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Configurable Spice Cabinet

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Project by Jason Peabody posted 11-10-2012 01:34 PM 1631 views 5 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the first “real” piece of furniture that I have made. This was my wife’s Christmas present last year (2011). We were tired of her spices taking up valuable cupboard space, especially since the jars can be so different in size. Some of them are only 1-1/2” tall, and others are 6” tall. So for that reason I made this with adjustable shelves that slide in and out of the dado slots in the vertical pieces. She can configure the cabinet however she wants, and group like-size jars together, or similar spices and seasonings together. She also really likes the fancy mushroom and garlic knobs :)

The cabinet is made out of red oak, which I purchased S4S as I did not have a thickness planer, or any hand plane skills, to dimension the wood at that time. The carcass is 3/4” thick material, the interior vertical pieces are 1/2” thick, and the shelves are 1/4” thick. All joints are mortise and tenon. The panels in the doors are 1/4” oak ply. I did not put a back on the cabinet, but I did rout a 1/8” deep rabbet around the back edge in case I want to put a thin sheet of material in to hide the wall behind. We really don’t care, though.

The stain is a minwax water-based stain that was a nightmare at first. Despite pre-conditioning the wood, it was very smeary and blotchy and uneven. After attempts to even out the color by applying more coats we discovered, in desperation, that laquer thinner would remove the stain from the surface and leave it in the pores. This made the grain really “pop” nicely, so we rubbed the entire cabinet down with laquer thinner, probably killing some brain cells in the process, and ended up with a decent-looking stain.

The finish is minwax polycrylic gloss. I like this OK, but if I had to do it again I might opt for regular polyurethane. The polycrylic gives the cabinet a weird tactile feel that I am not sure I like. Of course, in the future I might avoid stains all-together and just finish everything with a drying oil like tung or linseed, which really brings out the character of the wood nicely.

My next big project (once I finish building my table saw/router table cart per these plans) is to build a dining room table for us. I will try to blog about the progress of that more than I did for this cabinet in order to justify the server space I am taking up :)

Enjoy! Feel free to ask questions or leave constructive criticism!

-- When you begin to coast, then you are on the downgrade.





6 comments so far

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11657 posts in 2340 days


#1 posted 11-10-2012 02:16 PM

I never knew that you were supposed to use pre-conditioner on Oak. I thought it was for softwoods such as Pine.
Your cabinet design is very useful and I also like those knobs : )
The thing with poly finishes is that you are actually applying “plastic” to the wood and that is what gives you that “yucky” feeling when you touch it. Have you tried applying some paste wax over the finish yet ?
Keep up the good work : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Jason Peabody's profile

Jason Peabody

14 posts in 913 days


#2 posted 11-10-2012 05:31 PM

The instructions on the stain said to use the pre-conditioner. I think that in this case, it’s not so much to do with the type of wood as with the fact that the stain is water-based.

I haven’t put any paste wax on the finish; I can definitely give it a try. I have used polyurethane on wood before, and I don’t remember it feeling as yucky as the poly-crylic. But you are right that they are both plastics, so maybe I am remembering incorrectly. The stuff I used polyurethane on was at my old work place, so I don’t have it around to do a side-by-side comparison. I’ll finish my table saw stand in polyurethane and then I can see if there’s a difference.

Thanks for the compliments!

-- When you begin to coast, then you are on the downgrade.

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11657 posts in 2340 days


#3 posted 11-10-2012 05:50 PM

You’re welcome : )
Did you happen to watch this video by MinWax before you started finishing your project ?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6Pl6ABEL9U

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112082 posts in 2229 days


#4 posted 11-10-2012 05:57 PM

Super looking spice cabinet,I like how it’s set up. Like Dusty said preconditioner is used on woods that tend to blotch . You might consider a higher grade finish next time,take a look at general finishes products.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Jason Peabody's profile

Jason Peabody

14 posts in 913 days


#5 posted 11-11-2012 05:05 PM

Dusty- I did not watch that video; though I did watch some similar ones.

Jim- Thanks for the tip. You’ve got a really impressive shop out there. What kind of a workspace did you start out in and how long did it take you before you built that?

-- When you begin to coast, then you are on the downgrade.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112082 posts in 2229 days


#6 posted 11-11-2012 05:28 PM

Hi Jason
My first shop was 2 rooms that were about 14’X 20’ put together with 7’6” ceilings. I started off with a Ryobi bt 3000 table saw because all my first shop space had was 110 power(basically a extension cord from the main house) and a used sears router. Over the years I would acquire more and better tools ,trading up to a sears table saw and after I upgraded the power then a 5hp Powermatic. After my first ten years in woodworking I moved to the little home I’m in now and built my existing shop. I would have built it larger but the size I have now was the maximum the city would allow on the small lot I’m on. I’ve now been woodworking 25 years,I kept upgrading my tools and my shop as I’ve gone along. Keep up the good work.
Jim

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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