Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wood Storage Cabinet & Decorative Wall Shelves

This blog entry is about some gifts I made for my parents for their 45th Anniversary.  Both my Mother and Father have been asking me to make some things for them.  I'll start with my Mother's request.


My mother has been asking me for months to build her a storage cabinet for her house.  I created a fairly simple cabinet in Google SketchUp that stands on the floor, and fits a particular area of their house.

Knowing how much wood to buy, I went out and picked up some from the hardware store.  This particular store did not have the necessary wood for making the doors to this cabinet, so I bought enough wood to make the carcass and I'll buy the wood for the doors later.

As always the first step is to measure and cut the pieces needed.  This was done with the table and miter saws.

Next I marked the positioning of the shelves on the 2 sides of the cabinet.

Before I go any further I decided to fill in the imperfections in the wood with some filler.

When the filler dried I sanded the boards.

At the time of this writing it is July in Arizona and it is HOT!  This heat only lets me work in my garage for short periods of time, so instead of cutting dadoes into the wood sides with my router, I'm going to attach the shelves to the sides with pocket holes and screws.

Dadoes are much stronger, but pocket holes and screws are by no means weak.  Using pocket holes/screws isn't going to make this thing fall apart any time in the near future.

After a short while the carcass was done.

Next I cut some smaller wood pieces to make a face frame for the cabinet.

The face frame was attached to the carcass using glue and brad nails.

On the back of the cabinet I attached some cleats to the top of each shelf.

I did this to evenly fit .25" plywood boards to the back.  Without the cleats, the boards would not fit completely.

On the inside, I cut smaller pieces of wood and glued/nailed them to the corners to cover up any small gaps.

Then I glued and nailed on a few smaller pieces of trim to the top front purely for decoration.

Looking good so far.

Next I added a little more filler...

...then sanded again.

I felt like the top could use a back wall, so I cut a piece of trim with 45 degree angles...

...and I attached it to the back of the top with pocket holes/screws.

Now it's time to work on the doors.  I went to the store and picked up some decent plywood.

I cut the plywood to size with the table saw.

But before I attached the doors, I gave them a good sanding.

Then the doors were attached to the frame with hinges.

Door knobs added... well as magnetic clasps to keep the doors shut.

It looks good, but I feel the doors are a little too bland.  

I was originally going to make trim go all around, but as it turned out I didn't have enough wood as I thought I did.  Instead of going to the store again to buy trim, I decided to work with what I had on hand and make a diagonal piece of trim against the doors.

I cut 2 pieces to the same size, angling the cuts at both end to be parallel with the tops and bottoms of the doors.

Then I held the trim against the doors with clamps and drilled screws to hold them in place.

Looking good!

Next I gave the whole thing one more round of sanding...

...then a good cleaning.

Now it's time to prep for staining.  I removed the doors, hinges and clasps and laid down some tarps.

Next I stained the cabinet and doors.

When the stain had been wiped and dried I sprayed on some satin clear coat and let it dry.

When the clear coat was dry I began sanding everything with very fine sandpaper.

Then I reattached the doors.

Then I gave everything a good cleaning, inside and out.

Next I applied some furniture wax for extra protection.

Truth be told, I'm getting older and my body just isn't working as well as it once did.  While staining the cabinet I hurt my back while bending over, and my knees while on the ground.  So to make it easier to apply the finishing wax I took a break and built 2 small carpenter benches.

These benches took a few hours to make and can be used like saw horses to raise and support the cabinet.

Now it's a lot easier getting those hard to reach areas while standing...

...and those low areas while sitting on a chair.

Once all the furniture wax was was applied I let the whole cabinet air out for a few days until my parent's anniversary.  This thing didn't fit inside my car, so I had to strap it to the top and drive very slowly to my parent's house.

Luckily the cabinet arrived at my parent's house unscathed, and fits well in a small hallway near their garage.

They were very pleased with this cabinet, and that makes me very happy.

Next I tackled my Fathers' request - some wall shelves for 4 of his model boats.  Making wood shelves is nothing new for me, and it's something I could easily do in a day.  But I'll take more time and make something really nice for my dad.  Like the storage cabinet, I designed my father's shelves in SketchUp.

I decided to add some curves to make these shelves stand out.

These shelves will be made out of 3 pieces of wood.  One will be the top of the shelf, one will be the backer which mounts to the wall, and one will be a support in the middle which connects to the other 2 pieces of wood.

I'll only need 2 pieces of wood to build all 4 shelves.

Since the curves on these pieces of wood will be difficult to draw correctly by hand, I made some templates in Adobe Illustrator, which I printed out...

...then cut out.

Next I went to the hardware store and bought my 2 pieces of wood (1x4x8' and 1x6x8').

I measured and marked all the cut lines.

The larger piece of wood (1x6) is too big for my miter saw, so I cut those pieces with the table saw.

The smaller piece of wood (1x4) fit on the miter saw.

With all the pieces cut, I next used my templates to draw the curves I wanted.

I used my jigsaw to cut out the shapes.

For the smaller support piece that goes in the middle, I didn't make a paper template.  Instead I drew the curvature on one...

...and I cut it out CAREFULLY with the jigsaw.  I used this shape as a template on the 3 remaining pieces.

Sanding these curves will take some work, so to make things easier on myself I bought a drum sanding kit...

...which attaches a round bit with sandpaper onto my drill press.

Sanding these curves just became a whole lot easier!

Before long I had all the curves on all the wood sanded.

Next I brought all my pieces to the table router and routed out a cove into the areas I wanted on each piece of wood.

Next I drilled some pocket holes into the backers.  I'll attach these to the shelf later.

Now it's time to add some wood filler to the spots that need it...

...and then sand each piece of wood.

Next I attached the backers to the shelves with pocket screws.

I centered the supports and drew guide lines... I could drill some holes for screws.

Then I attached the supports with glue and screws.

All 4 shelves are assembled, but not quite done yet.

I added 2 holes to the backers with countersinks.  This is where the shelves will mount onto the walls. 

Next I added wood filler to the screw hole on the shelf...

...and sanded when the filler dried.

Then I gave everything one more sanding, making sure to sand the cove-cut areas with sandpaper.  Then I cleaned the shelves and prepped them for staining.

My father wanted a light stain for these shelves, so I used some leftover Cherry stain.

When the stain was wiped and dry I applied some clear coat.

Then I sanded the shelves with steel wool when the clear coat was dry.

After a little clean up these shelves are done!

  When I went over my parent's house I hung them up for my Dad.

The boat below is one that he made about 20-25 years ago out of cardboard and balsa/bass wood.

The boat below is a model kit he assembled of one of his favorites, the Nautilus.

The boat below is another model kit of the Santa Maria, something he assembled before I was even born.

And finally another 25+ year old cardboard and balsa wood boat - this one we used a lot in our dungeon and dragon games.

I'm so happy that my father was ecstatic about these shelves.  I believe he now plans on making better bases for his ships now that they are on display in his work room rather than in the closet.

Once again, Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad!

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