A couple months ago i finished up working on a couple humidors. I made one for myself and one for my Dad. They are made out of Walnut and Maple with Spanish cedar lining the inside. My Dad and I do a lot of backpacking so i made a “hiker” on top of his and made a woodworking hand plane for the top of mine. I originally did a Bobcat for the top of my Dad’s but i didn’t like the way it turned out so i just put that side on the inside of the box. They turned out pretty good and hold about 50 cigars.
As a Christmas present to my Mom i told her i would redo her pantry. Unfortunately, i didn’t get a before picture but the existing pantry was basically just MDF boards that were nailed into cleats on the wall. My Mom cooks a lot so has a lot of stored food which was causing nearly every shelf to bow and lean forward. I’m very surprised the shelves didn’t break or rip off the wall. Therefore i needed to make the new pantry very strong. After reviewing plans with my Mom we decided on building it similar to kitchen cabinet construction. The new pantry would have upper and lower cabinets with a small space between in which i would add a counter top. These cabinets would cover the entire back and right wall of the pantry. All of the internal shelves of the cabinets would be adjustable. My Mom wanted it to be white and easy to clean so she decided to make it out of Melamine. Once i scribbled out some plans and picked up the materials I was ready to begin…
I decided to take a little bit of time off work after the holidays this past January and used that time to complete most of this project. I made all the cabinets in my shop before taking them over to my parents house for installation. In order to make it easier to install and transport, i made them in 6 different sections. The uppers and lowers both had a left,right, and corner cabinet section. The corner cabinet was definitely the trickiest because of the angles.
I started by making the lower cabinets. I cut the sides, tops, and bottoms for each cabinet. Then i drilled all of the shelf pin holes with the Woodcraft shelf pin drilling jig. After drilling all the holes i then cut grooves and dados into the pieces for the joinery. The cabinets had either 1 or 2 vertical supports in them for additional shelf support. These verticals sat in grooves in the top and bottom. I decided on going with dados and grooves so that I would have a better surface to glue the pieces together. Glue does not stick well on melamine so you need remove the laminate surface so wood is glued to wood. The dado stack on the table saw makes easy work of this and also makes assembly much easier. I also reinforced each joint with screws for extra strength since i knew how much stuff would be stored in these. I pre-drilled all the screw holes to eliminate tear out and bulging inside the melamine. Melamine has a tendency to bulge out a little where the screw goes in if you don’t pre-drill the holes. Once the cabinets were assembled, i cut the shelves to fit and added the edge banding to cover the melamine edges. This was the first time i have used iron on edge banding and it went pretty simple once i got the hang of it. I did more ironing on these cabinets than i have done in my entire life. Once the banding was attached i cleaned up the surfaces with denatured alcohol to remove any marks i had made on the cabinets during construction and applying the edge banding. The lower cabinets were now finished. I made a quick toe kick that the cabinets sit on and delivered the lowers to my parents house. My shop is too small to make all six sections at once. Once those were delivered I repeated the same steps to make the upper cabinets.
When i was finished with the upper and lower cabinets and we had installed them in the pantry i then began working on the “L” shaped counter top. It is constructed out of alder plywood with solid alder edge banding. I couldn’t make the entire counter as a solid piece since both sides are around 6′. I made the left side and the corner out of one piece and added an additional piece to finish the counter on the right. It is glued and pocket screwed together to form a solid surface. Then i added the alder edge banding that i cut from an alder board and glued it on the edge. I stained the counter top using the same stain as the trim in my parents house and applied about 6 or 7 coats of General Finishes High Performance as the top coat. After it was dry i delivered it to my parents house. This is where the fun began… For some reason i thought we would be able to just carry it into the pantry and slide it into position. I was wrong… Since we had already installed the cabinets there wasn’t enough room to bring the counter top in and drop it into place so we ended up having to remove one of the top cabinets and one of the lower cabinets in order to angle the counter top into place. Of course my Mom had already loaded up the cabinets so we had to empty them out first as well. Fortunately, once we had the cabinets removed it slide into place as a very tight fit.
At this point the pantry was nearing complete but i had also agreed to make a couple drawers/trays for the left lower cabinet. I made the drawers out of alder using box joints for the joinery with a 1/4″ alder ply bottom. I installed the drawer glides and installed them into the opening. I also installed a wire basket kit into the right lower cabinet. I had designed the opening to fit the basket kit my Mom purchased.
The pantry remodel was now complete. It took a considerable amount of time to complete but it was a good learning experience to prepare me to build my own cabinets in the future. This same type of cabinet build can be altered to be used for closet organization or add doors and they would work as kitchen cabinets. Once you learn how to build boxes with shelves the possibilities are endless…
Lower Cabinets – panoramic
Full view through the door
Drawers/trays on full extension soft close drawer glides
Counter top before applying stain
Counter top with stain before top coat
Finished Counter top
Upper cabinets – panoramic
This past weekend I installed a new cabinet in my laundry room. I made this cabinet out of scrap melamine from a Pantry Remodel i have been working on. (I’ll have a post on that soon…) The laundry cabinet has 3 columns of adjustable shelves. I made two shelves for each section but only used 1 on the left section so i have a leftover shelf. This new cabinet will be great to store cleaning supplies, rags, etc…
I’ve been thinking lately on a better way to organize my Keurig K-cups so they aren’t just rolling around in the kitchen drawer. So i decided to build this drawer organizer that will hold 19 k-cups and 3 creamers. I made it out of some scrap 1/2″ oak plywood and some leftover alder. It works pretty good but its not the most efficient use of space in the drawer. I should have drilled the holes closer together. I’ll likely make another version of this in the future but this one works ok for now.
In this project i decided to re-build my spare parts cabinet. I wanted to use the existing “cans” that i got when we cleaned out my grandmother’s house but also wanted to add additional storage. Since i had a bunch of cigar boxes laying around i decided to make the other half of the storage cabinets spaces large enough for cigar boxes.
The cabinet was built using maple plywood and face framed with some leftover cedar from the Pergola build. I was originally planning to leave it as bare wood but then once i was finished i decided to apply some Brown Mahogany gel stain so it matches the rest of my shop furniture. This is definitely something you should finish before its completed as applying the stain in all the individual cubbies is very time consuming. I hung the cabinet on the wall with a french cleat.
For Christmas, my mom asked me to build an aggravation game so she could gift it to my nephew. So i decided to make two of them. I decided to make one that was somewhat fancy, and another that was just the board. The fancy version was made out of an aspen board and edged with alder and includes maple splines in the miter joints. The “A” inlay was done with alder as well. The simple version is just the aspen board with a chamfered edge. All the holes were drilled with a bullnose router bit using a template i created to drill the holes precisely. I also included a long track to store the marbles. This was created using a router bit from Rockler.
My mother wanted to add a few hooks in her closet and asked me to put a few hooks on a board for her. So i decided to make one for myself as well. This is a very simple project. Basically all you need is a board and some store bought hooks. I cut the board down to size, added a chamfer to the edges and sanded them down. To give it a little more style I added some spacers with 45 degree bevels on the edges between the main board and the hooks. I then stained and applied a few coats of spray lacquer to the racks.