Mudroom Builtin with Bookmatched Bench and Shelves

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Project by pendledad posted 07-21-2014 02:49 PM 4653 views 10 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The builtin is made of 3 sheets of 3/4” plywood, 3 sheets of 3/8” beadboard plywood, 30 bd. ft of hard maple, and lots of poplar. The shelves and bench are bookmatched hard maple, finished with BLO, and some oil based poly. Each locker has a high nailer strip and a low nailer strip which will be fitted with some hooks for hats and jackets. The bottom of the builtin is open to the floor, which I know doesn’t yield the greatest stability, but it was required. We have a 5×10’ electric radiant heat which runs right under that. I wanted to ensure the heat wasn’t being blocked by some bottom pieces of plywood. And my wife wanted to see the tiles instead of a toe-kick style cabinet like in a bathroom or kitchen.

This is a project of many firsts. First builtin. First trip to a real lumber yard. First time working with rough stock. First time working with hardwoods. First time bookmatching. First time with dado blade. The list goes on.

I also bought some tools for this project: 12” dewalt miter saw, rol-air quiet compressor, hitatchi nail guns. I couldn’t have finished this project this summer without those tools.

The first trip to the lumber yard and I scored on some ~2 1/4” thick by 8ft hard maple boards $4.99/bf. I said to my wife, I could try to resaw this in half and get a 1” thick bench that is bookmatched. She loved the idea, so I bought 2 boards. 1 board would be for practice and bookmatched shelves, the other board would be the bench. Here is a shot of a practice resaw:


And opened up:

With that practice, I went ahead with the full 8’ resaw. I called on my friend for some help because the hard maple was significantly heavy. It was a bit slow, but we chugged along and made a reasonable resaw that with a few passes in the planer yielded this:

And finished:

And close up to see some cool knots/grain (Still drying, hence it looks wet):

I’m posting this a little out of order, because I built the bench almost last. I had to build the cabinets/lockers/bench structure before anything else so I could size the pieces to fit. The rest of the project was plywood work. Dados/rabbets (all my first time) went together pretty easily. I bought a compressor and a couple nailguns for this project too, they made assembly so much easier.

The faceframes are 1×2” poplar that I milled completely myself from rough 4/4 boards. I used the bandsaw for the thin rips because I can’t use my blade guard and rip < 2” on my table saw. I didn’t get a perfectly clean cut, but the 1/2” timberwolf blade and a trip to the jointer fixed it right up. Here are all the pieces milled for the faces:

The fifth picture in the post is the face frames 1/2 installed. They add so much beef to the look of the plywood, my wife really liked how it came out.

Then came the dreaded part … PAINT. I used 2 coats of oil based primer. Then painted it with a nice sherwin williams trim paint that we used in the rest of the mudroom so it would match. It came out ok, not perfectly smooth, but this is a mudroom, and the kids are already smashing it with toys and shoes. Here is a shot mid way:

Notice that blue painters tape? It wasn’t enough. I should have spent the hour cutting newspaper to match the lockers on the bench so no paint flecks got down onto it. I ended up resanding the bench and putting another coat of poly on it because the paint was too hard to scrape up. Lesson learned.

My favorite part of the whole project was having my son come help me with the “puzzle” game. When it was time to bookmatch the shelves, I told him to line up the pieces to make the puzzle match. When he matched them, I let him mark the pieces so I knew how to glue them up. He ended up drawing some huge smiley faces which took a while to sand, but he really had fun helping out:

I am definitely not a trim carpenter, but I felt pretty good with the results of this builtin. It is obvious that my passion is in the woodworking (bookmatched shelves/bench) and not the fine details of trim and moldings. Luckily my wife likes the clean rectangular lines of the face frames and she requested no crown and no trim around the hanger strips in the back of the lockers.

Thanks for looking.

Here is what it looks like when you install some hooks and the wife wants to get organized:

2 comments so far

View ChrisK's profile


2053 posts in 4156 days

#1 posted 07-21-2014 03:56 PM

Nice looking built in.

-- Chris K

View DocSavage45's profile


9048 posts in 3917 days

#2 posted 07-21-2014 04:48 PM

Great start. But fine woodworking is in the details. Great helper! LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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