Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The One-Day Storage Cabinet - Part II: Complete

Mostly complete.

This cabinet was a lot of fun to build. It did wind up going a tiny bit over my budgeted time allowance of one day, but that was expected. Wasn't it?

Monday I started early and was excited to get this quick and dirty project over with. I spent some well-used time laying out everything to decide the dimensions of the cabinet. The board I had for the top, which came from the store at supposedly 800mm x 500mm x 28mm needed to be squared up. Once that was done, I had the width dimension for my cabinet.

After lunch, I wound up taking a quick power nap that wound up lasting about three hours. Ooops! I suppose I shouldn't have lain awake half the night thinking about this project.

Due to this delay, I didn't finish on time. By dinner time, I had cut the dadoes and fit the two shelves.
End of Day 1

The positive part of all that thinking was I decided to screw together the carcass with only enough fasteners to hold it together until it was painted. I could then knock the nails in without doing anything too weird to clean the nail heads off.

Next up was dovetailing a rail in the front and sliding a rail cut into a groove into the back. These two boards seem overly wide for their purpose, but I figured I would save time ripping them to width. I forgot that later on I needed one of these boards for something else, but too late now!

I was careful to lay out where the nails would go at this point. I drilled tapered pilot holes for the nails everywhere they would go, but I only put in a few temporary screws to hold everything together until later.
End of Day 2
Day three was about the back. I spent a bit of time sharpening the blade on a vintage French side-bead molder I've been lugging around. I'm not sure I like it, but it will be fine for this project. I used my home-made plane with a nailed on fence and a chisel for a blade to cut these ship laps. It was then just a matter of drilling pilot holes and nailing them to the shelves. I chose to clench the nails for fastening to the rear rail. I wasn't sure of a better way to do that.
End of Day 3
I finished the carcass and painted it with some commercial chalk paint I found at a store nearby. The color is graphite. After painting over the screws and all, I drove nails into the holes that had no fasteners before backing out the screws and replacing them with nails. The screws I used were only about an inch and a half long, and the nails almost three inches. This seemed to work perfectly.
End of Day 4
The next day I hung the door panels to the carcass. I wasn't sure the best way to fit and adjust everything. With pocket hinges there are all kinds of adjustments you can make to ensure the door hangs right, but with barrel hinges you only get one chance. It dawned on me that since my door panels were a little oversize, I could hang them as is, then trim to size and everything should look perfect. Lucky me, it worked!
End of Day 5
Now I have to attach battens to the doors to ensure they stay flat over time. This was what I needed one of those wider boards for that I used earlier for the front and rear rails! I decided instead to use some air dried sycamore that I have. It required that I cut it to length, then I resaw it for pieces about 7/8" thick. Clenching nails always makes so much noise, I feel sorry for the neighbors. I did one door, then decided to leave the other one for Monday when I could blame the noise on the contractors in another apartment.
End of Day 6
Finally, it is done. Mostly. The doors have battens attached with clenched nails, and the top has a nice chamfer and the decision was made to leave it a natural wood finish rather than painted. This little cabinet really dominates a room since it is so dark in color. The thought was the top would lighten it up a bit. I finished the top with a coat of BLO, then applied some home-made paste wax over the entire cabinet. I really like the look.
End of Day 7
I'm still thinking about knobs for the door handles. Nails wound up in exactly the place that I wanted to put the knobs, and the cabinet is a bit too rustic for the modern knobs we bought. I'm thinking some old-fashioned porcelain knobs would be just the thing to finish it off.

I'm happy with the result, even though it did go past my deadline a bit.


  1. Very nice piece of work, Brian, a well made cabinet that'll last. With dovetails, even. Great idea for keeping paint off the nails. But no bull image to coordinate with the DTC?

    1. Good idea. Too bad it's finished already.


  2. Ha ha I was wondering what was happening with the ONE day build :-)
    I got a magazine full of one day project for the back yard...guess what: one day my a.. :-)

    Nice looking cabinet, I am sure the Frau is glad you build it instead of buying some termite barf board flat pack cabinet.
    It should also endure time immemoriam...

    Bob, working on a one day (??) yard project

    1. Haha, thanks, Bob!

      One day you'll get to that yard project.

  3. Very nice.
    The nails really do work as both decoration and structural elements.

    1. Thanks, Sparks. These nails hold like crazy.

  4. Forgot to ask, did you get it done in 24 hours of actual work time? That could still count as a day, right?

  5. The cabinet looks great Brian! Everything takes longer than anticipated, at least for me. I do admire your giving it a try though. Now you have a better understanding of how long it takes you to tackle these tasks.

    You also must have some pretty understanding neighbors...thats a bunch of hammering you just went through.

    1. Hi Greg!

      I think this cabinet could be built a lot faster than I did it. There are a few specialty tools that would have sped things up that I didn't have, and there were (as always) a few difficulties along the way I didn't anticipate, like the fact that pretty much none of the boards I purchased came with truly square crosscuts or uniform widths. But, by far the biggest slower downer was my standard of quality being too high. As much as I wanted to, I couldn't use slap a joint together and call it good enough, it had to be tight and smooth. I did learn a lot, though, and many of my time saving ideas paid off. I bet if I built another one, I could do it twice as fast.

  6. I like the texture that the nails lend to the doors on such a simple design. Very nice.

  7. I'm sure nobody notice the extra time it took....
    Based in my own experience LOL

    It turned out a great looking piece of furniture!

    1. Well, I did get some well deserved mocking on Instagram.