corner cabinet opinion

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Forum topic by Tim posted 11-10-2009 08:45 PM 7223 views 1 time favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11-10-2009 08:45 PM

Here is my sketchup (minus the mouldings, working on them) of the cabinet I’d like to do next.

It measures 27” against the walls giving a center depth of just under 22”. The opinion I’m looking for is should I add a panel in the center-back to give a flat section or should I leave it square in the back? Putting a 6” panel as a hypotenuse against the back would give me a shelf depth of just under 18”. I’m leaning towards this, but I’m thinking this might make this fairly small cabinet a bit too busy since the back will probably be beadboard.

Plus, if anyone can point towards a book or reference material for making the glass door, I’d appreciate it. My library is very sparse in this regard.

16 replies so far

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#1 posted 11-10-2009 08:56 PM

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Jack Barnhill

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#2 posted 11-10-2009 09:37 PM

I don’t know if this will help but, here are a couple of images of a corner cabinet from V.J.Taylor’s “How to Build Period Country Furniture”. A technique that would give move depth and less “busy-ness” than a 6” beadboard back.

Corner Cabinet

Cabinet Detail

You may also want to reverse the faces on the cabinet doors in your SketchUp model. Just a suggestion.

-- Best regards, Jack -- I may not be good, but I'm slow --

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2828 posts in 3462 days

#3 posted 11-11-2009 12:44 AM

Tim, what is the thickness of the back pieces? You mentioned bead board. If your back material is thin, how will you connect the back corner? This is usually why a flat corner is used, so you can make that out of 3/4” stock and have something for your back to actually attach to. Also if you are going to have shelves, that will give you something to either daddo into for the shelves or drill for adjustable shelves. If you are using thick enough material for the backs then you don’t have to worry about any of the above and you can take it back to the corner square.

-- John @

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#4 posted 11-11-2009 12:55 AM

Huffs got it 100%

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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#5 posted 11-11-2009 06:06 AM


A corner cabinet is my next project as well. I’ve kept an “American Woodworker” mag since Aug 1998; it had a corner cabinet built by Lonnie Bird…absolutely beautiful!! Some of the details were missing, so I’ve picked up some Sketchup help from many on the blogs to work up a good dimensioned set of plans. Before finishing the Sketchup model, I came across a Reader’s Digest book by Robert A. Yoder, named “Handcrafted Cabinetry.” That same corner cupboard was in it and it has 25 pages of fully detailed build instructions, to include a materials list and a full breakdown of the colonial molding that was used to recreate the original 17XX cabinet. In regards to the glass door, this particular cabinet has a 15 lite upper door; I plan on using the bit set from Marc Sommerfield. Using Marc’s process will allow me to have one piece of glass instead of 15 separate pieces…a much simpler building process. Let us know how your project is coming along.

-- Don, San Antonio, TX

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#6 posted 11-11-2009 07:25 AM

I’m working on a similar, but larger, cabinet myself. Your drawing leaves me with questions. How tall it is? Is it one or two piece? It will be easier to move (and build) if it is two pieces. You show a horizontal face frame piece at the top but none between the upper and lower doors. The frame and molding at the base seem a little short. Have you considered a “toe kick” space? Either built in or added as a separate base piece. You mentioned you would add molding. Where? Don’t forget to add a crown molding to set off the top….allow width to the face framing to support it. Are your shelves to be fixed or adjustable? How and where will you support them?
A quick drawing check with 5” side panels shows your top door to be close to 30” wide. That glass will be heavy. Be sure your frame and hinges will support it.
I think you can make the back flat, but as others already mentioned joining the panels could be a problem it they are thin. If is it thin material you will need some support for your shelves. The above drawings uses a solid wood frame piece to join the panels. It could also support the back of the shelves.
This is why I like to do a drawing of my projects so I can study and review these problems and elements.
Have fun with it.

-- Les B, Oregon

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43 posts in 3358 days

#7 posted 11-11-2009 04:01 PM

Thanks for the great suggestions, everyone. I think I’ll work on a sketchup with a flat back. I was definitely planning on building it in 2 pieces with a total height of about 83”. There will be two fixed shelves that will line up with the muntins. As for the face frame, I asked my wife to search the web for examples of cabinets she liked. It seemed like they all had bottom doors without top and bottom face frames and top parts to match. After drawing it, I like that the rails and stiles of the glass door will mimic those of the bottom doors. It won’t be built into the walls, so I’m working on the base moulding to make sure it compliments the baseboards that are already in my dining room. And there will definitely be crown moulding at the top.

Huff, thanks for the pointer re: a daddo in the flat portion. I was thinking the design was all asthetic and didn’t realize there was a mechanical advantage to it. I’m still not sure how I’ll execute the bead board design. I was thinking of milling 3/4” t&g and bread-boarding the ends to make panels. The panels would attach to the top and bottom via a rabbet and I could cut daddos in the panels for the shelves. My worry here is #1 accuracy of all that, and #2 how that would all paint up. A friend is now storing his radial arm saw in my shop, so I think i’ll be able to achieve a pretty high level of accuracy with the daddos. On the other hand, if I have a daddo in the back flat portion and the two 4” side portions, what do you think is the best option for that bead board backing? I’m planning to use Freud’s 20-301 bit to rout the beads. Can this be done well in thinner plywood to create a veneer of sorts?

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5032 posts in 4071 days

#8 posted 11-11-2009 04:04 PM

To add

I make the back on 45 degrees and keep the outer stiles proud because corners are rarely square and this allows the corner cabinet to fit tight to the walls

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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43 posts in 3358 days

#9 posted 11-11-2009 04:10 PM

Roman, would you recommend I cut away the baseboard section of this wall and push the cabinet flush against it?

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5032 posts in 4071 days

#10 posted 11-11-2009 04:20 PM

Unlike other furniture that is often moved around the room to “change up’ the look, corner cabinets arent so if it were mine or a clients I would recommend that the wall baseboard be cut, or that the baseboard on the corner cabinet be scribed to the baseboard of the wall. I also make the baseboard on (if possible) the CC higher then the baseboard on the wall which enables the wall baseboard to “die” into the CC baseboard eliminating a clumsy transition from wall to furniture

I gotta get to work

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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43 posts in 3358 days

#11 posted 11-11-2009 04:21 PM

Great pointer. Thanks!

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#12 posted 11-15-2009 12:44 AM


I just bought the book I told you about up above (the one I had was borrowed); it has precise build instructions with consideration of wood movement and afixing the shelves to the insides, etc. If you look up the Barns & Nobel website and look under “Used and Out of Print” books, you can find a used one for under $2 plus shipping. It might be worth your while to invest in the book.

-- Don, San Antonio, TX

View Tim's profile


43 posts in 3358 days

#13 posted 11-19-2009 10:25 PM

Another question:

The plywood shelves- since they’ll be painted, will the plys show through the paint or do I need to edge them in hardwood before assembly? (that’ll be an interesting jig)


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297 posts in 3526 days

#14 posted 11-20-2009 12:04 AM

Paint will not obscure plys on the edge of plywood.

-- criticism: the art of analyzing and evaluating the quality of an artistic work...

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#15 posted 11-23-2009 12:01 AM

Is there some sort of putty that could be applied to the edge of the plywood before painting to hide it?


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