Shop Cabinets #2: Wall Cabinets Done

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Blog entry by JohnMcClure posted 04-08-2021 07:59 PM 258 reads 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Initial Planning: Wall cabinets Part 2 of Shop Cabinets series no next part

The wall cabinets have been finished for quite a while, but I worked fast and in a frenzy and never finished the blog. So for the record, here goes:
I ended up throwing much of the design in Part 1 (link) out the window… because of windows!

-Build cabinets in 8’ (ish) sections to reduce materials and labor

It turns out I had just under 6’ from the east wall to the first window; then around 13’ between windows; then exactly 6’ to the next window. So consistent cabinet widths were out!
-Hang wall cabinets on French cleats

There was too much redundancy with the French cleat idea. And with the dedicated cabinet wall I had in mind, absolutely no need for it – the cabinets won’t need to be installed or removed more than once.
-Don’t build all 30’ of desired cabinets at once

But why the heck not? Knowing I’d be snowed in for the entire week, and having no idea I’d lose power for much of that time, I bought all the plywood I’d need and managed to make most cuts before power went out.
-Use sliding doors to reduce materials and labor on doors
-As much as possible, use repetitive setups to minimize labor
-Avoid tricky joinery

I definitely stuck with those two!

I decided to use ledger boards as the primary load-bearing mechanism. This eliminated the need for cabinet backs; my backless cabinets would sit directly against the drywall.
I drew a side view sketch on a scrap of paper, calculated a couple of dimensions, and got to work.

The tops and dividers are 1/2”; the bottoms and end panels are 3/4”. A lot of 20” ripping and I’m not comfortable doing whole sheets on the TS, so I used the track saw and got great results. I made a “jig” (more of a story stick?) to set the saw track at 20” consistenly every time:

Glued and nailed cleats onto the side panels:

Cut recess for the ledger board in the divider panels:

Putting together the 6’ cabinets wasn’t too tough:

Story sticks to hang the ledger boards level, at the right height, without a helper (Picture is rotated, sorry):

Helpers to test the structural integrity:

The 13’ cabinet section was a bit tougher:

The top and bottom sections required splices, so I arranged two things:
a) the splice must occur directly above a divider
b) the top must be spliced above a different divider than the bottom.

Cleated up some dividers to support the splice:

Lifting it was a challenge. First I nailed on some waste boards as structural support/gripping points, then began to walk it up one end at a time, resting it on successively higher objects:

Still not high enough:

Had a buddy come over and help me lift it onto the ledger board:

The next project was to put on sliding doors. That’s done too, but I don’t have pictures at the moment. I’ll update this or add an entry when I get the chance.

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

2 comments so far

View Andybb's profile


3251 posts in 1659 days

#1 posted 04-08-2021 08:26 PM

Verry verry nice! Something I need to do.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7269 posts in 1638 days

#2 posted 04-08-2021 09:29 PM

Isn’t it nice when things just go smoothly, even if it’s not exactly how you planned?

-- Dave - Santa Fe

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