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Renovation Update: Base Corner Cabinet

Pete Brown - 20 October 2006

During my two week vacation, I made a lot of progress on the cabinets. I still have a few days to work before I go back, but this is what I finished:

  • Redesigned the cabinet legs and some details. I'm very happy with the design now.
  • Milled all the wood required for the base cabinets, minus the peninsula
  • Rough cut almost all of the plywood pieces for the base cabinets
  • Assembled the base corner cabinet 
  • Spec'd two sample requests for drawer box companies.

Last item first: I decided to contract out the building of the drawer boxes. For a kitchen full of drawers, you can't beat the time savings. The box is just the part you see when you open the drawer, not the front of the drawer itself. It'll run around $1500 for all the drawers (including pull-outs behind doors), but it saves a ton of time and the results are as good as I would be likely to produce. I ordered the same drawer box from two different companies. I received one already from QuickDrawer/Unique Drawer Boxes and expect to receive the other from CCF Industries around the end of the month. In both cases, I specified dovetailed maple drawers with thick bottoms, notched and bored for the Blum Tandem Blumotion slides, assembled and finished. I'm leaning towards CCF right now as they had good customer service, are more local (important for shipping), and were cheaper per-drawer. I'll make the final decision on that once I see what they produce.

This is the wood for the base cabinets. I wrapped it as it is milled to final thickness and width (but not length) and I didn't want to to go and boomerang on me due to moisture absorbtion. As I work on a cabinet, I take out the pieces just for that cabinet and leave the rest wrapped. 

I dry-assembled the base corner cabinet today. This cabinet consists of two logical cabinets: the lazy susan and a small cabinet which will have a pull-out door with two attached racks for spices or other dry goods. When you build your cabinets yourself, or have them custom-made, you can combine cabinets like that for a nicer overall look (and yes, it will fit through the doors. However, I'll be assembling it in the house anyway, as it is heavy

Note that I didn't do traditional face frames here. What I did is more like the European cabinets, but with a full 2" piece of hardwood instead of edge banding. Not only does this increase the amount of usable room for drawers and pull-outs, but it also fits the craftsman style (as much as kitchen cabinets can). You will really be able to see the difference when you see the 3 over 2 over 4 cabinet I am doing for near the stove (3 drawers over two drawers over four doors) - it looks more like a bureau than a kitchen cabinet. The doors and drawers will be inset.

Left to do on this cabinet:

  • Assemble and attach both legs (will be done for all base cabinets at once)
  • Put in plywood backing (in the lazy susan piece, it will be curved to keep things from falling off of the tray)
  • Paint the inside, and finish the maple face frame.

After trying a number of finishes (dyes, linseed oil, danish oil, tung oil, combinations of dies and oils etc.), both my wife and I agree that what looks best on these cabinets is a couple coats of Zinsser Bulls Eye Seal Coat (a super-blonde dewaxed shellac) followed up by General Finishes High Performance Water-Based Polyurethane in gloss, but rubbed down to semi-gloss. My wife, especially, wanted to bring out the figure of the wood, but not really bring it out, like I did on a sample with sanded dye and other finishes. A whole kitchen of super-figured wood is busy enough without doing your best to pop ever last bit of tiger :-)

The interiors of the cabinets are to be finished with a green latex paint top-coated with the GF Poly.

BTW, all of my finishing supplies, clamps etc. can now be purchased at our local Rockler affiliate store: Cayce. The guys there are great. I picked up a bunch of things from them the other day.

Unfortunately, as you can see in the photos above, my tablesaw is also my assembly area. That makes it pretty slow going. I look forward to the day when I can build a bigger shop :)

posted by Pete Brown on Friday, October 20, 2006
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1 comment for “Renovation Update: Base Corner Cabinet”

  1. roystr@hotmail.comsays:
    hey,you do realy nice work. one thing that made sense,,but i never would have thought of,,was the wrapping with plastic..to keep out moisture untill the wood is to be used. good thing i read that part.

    keep up the good work,,its done by now aint it?


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1 trackback for “Renovation Update: Base Corner Cabinet”

  1. Pete Brown's Blogsays:
    I installed the base corner cabinet over the weekend. I assembled this in the kitchen as the cabinet