Dining Room Hutch

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Project by Scottlj posted 10-22-2014 09:41 PM 1623 views 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This effort was probably my most ambitious to date.

It’s pretty much straight out of the $9.95 plan I got from here:

The only difference is I only built the top part as that’s all I needed to put on top of an existing sideboard, and I modified the sizes a little bit for our own needs. The general construction though, such as using splines in between the back slats, etc. are all per the plan.

It’s made out of C-Select pine. Total cost of wood was about $440. And I probably spent another $200 in other items including the stain and a couple of router bits, plus a 23ga pin nailer that I wanted anyway.

It came out pretty well if I do say so myself. Some key construction points and learnings:

  • I need to measure more like 5 times and cut once. I really screwed up one board and had to go back to the yard for another $10.75 worth of board I shouldn’t have needed.
  • I was trying to match the stain to a lower piece. We missed. It’s ok as I was able to correct it with a second coat. All I needed to do was add a little bit of black to the stain as it turned out. But I should have gotten more help in initial color selection as that could have turned out poorly. For the stain, I used General Finishing Gel Stain.
  • For the screws on the back, I went with Square Drive Finish screws from Rocker. They worked great. And they look great too; though no one will really be looking at the back of the thing.
  • To make the arch in the top piece, I did something a bit off plan that seemed to work out well. The plan called for using a thin strip of wood with a nail at center and on the sides to hold it in place, then draw a line, use a jigsaw and sand the result. This seemed a bit sloppy. So I followed the first couple of steps to rough cut with jigsaw. But then, I cut a thin strip that was just thick enough to take nails right though it’s width. I just nailed it with the curve in place into the back of the piece into which I wanted the smooth arch. This gave me a perfect surface for the bearing on a flush trim bit. So instead of sanding forever and trying to eyeball a good curve, the router gave me a wonderfully smooth and perfect curve. Oh… the problem with the original plan and why they said to sand it was that in order to hold the arch, the thin strip needed a nail on the inside of the arch. That wouldn’t work for a flush trim bit. Maybe there’s another way to do these sorts of things. I don’t know. I’ve got pics of the steps so maybe I’ll put them up.
  • I don’t own a miter saw. So to cut the slats and other parts to length, I build a quick cross cut sled and used an extension clamped onto the sled, and a small stop block clamped to the correct measure on the extension.
  • Heavy use was made of the WoodWhisperer’s idea of… I think he calls it “relative dimensioning.” That is, I used my core critical measurements that had to be right, (such as overall length, etc.), and made sure to get those right. Most everything else I didn’t care that much about 1/16th of an inch or so, as long as everything lined up. So while I tried to be precise with things like the stop block on the cross cuts for the height, it didn’t matter if I was off by a tiny bit, as long as the sides and the slats and everything came out exactly the same. And they did! So practically no sanding or minor corrections on those parts and the proof of the method came when everything was easy to square up on glue up.
  • Glue Up. Damn. Everything worked out, but I should have used more glue when attaching the sides to the end slates and lower/upper rails.
  • Clamps: I used pipe clamps, but I got some silver ones from Lowes, (not sure if they’re aluminium… I think they’re steel), but they’re not the black ones, so they didn’t leave any residue. When I bought them, I bought 10’ poles and they cut them and threaded the ends for me at 6’and 4’ So now I have both sizes as needed.
  • The molding was put on with glue and a 23ga pin nailer and that seemed to work out ok.

I think that’s about it. This is the most complicated / involved thing I’ve built to date so it was a lot of fun.

4 comments so far

View Scottlj's profile


89 posts in 2603 days

#1 posted 10-22-2014 09:43 PM

Here’s what I meant in terms of how I set up to trim the arch:

(Note: This was still somewhat of a mistake. I should have taken out more with the jigsaw first as hacking this out carefully with the router was a bit much and had to be done in steps. But I’d already nailed it all in place so I just went for it. Turned out ok, but next time I’ll be more careful.)

View Ken90712's profile


17909 posts in 4073 days

#2 posted 10-23-2014 08:48 AM

Nice work and congrats. Interesting info as well. Enjoy

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View gsimon's profile


1320 posts in 2998 days

#3 posted 10-23-2014 03:37 PM

great job – nice attention to detail

-- Greg Simon

View Scottlj's profile


89 posts in 2603 days

#4 posted 10-23-2014 10:10 PM

Thanks. My wife asked me why I went to all the effort with the slats and splines instead of just a simple back. (That is, slapping a piece of plywood on there.) But now she appreciates the overall finished product.

The hardest part – for me anyway – was the tenons on the top and bottom rails that hold the slats. This is because they also have rabbets to hold the slats so, (again possibly just for me), it was a harder part to get just right.

It’s hard to see the other grooves, etc. in here. And yes, the bottom of the side parts does show a little bit of chip out. This was even with using a decent 60 tooth Diablo blade on a smooth crosscut sled. With a little sanding and stain this came out ok though.

By the way, here’s how the Rockler screws look; though a bit hard to see in my pic. Someone – on here I think – suggested lining up the square slot screws ‘up and down’ so they look like diamonds. It’s a little bit more effort, but not much and it looks kind of nice. This, again, is just the back, but I wanted to see how it looked. If I need to put screws someplace where they’d be seen, I think I’d use this method.

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