LumberJocks Woodworking Forum banner
  • Please post in our Community Feedback thread for help with the new forum software! If you are having trouble logging in, please Contact Us for assistance.

Project Information

October 30, 2011
For about a year now, I've been interested in trying my hand at building a cabinet. This summer (2011) while moving things around in the laundry room we discovered the particleboard floor cabinet in this room was beginning to crumble.

My answer…

Make another from particle board!!! Sorry LJs. Its my first cabinet. I'm not going to shed the bucks for a sheet of 3/4" 11-ply baltic birch on my first attempt. However, I did want to work with prefinished sheet goods for the first time. I decided to go with a 3/4" melamine skinned with Norwegian Maple.

I quickly built the carcass.

I was pretty happy with the tight jointery.

I have made faceframes before so I went right to the solid maple to build the actual faceframe with pocket screw joints. (Seen below)

Many weeks passed as I was shopping for the right cabinet-maker's router bit set for the doors. My generic bits finally arrived in the mail. I first made a prototype out of pine. I'm using most of the same dimensions as the cabinet I am replacing… however, when building the door, I forgot I widened the cabinet by 1 inch. See the skinny little door below. Oh well. That's what prototypes are for right?

Next I begin the actual door stiles and rails out of solid maple. Here I learned a little bit about snipe on my router table. One set of opposing joints are open

while the other pair of opposing joints are tight.

My router table fence is one single piece for the in-feed and the out-feed. I was able to fix this on the second door by clamping a single lining of cardboard (cut from a Eggos box) to the fence on the out-feed side of the bit. This prevented the work piece from falling into the bit as the tail of the work piece left the in-feed fence.

Since this is for a laundry room, I might just wood fill the crack. On the brighter side, my measuring paid off in the long run as both doors meet perfectly in the middle with a 1/32" gap covering the wider faceframe.

1/1/12 - OK. Today I finished the flat panels. I had to make a detour and build a panel cutting jig. Its worked ok for this project but I would like to build a slightly wider panel sled as a keeper.

1/2/12 - Assembled, glued-up and hinged up while waiting on dye to arrive from Rockler.

1/4/12 - Only two days of Christmas Break left. Today I built the drawer for the cabinet. I was excited to use my new Portal Cable router! My plan was to make a test draw from pine and the final drawer from Aspen. However, my test drawer came out pretty OK and the pine doesn't appear half bad. Since this is a laundry room cabinet and not part of our kitchen, I plan on keeping and using the pine version.

The dovetail jig (Harbor Freight) was a little picky to set as usual. I am alway surprised just how close I need to bring the flare of the dovetail bit to the collar of the guide bushing to make this work. Fortunately its not a brass bushing so a little cut into the bushing shouldn't hurt anything other than my woodworking ego.

2/2/12 - Groundhog Day

I really don't like finishing. It seems every time I have a project glued up and ready for final finishing, I blow it with the stain and/or top coat.

(so far)

First I added 6 coats of Transtint dye. (Left door) I'm a first-time dye-er so I used regular water as my solvent. I suppose I could have made a stronger dye mix and saved on the number of coats. Live and learn.

The right door has one additional coat of Olympic antique cherry oil based gel stain.

Tonight I've been spraying lacquer coats. I'm using Watco rattle cans. Boy oh boy the garage STINKS tonight! I planned on building the lacquer up with gloss and the top coating with satin. However, so far I really like the sheen. I might just leave it gloss.

Next, I plan to rub it out with a light wet sand and finish with wax and steel wool. I've never done this step before either.

February 23, 2012

Project complete today. The trashy cabinet I ripped out looked like this on the bottom.

Here's the final product. I've got a little dry wall dust clean up in the corner but you get the idea.


This project took an incredibly long time but the process was enjoyable. I finally feel confident about staining and finishing a project. I am a big fan of lacquer now! I am now gaining interested in finishing with BLO on my next project. Hope you enjoyed the photos.



1,945 Posts
That's a beautiful job, Eric, really looks good. Keep the bottom slightly off the floor so it stays dry and it will last forever.

282 Posts
Thanks Joe! Having a squared-up table saw blade really helps. Thanks for the advice last summer.

118,619 Posts
Got er done good job.

2,723 Posts
That looks great, you should be confident now to try getting away from particle board. It has it's place, my out feed table is particle board.nice job