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Master Bath Cabinets

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Project by dvhart posted 02-23-2010 07:21 AM 5696 views 5 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first set of actual cabinets. I used pre-finished birch for the boxes and alder for the face frames. The drawers are constructed of 1/2” baltic birch with half-blind dovetails. In future projects I’ll use prefinished 1/2” birch (as opposed to baltic birch) as it’s less expensive and easier on the router bits with less resins – and I don’t have to finish it of course! The gel-stain is called Java and was very difficult for this novice to apply. The knobs are solid brass from restoration hardware, all the drawer slides are full extension ball bearing Accuride. They were expensive to build, but I got a much better set of cabinets than I could have afforded to buy from a custom shop.

Update: Finishing
I used General Finishes “Java Gel Stain”, applying one coat and then rubbing it off. This was the hardest part of the finishing as the time it set was difficult to gauge for me, as was selecting appropriate sized areas. The goal was to have some grain show through so it didn’t look like paint, and I think I accomplished that, but it isn’t as even as I’d like. After than I applied two coats of Zinsser Bulls Eye SealCoat Universal Sanding Sealer (wax-free shellac), sanding with 220 after each coat. Finally, I applied 3 coats of General Finishes Arm-R-Seal Oil & Urethane Topcoat (Satin) with a clean rag, scuffing with a fine pad between coats. The topcoat was the easiest to apply with the exception of the inside corners on the rail and style door and drawer fronts – I still find those areas very difficult to get right.

Update: Lessons Learned
The biggest challenge for me was definitely applying the finish – it literally took me a month to apply the 5 coats of the various finish products. So what did I learn? Wood is naturally beautiful and should not be stained… ever. :-) I followed Norm’s (NYW) example and didn’t glue the face frame joints since the pocket screws supposedly are sufficient. Over the years the joint has popped a little – not enough to show a gap and not so much as to show a gap in the stain, but enough that I can feel it when I rub my fingers across it. I have glued future pocket screw joints. Face it – you’re NEVER going to replace a rail or style. Lastly, when building a large cabinet like this, I would install 3/4” partitions on either side of the drawers to mount the drawer-slides on. On this cabinet I used the face-frame mounting kits which just don’t feel as stable to me and leave the slides visible from the area under the sink – not a big deal, but in future cabinets I installed mounting cleats on the sides of the boxes to screw the slides to and was happier with the result.

-- Darren





8 comments so far

View Jim Reeves's profile

Jim Reeves

202 posts in 1746 days


#1 posted 02-23-2010 08:58 AM

dvhart, looks nice l aam hoping in the next few months soon as l can make or try to make a 48 – 60 inch wide doiuble sink vanity and need a set of kitchen cabinets for my daughter living in front nof our duplex 10 ft uppers and lowers kitchen sink cabinet first as now washing dishes in shower.
I have 20 plus panels they were display cases in zellers took apart are 3/4 inches thick 24 wide x 55 long laminated one side looks maple and other side light brown do you think be good for cabinet frames?
I am a beginner presently at research stage looking how to do this make strong mainly sink cabinet any idea’s?

-- jim

View dvhart's profile

dvhart

107 posts in 1738 days


#2 posted 02-23-2010 09:04 AM

@Jim: A vanity is typically 21” deep and standard kitchen cabinets are 24”, but that includes the face frame and possibly the back, so as long as you can get 23” out of those panels, you should be able to reuse them – provided they are in good condition. Are they plywood core? MDF and particle board can be used, but they are much heavier and the edges can crush. If you are looking for a good text on the subject, I highly recommend “Building Kitchen Cabinets” by Udo Schmidt, published by Taunton’s in the “Build Like a Pro” series.

-- Darren

View dvhart's profile

dvhart

107 posts in 1738 days


#3 posted 02-23-2010 09:04 AM

@Jim: A vanity is typically 21” deep and standard kitchen cabinets are 24”, but that includes the face frame and possibly the back, so as long as you can get 23” out of those panels, you should be able to reuse them – provided they are in good condition. Are they plywood core? MDF and particle board can be used, but they are much heavier and the edges can crush. If you are looking for a good text on the subject, I highly recommend “Building Kitchen Cabinets” by Udo Schmidt, published by Taunton’s in the “Build Like a Pro” series. Good Luck with your project.

-- Darren

View blackivory69's profile

blackivory69

74 posts in 1740 days


#4 posted 02-23-2010 10:58 AM

dvhart, That came out really nice. I always want that Java. In fact I’m planning to use that when it time to remodel our kitchen. How many coat did you apply and what finish did you use?

-- blackivory69

View Jonathan's profile

Jonathan

2605 posts in 1774 days


#5 posted 02-23-2010 05:09 PM

Those turned out nicely!

What would you say was the biggest challenge, and what did you learn from this project?

Looks like the pocket hole jig got a good workout too for the faceframes.

This is on my long list of eventual projects, on a smaller scale: to build a vanity for the basement bathroom once we actual start building out the basement.

Nice job!

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View dvhart's profile

dvhart

107 posts in 1738 days


#6 posted 02-24-2010 02:08 AM

Thanks for the kind words!

@blackivory69: I added a couple finishing pics and updated the project description for the finishing process. Good lick in your project.

@Jonathan: I updated the project description with some lessons learned – good idea, I’ll try and do this on all my project posts from now on.

-- Darren

View jim1953's profile

jim1953

2678 posts in 2565 days


#7 posted 02-24-2010 03:37 AM

Great Lookin Work

-- Jim, Kentucky

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 2396 days


#8 posted 10-30-2010 05:46 PM

Those are some beautiful cabinets.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

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