Mission Style Medicine Cabinet & Plans To Build One

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Project by James E McIntyre posted 05-04-2019 08:36 PM 5900 views 19 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After finishing the cabinets in the guest bedroom / bathroom, I needed a medicine cabinet. There is no space for an in wall cabinet so I had to build a wall mounted cabinet for an outside facing wall.

It’s a large one at 29 1/4” high x 23 1/2” wide by (6 1/4” deep top plate size).

It’s made from QSWO with red oak interior and shelfs.

When I bought the white oak at Austin Hardwoods in Santa Ana, Ca. I forgot to pickup some 1/2” QSWO boards for the sides, top and bottom so I bought some 1/2” red oak at my locale Lowe’s and made some QSWO veneer for the sides and bottom using a tall feather board I made for my band saw. (One of my projects).

The knob and hinges are from which are in my opinion one of the best U.S. manufacturing’s of hardware.

I mix my own stains from high quality artist oil colors and finished with five coats of Minwax Poly Wipe.
When I stain QSWO I noticed that the rays are a lot less porous than the surrounding wood and absorb less stain and seem to be iridescent. When you wipe off the stain, most of it is removed from the rays making them brighter.

I included some plans as a guide. The cabinet can be made any size by adjusting the proportions and using woods such as, Sapele, Cherry, Mahogany etc.

Allow for less than 3/32” on the sides, top and bottom of the door to create an even space around it.

Inspired by Charles Renée Mackintosh, I added his square hole design at the top of the cabinet.

Bottom of the cabinet where the side veneer overlaps the bottom veneer.

I made a secret compartment under the bottom shelf that can be pulled out using a 5/8” finger hole that’s hidden behind the face frame.

Photographing a mirror is challenging. I set up an easel and placed one of my oil paintings on it to reflect that image. It looked better than my shop wall.

I had to place a 1/8”’+ shim under the 1/2” high parts to get biscuits centered. Plate jointers are setup for 3/4” wood.

I made a template from some cardboard to locate the holes for the squares to be cut on the mortise machine.
This technique allows you to just line up the tip of the auger in the awl mark and set the fence for all the rear or front mortises by sliding the piece to the next awl mark and clamping it.

I used dowels and a dowel jig I made to attach the top of the face frame to the sides. On this joint their stronger than biscuits. Arts Domino Fe$tool would have worked well here.

Cutting out the mortises for the hinges. I keep them in the vice with a backer board to protect the jaw from the chisel and to prevent the wood from splitting.

Using a 1/4” bit to test the dado size for the lock rabbit joint for the box of the cabinet.

Drilling the 1/4”holes for the shelf pins. Put a depth stop on your drill press and only drill deep enough for the pins to sit flush with the surface. This should be done before the veneer is applied.

Applying glue to the veneer. The glue must be tacky before ironing it on the sides and bottom of the cabinet box sections.
This has to be done before the box is assembled. After the veneer was ironed on I cut the bottom veneer to size and left the two sides longer. When the box was assembled I cut the two side veneers even with the bottom.
I didn’t show the process of ironing on the veneer to the cabinet sides. You can find videos of that on YouTube.

Gluing the face frame to the cabinet box using biscuits. Lining up the biscuits slots on the face frame and the box takes planing.

Cutting the square holes for the screw covers on the top piece. I used #6- 1 1/2” stainless steel screws and glue to attach the top.

Planing down the square screw plug covers on the the top. I set my plane blade to take off 1/128” to 1/64” to prevent damaging the plug.

Applying the stain.

After placing the beveled mirror in the door I ran a medium bead of clear silicone caulking around the side edges of the mirror. Then I placed the 1/4” oak panel on top of it.

Placing some of my plane collection on top for weight over night to insure a good bond.
I’ve seen some craftsman place the mirror in the dado slot of the door. I like to route out a space in the rear of the door and place the mirror in from the back, believing its easer to replace if it brakes.

Custom cut 1/4” beveled mirrors are expensive. This one cost about $100.00

If you need instructions on how to build the door check out, The YouTube vedio by Gregory Paolini titled: Make a Quick and Simple Cabinet Door, Soley On A Saw Stop. (Any table saw will work).


I used one of my paintings for the image in the mirror. Oil on linen 30” x 40”.

Thanks for visiting!

-- James E McIntyre

16 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26267 posts in 4217 days

#1 posted 05-04-2019 08:49 PM

Great looking cabinet. It is very attractive and well designed.

cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View AandCstyle's profile


3296 posts in 3369 days

#2 posted 05-04-2019 08:51 PM

James, I always enjoy your eye candy. Thanks for sharing.

-- Art

View socrbent's profile


1043 posts in 3381 days

#3 posted 05-04-2019 09:46 PM

I love the look and am in awe of your craftsmanship.

-- socrbent Ohio

View pottz's profile


17417 posts in 2096 days

#4 posted 05-04-2019 09:57 PM

beautiful cabinet and well crafted.also thanks for taking the time to show the process.nice job.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Jerry's profile


3488 posts in 2760 days

#5 posted 05-05-2019 12:13 AM

Amazing, beautiful, 500 stars!!!!! I absolutely love this and am absolutely going to build it! Congrats on a stunning piece of art.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

1293 posts in 2404 days

#6 posted 05-05-2019 12:16 AM

Thanks Jim, Art, Socrbent, Pottz & Jerry. Your comments mean a lot.

Art. I mentioned you in the part about dowels.

-- James E McIntyre

View Kelster58's profile


759 posts in 1652 days

#7 posted 05-05-2019 12:21 AM

Very Nice…..You did a GREAT job!

-- K. Stone “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

View TheSawDustWhisperer's profile


134 posts in 1233 days

#8 posted 05-05-2019 04:25 AM

Thanks for sharing this great build.
Like the Mackintosh touch.

-- One of these days I’m going to build a dust collection system. Dusty Lungs

View JimYoung's profile


409 posts in 2699 days

#9 posted 05-05-2019 01:27 PM

Nice design, classic A&C.

-- -Jim, "Nothing says poor craftsmanship more than wrinkles in your duck tape"

View splintergroup's profile


5255 posts in 2334 days

#10 posted 05-05-2019 01:41 PM

Another wonderful piece James!

It just looks “right” and the finish really does justice to the QSWO. I assume your 23-1/2 width means you’ll have some wall studs to attach it into?

Great photo array and write up too!, nice to see some of your process (and planes 8^)

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

1293 posts in 2404 days

#11 posted 05-05-2019 05:51 PM

Thanks Kester, Dusty Lungs, Jim Young, & Splinter Group.

Splinter, I did find the studs. I hung it, took it down, added top, stain, finish and the door.
Now it’s time to hang it permanently.

About the planes. A few years ago I went on a buying spree on E Bay and bought about 9 of these old things,
from #7’s to #3. The ironic thing is that with all the money I spent on some of the planes, one of my favorites is a #5
Is spent only $19.00 on.

-- James E McIntyre

View therealSteveN's profile


7997 posts in 1686 days

#12 posted 05-05-2019 08:59 PM

I know it’s a great post, at least to me when I have added it to my favorites, based solely on the pics it includes to help other on their journey to make such a project. I hadn’t read a word, and it was in my Fav’s.

Spectacular piece, post, and pics on this. Take a bow.

Thank you for sharing, and congrats on your 3.

-- Think safe, be safe

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

1293 posts in 2404 days

#13 posted 05-05-2019 09:41 PM

Thank You Steven. Your comment makes all the work very rewarding.

-- James E McIntyre

View edapp's profile


347 posts in 2542 days

#14 posted 05-06-2019 12:24 PM


View BurlyBob's profile


8971 posts in 3377 days

#15 posted 05-06-2019 02:46 PM

Outstanding! Who doesn’t love QSWO?

showing 1 through 15 of 16 comments

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