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Project by mitchota posted 07-30-2013 03:48 AM 1122 views 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I started working on re-doing my bedroom last October. It took me a lot longer to get all the floor put in and get everything sort of back to the way I wanted it to be. Now that the floor is pretty much in, I can start furnishing it with some new dressers, bookcases, and the like. The first thing I wanted to get done was a storage cabinet for my cat’s stuff. My fiancee and I didn’t like having his extra litter sitting out and we wanted to have a place to put his extra food and all his grooming stuff. I figured a simple base cabinet would work well.

The cabinet is a standard kitchen cabinet height of 36”, and it is 24” wide. The only modification I had to do off the “standard” dimensions was to make it shallower, so it’s only 21” deep. That way, it would fit properly in the closet that has become my cat’s “bathroom”.

The build on this was as simple as it could get. I built the cabinet out of 3/4” Purebond birch plywood from the Orange Borg. Drawers were made of 1/2” and 1/4” birch ply. It didn’t take long for me to fabricate the parts. Joinery was accomplished via dadoes and rabbets. I fastened the cleats and bottom into the case sides with brads so I wouldn’t have screws showing on the outside. The bottom is toe-nailed into the sides, and for the first time, I didn’t send a brad through the side, so I must be getting better about this.

Since I wanted this to have a higher end look, I decided to edgeband all the exposed plywood. This turned out to be fairly time consuming as I hadn’t done this before. I was surprised at how much edgebanding I used, but when I thought about it, I guess there are a lot of exposed edges. I found it easy enough to flush up the edgebanding with a sharp utility knife.

The top was built from a doubled up board of 3/4” MDF, and I had a scrap piece of laminate from my router table build, so I decided that would make a good top that could handle whatever I put on it. Once again, I made the realization that the gel type contact cement is a bear to work with and next time I have to put on laminate on anything, I’m buying the regular contact cement—have to really check those cans when I’m at the store. The top is edged with solid maple.

Finishing this project is what took me the most time. I found out in a hurry that I need to make some kind of table to do my assembly and finishing on. My outfeed table for my table saw makes a decent assembly area for smaller parts of projects, but since it’s the same height as my table saw, sometimes the pieces get a little precariously close to the ceiling in my garage and I really don’t want to put a piece of wood through one of the fluorescent lights.

I stained this project with Rustoleum Ultimate Wood Stain in Summer Oak. As always, the color doesn’t come out the same as what the can shows, but I really liked how it turned out. I experimented with some homebrew wiping varnish to put on the protective finish, and so I put on a couple coats of a 3:2:1 mix of mineral spirits, semi-gloss poly, and boiled linseed oil as the first set of coats. After that had time to dry, I put down a 3:2 mix of mineral spirits and semi-gloss poly as the final wiping coats. I wet sanded as I went with 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. The finish is nice and smooth, and it’s not too plastic-looking. I hope it will stand up to the use and abuse.

I’m glad I made this project since it gave me more practice with building cabinets, and so I’m actually feeling pretty comfortable with it now. Now I can move on to building other furniture. I have to make a couple of nightstands and a dresser next, but it’s going to have to wait a few days until the tropical storm passes by and I have some good weather to work with.

2 comments so far

View maplerock's profile


529 posts in 1941 days

#1 posted 08-01-2013 03:42 AM

Great job and wonderful explanation. I think a kitchen full of these would look super!

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana

View mitchota's profile


48 posts in 2211 days

#2 posted 08-01-2013 05:07 AM

Thanks Jerry. I’m treating all these cabinet-type builds as practice for an eventual kitchen renovation. I’m hoping that will come soon, since I’d love to have a new kitchen to cook in.

In the meantime, I get to build the rest of the furniture for my bedroom!

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