-2012 08:41 PM by mountainaxe | 2 comments »

Back in to the breach! As we approach ever nearer to Christmas day, my wife has been insisting that I return to the shop posthaste and build a fireplace surround for an electric unit we purchased last month so she can hang the stockings, etc. I figured that this project shouldn’t be that difficult. The fireplace itself contained instructions as to the opening size required. I already knew that I wanted to build a comprehensive unit based on a 1907 Stickley built-in design that inclu...

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Part 9: bookcases

03-01-2013 03:52 PM by mountainaxe | 1 comment »

Yesterday, I finished installation of the two matching bookcases that flank the fireplace insert I constructed in December. This was a difficult build as I knew I had to perfectly fit these two cases against a wall, two knee walls, and the fireplace insert…all while keeping everything parallel, level, and in-line while taking into consideration an old house with sloping floors and wavy walls. The construction of the basic book cases was fairly straight forward; they’re just bi...

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Part 10: Pilasters

03-16-2013 05:15 PM by mountainaxe | 1 comment »

Back in the shop this past week to continue with the craftsman built-ins. This phase of the project encompassed constructing pilasters to be placed on the two knee walls previously constructed. A pilaster is a rectangular support that resembles a flat column. The pilaster projects only slightly from the wall, and has a base, a shaft, and a capital. Mine are simple to mimic the columns on the adjoining half wall. I thought about running a beam across the ceiling, but, on second thought, de...

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Part 11: Hall Bench and completion!

08-05-2013 08:23 PM by mountainaxe | 5 comments »

I completed my final built-in Craftsman style project…a tall hall bench. I found plans in an old Woodsmith magazine and modified it to suit my overall idea. The plan itself was easy enough to follow, but since I was building it in, I avoiding the fussy mechanism for attaching the top. I was also able to use pine and 3/4” plywood as I was painting. The hall bench turned out nice and helps define the entry way by our front door. It also provides quite a lot of storage. ...

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Part 12: Bathroom Chest of Drawers

06-04-2014 07:44 PM by mountainaxe | 3 comments »

Continuing the Craftsman theme in our home, I’ve moved to the master bath. My wife has always complained about needing more storage space. I found inspiration for “his and hers” built-in chest of drawers in the plan-book by Robert W. Lang, Shop Drawing for Craftsman Interiors, Cabinet Moldings & Built-Ins for Every Room in the Home. Plans were straight forward. Because the chests will be so close to the sink and submitted to high doses of humidity/water, I chose to...

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