Bathroom Vanity

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Project by Chris Campbell posted 07-22-2012 02:33 AM 1663 views 3 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch

We wanted to put a new vanity with a vessel sink in our bathroom. However, like many old houses, the bathroom is really tiny, so we couldn’t find anything commercially that would fit. Great excuse to get back into the shop!

This piece is made of birch and birch ply. The face frame, door frame, top and back are solid birch, the cabinet is birch ply. I wanted to use birch because I had a wall cabinet that I built back in middle school (around 1985) that I found out is also birch (see Need Help with Wood ID). The design is my own, again to complement the wall cabinet.

Bottom shelf of cabinet is dadoed into sides about 3/8” deep, and there is a subtop of ply that is rabbeted into the sides also 3/8” deep, so I got a basic carcase and then laid the finish top over that.

Finish is two coats of shellac sealer and then 3 coats of polyurethane wiping varnish. Had a hard time with that – I didn’t thin the shellac but used it right out of the can, and it seemed like it just started to form drips and then dried.

Had to make a few changes on the fly, and I am finally starting to learn how to fix some mistakes in the middle of a project. For example, I glued the face frame up not quite flat, so that when I laid it on the carcase, there was a significant gap all up the left side. Fortunately, I had some very thin strips left from ripping the face frame material to size (about 1/16” thick) and the Freud Premier Fusion blade (fantastic blade, by the way) left a clean face on those. I just put the strip in between the face frame and the carcase, glued it up, and you have to really look to notice it’s there.

Also for the “lessons learned” file – I would add a preamble to the old aphorism “measure twice, cut once”. Preface all that with “do your math a couple of times, and with a calculator.” You may notice that the door had a rather wide rabbet on the stiles, but not the rails.

Funny story – I was going to use 3/8” inset hinges for the door, and make a 3/8” rabbet all around, which means I’d have to make the door about 3/4” wider than the opening to get it to fit right. Measured the opening, which came in a 8” wide and 21” tall. My door stiles and rails are 2 1/2” wide, so I thought I had it – the door rails should be 5” wide. Got it all glued up, and the door was 10” wide. So, rather than make a whole new door, I just put a wide rabbet up and down, and used a no-mortise hinge for it. Oh well, I think it turned out okay anyway. Thanks for listening, and if anyone has some tips on applying shellac (I don’t have the facilities to spray) it would be much appreciated.

-- Chris, Minneapolis

1 comment so far

View Tom Godfrey's profile

Tom Godfrey

488 posts in 3506 days

#1 posted 07-25-2012 11:38 AM

Now that’s a super nice job on the bathroom. It has class and I can see you have put a lot of time and effort to make what not only works for you but it has class and style.
Going to put this in my favorite. May just use your idea later on. I have a bathroom that I am doing for someone and not be surprised if you happen to see something like you did.
Take care and have a great week

-- Tom Godfrey Landrum South Carolina ([email protected])

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