Bathroom Cabinet

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Project by Bill posted 03-30-2008 07:41 PM 3047 views 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My latest project was this bathroom cabinet. The cabinet was designed to fit into the bathroom in the shop. The overall measurements are 32” tall by 28” wide by 8” deep. The idea behind the cabinet was to build it with the available cutoffs and lumber I already had onhand.

The cabinet was built in sections. The frame was made from Poplar, and was basically a rectangular box. The outside of the frame was covered with 3/4” Red Oak plywood (overkill but what I had left from some previous projects). Inside, the cabinet was lined with 1/4” Red Oak plywood. The single shelf was made from 3/4” plywood.

The face frame was made with Oak, but as individual pieces instead of a single frame mounted on the cabinet. The doors were made with Oak, and featured the 1/4” plywood for the panels. The cabinet attaches to the wall with a set of french cleats to provide the extra strength to hold this monster up.

The finish was a mission oak stain, and three layers of amber shellac.

This was my first wall mounted cabinet, so I used it as a learning experience. In the course of building the cabinet, I learned a few valuable lessons. I am sure Dennis can give me some great pointers on how to make the next one. But, the lessons were:

1. It is not necessary to use 3/4” plywood for a wall mounted cabinet that is not holding heavy items.

2. Pieces should be finished before assembly, especially the internal ones (ok, so I knew this but needed a refresher).

3. Door frames should be edged on the inside edges before cutting the grooves for the panel.

4. It is not necessary to have a frame for 3/4” plywood cabinets, especially for light use.

5. I can make decent cabinets after all.

This was a great learning project, and also helped use up some of my leftovers to clear the shop. I am looking forward to building more in the future.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

10 comments so far

View pappyjohn's profile


138 posts in 3675 days

#1 posted 03-30-2008 08:13 PM

Bill,,, I think that it is a Totally Nice looking cabinet when I first looked at the picture I thought it was a free standing floor unit, until I started reading..Love the color ( mission oak stain )......your brother in woodworking John

-- Your Brother in WoodWorking John, Pittsburgh , PA.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3950 days

#2 posted 03-30-2008 08:18 PM

Very nice. Nice clean and simple lines.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3837 days

#3 posted 03-30-2008 08:34 PM

That is very nice. The finish looks really good.

View TomFran's profile


2957 posts in 3956 days

#4 posted 03-31-2008 12:03 AM


Great job! Thanks for all the details on how you built it too.

I think though, that I would coat that shellac with varnish, since it’s in an area that is prone to moisture. What do you think? I believe that shellac is prone to “blushing” (turning white) when exposed to humidity. Maybe others can weigh in on that.

It is a super job regardless!

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3784 days

#5 posted 03-31-2008 03:03 AM

Hi Bill,

This is a nice looking cabinet. And you did a good job on the construction. I really like using french cleats to hang cabinets. It is so much quicker to use them than to try and hit a stud. And you don’t have any visible fasteners.

By the way Tom does have a point. Shellac does not handle water well at all. If you think that water is going to get splashed on it or there is going to be some condensation I would consider roughing up the shellac finish and topcoating it with a wipe-on poly.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4362 days

#6 posted 03-31-2008 05:34 AM

Great cabinet Bill. A nice job. If the shellac has wax in it you will need to roughen up like is stated previous. If it was de-waxed shellac. you can go right over what you have now.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Tony's profile


983 posts in 3992 days

#7 posted 03-31-2008 06:40 PM

Nice looking cabinet, love the colour. You will need to make the wood impervious to water and moisture, otherwise it will swell a lot (bathrooms typically 13 to 15% MC in wood). It should not be a problem for the plywood, but the poplar will be affected.

Also as already stated the shellac will loose its lustre and go “cloudy” in the presence of water.

However, if the Bathroom in the shop, is only a WC and wash basin, then leave it and see what happens, it may not be too humid, without a shower or bath.

Keep up the good work

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4123 days

#8 posted 03-31-2008 07:14 PM

Thanks to everyone for all the comments.

Yes, I should have mentioned this bathroom is in the shop, and only a water closet. I expect it will not have a humidity problem or water splashing on it.

I thought I would try the shellac and test how it holds up. If it was an inside bathroom, I would go with the poly instead.

I used this as an opportunity to learn more about cabinet building and use some of the lumber I had laying around.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4276 days

#9 posted 04-01-2008 05:32 AM

Rule# 6…You can make a living building cabinets. Great job!

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4039 days

#10 posted 04-01-2008 05:37 AM

looks greeat Bill!!!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

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