mantel surround, storage cabinets, and bookcases

  • Advertise with us
Project by RonR posted 06-08-2007 01:01 AM 5578 views 26 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I finally finsihed this project around the end of July. I’d been working on this for about 4 months for an hour or two each night and when I had some free time on the weekends. There are six storage cabinets with a shelf inside below and just above are display nooks. Above that are about 4’ high bookcases. The backs of the bookcases and nooks are MDF beadboard. There are six shallow but wide drawers on Blum Blumotion slides. The mantel surround is made of plywood, MDF, and hardwood edging. The wood is mostly birch and some beech (whatever was handy), birch plywood, and some MDF. The raised panels are MDF for stability. Total length is 22’ and finished height is about 9’. My wife insisted on painting it all white because the trim in the room is white and I wanted to keep her happy so that’s what I did. The painting took a long time but I’m glad it’s finally done.

-- RonR, Massachusetts

24 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4124 days

#1 posted 06-08-2007 02:16 AM

oh my goodness.. this is a huge project. It is going to be amazing!!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Nicky's profile


695 posts in 4055 days

#2 posted 06-08-2007 02:46 AM

Very nice. MDF will take the paint really well, and I think you too will be pleased.

-- Nicky

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4000 days

#3 posted 06-08-2007 03:13 AM

Big undertaking! It’s coming along great!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4274 days

#4 posted 06-08-2007 04:07 AM

It looks like you’re doing a superb job. How do you like working with MDF? I’ve heard a lot of horror stories and that it makes a heck of a mess. I can’t wait to see the finished results.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View RonR's profile


71 posts in 3972 days

#5 posted 06-08-2007 04:28 AM

Thanks again for sending some comments and encouragement. MDF is fine to work with, very stable and easy to shape with a router and table saw. It is extremely messy though. After cutting a few panels the whole shop is covered in fine dust. Bad for the lungs so I wear a respirator and have the air cleaner running for a long time after. The dust is so light it’ll suspend in the air for hours unless it’s filtered out. Paints well too but the edges take special care cause they are much more absorbent. For raised panels, MDF works well. Not so good for horizontal surfaces cause it’ll bend under load if not supported or edged with hardwood. I finished one more of the display nooks (there are 6 in all) and one to go. This weekend it’s back to the lumberyard for some more plywood. Eight more sheets ought to do it I think! Sunday, I hope to start on the bookcases and shelves. I think I will need to paint all the lower cabinets and mantel soon and then paint the display nooks and bookcases in the shop before final assembly in the family room. This is by far the largest single project I’ve attempted. Can’t wait for finish this. I am inspiried by Mark Decou’s Arts and Crafts furniture and will take a shot at some along those lines next. More pics next week….

-- RonR, Massachusetts

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 4050 days

#6 posted 06-08-2007 06:59 AM

Great looking project… wife and I are planning on buying and renovating an old house soon…can’t wait to do some nice built-ins.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4210 days

#7 posted 06-08-2007 12:55 PM

Looks good, we re-did our house inside and out 2 yrs ago, its a good feeling especially to route your own molding and knock out walls and put in a new kitchen the way you want, we brought the washer and dryer upstairs and made a room for them in a closet, because both my wife and I are getting older and have arthritic ankles and knees. You sure can wrap a lot of money up in a redo though. jockmike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View RonR's profile


71 posts in 3972 days

#8 posted 06-08-2007 02:32 PM

I agree with you that doing your own molding and arranging walls the way you want gives you a felling that this is YOUR home and a little different than the ordinary. Actually, this is not a redo but more of a continuation of the building of this home. We broke ground in February of 2005 and moved in at the end of August 2005. Of course we had a builder with a floor plan to start from but we modified it quite a bit. We have a colonial but have never found a living room useful so we eliminated that. Since the kids are now off to college, we preferred a 1st floor master, so removing the living room let us accommodate doing that. We wanted an open feel so we opened the dining room and litchen into a common area. The family room is where we spend most time so we made that large and planned for this project by bringing the fireplace inwards instead of bumping it out. My employer at the time (Intel) gave us 8 weeks sabbatical every 7 years, so I used that 8 weeks plus 2 weeks vacation to work on some of the construction myself. Lucky to have a builder who let me do that because I am sure he was taking a chance that his insurance company would not have liked. I did all the trimwork, painting (ceilings and walls, 2-3 coats! arghh!), built a mahogany porch in front and deck in back, 1600 sq feet of h/w flooring, and framed my basement during that time. At least I started all those things during the 10 weeks! It took 2 more months after we moved in to finish that work and we lived with furniture stacked to the ceiling in the kitchen while I finished the floors. That made for some interesting conversations! It took a couple of more months to get my shop up and running in the basement. Anyways, now I am to the fun part of working on the built-ins, some furniture, and able to do things at a bit more leisurely pace. Sorry for rambling on… I expect that by the time I get all the projects I want to do for this home completed, it’ll be time to build another and move to a warmer climate!

-- RonR, Massachusetts

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4182 days

#9 posted 06-08-2007 02:57 PM

This looks fantastic!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4124 days

#10 posted 06-08-2007 03:28 PM

that sounds like quite an exciting life you live!!! And busy. very busy

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View cconway's profile


37 posts in 4012 days

#11 posted 06-08-2007 09:23 PM


I hear you on the wife thing, that’s why by built in was white as well. You did a great job on this!!!

-- Charlie, Connecticut

View schroeder's profile


702 posts in 4089 days

#12 posted 06-10-2007 08:21 PM

Wow! – I love it Ron! I’ve always been to a-scared to try and tackle a project like this. I have a similar set up at home to builid something along these lines, and the wife does drop little hints around like “when the hell are you going to build my mantle & cases” ;) someday,...someday…So alas – while I appreciate and admire your project, I shall not be letting the Mrs. see it!

Great job!

-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

View RonR's profile


71 posts in 3972 days

#13 posted 06-10-2007 08:36 PM


Thanks for the comments. Subtle hint from your wife! It is a rather major commitment in time and work but if you take it one box at a time it’s really not difficult. I started in February but it seems most weekends have been tied up in doing something else. It’s really only about 3 or so full weeks work but doing a little now and then takes a lot longer. I am making progress now and hope to finish in a month. I’ve gotten the cabinets disassembled at the moment for painting before I put the bookcases in place. I find it easier to do the painting in the workshop. It is a lot of fun seeing it all come together and lots of storage space.

-- RonR, Massachusetts

View RonR's profile


71 posts in 3972 days

#14 posted 07-13-2007 01:30 AM

I added some current pics. Almost done.

-- RonR, Massachusetts

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4125 days

#15 posted 07-14-2007 06:49 PM

Looking good Ron. Did you add wainscoting on the back of the book cases?

-- Bill, Turlock California,

showing 1 through 15 of 24 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics