How to Build a Hobby Center Part 1 or 2

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If you or someone in your family enjoys a hobby or activity, whether it’s computing, scrapbooking, drawing or anything else that involves pleasant time seated and engaged in your avocation, you deserve to have a special place set aside for that activity.


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If you or someone in your family enjoys a hobby or activity, whether it’s computing, scrapbooking, drawing or anything else that involves pleasant time seated and engaged in your avocation, you deserve to have a special place set aside for that activity. And here, it is important to note, “set aside” does not mean “spread out on the kitchen table between family meals.” A dedicated spot with loads of storage, a pleasing appearance and an efficient footprint can all be obtained with this corner hobby center provides the things you need to spend time on your activity, not managing it.
In this corner hobby center, upper and lower cabinets are combined to deliver excellent and attractive storage options. At the same time, some on-site carpentry creates a stable frame for a spacious but not overpowering L-shaped desk. The laminate desktop configuration provides not just room to spread out a project or stage supplies left and right, but also provides three access points (center, left, and right) for you to either move around a large project or for others to pull up a chair and help or just watch.

Cutting List

Base cabinets
24 x 34 1⁄2"

Upper cabinets
18 x 30"

Corner cabinet
24 x 30"

Wall cleat
1 1⁄2 x 2 1⁄2 x 40"
2 x 3

Diagonal cleat
1 1⁄2 x 2 1⁄2 x 59"
2 x 3

From: Complete Guide to Custom Shelves & Built-Ins, 978-1-58923-303-4

What You'll Need


Tape measure
Level or laser level
Miter saw


(2) Base cabinets
(2) Upper cabinets
(1) Corner cabinet
(2) 8 ft. 2 x 3
(1) Countertop
Drywall or deck screws
Finish nails
Finishing materials


Step 1

Lay Out Upper Cabinets

Start with the upper cabinets first, then install the base units. Once the bases are set, frame the desktop supports and install the countertop. The desktop is laminate and while you can make it yourself, working with laminates is a specialty trade and it is often much easier to order the unit and have it delivered pre-assembled. Locate and strike the level line for the uppers 52 1/2" above the floor. Project each line 42" out from the wall corner.

Step 2

Attach Upper Cabinet Support

Locate and mark the wall studs below the level line. Fasten a temporary ledger to the wall studs. Set it below the level line to support the cabinets during installation.

Step 3

Lay Out the Bases & Desktop

Measuring along the top of the base molding from the corner, make marks at 42" and 60" on the base trim. This is the location of each base cabinet. Use a combination square and mark square lines down to the floor. The 18" of base/shoe molding between the lines will be removed to accept the base cabinets. In the corner, measure up 34 1/2" (the height of the base cabinet) from the floor and mark each side of the wall.

Step 4

Plan Ahead

If you can pre-gang and install the upper cabinets in one shot, this will provide a quicker, more accurate installation, but you’ll need helpers to do this. It helps to transfer the location of the wall studs to the insides of the cabinets for future reference so you’re not searching for the studs while you’re holding cabinets aloft.

Note: If you have a carpet floor treatment, it may be wise to place a base cabinet in position and use a 2-ft. level to transfer its height to the wall. Remember, carpet and pad will compress some once the cabinet has been loaded with items so apply a little pressure when doing this. Once height is established, strike a level line 61 1/2" out on each wall.
The reason to strike the line out to 61 1/2-inches is because the desktop extends 1 1/2" beyond the outside edge of the base unit. Along the level line on each wall, make a mark at 42" and strike a plumb-line down to the base molding. This is the inside edge of the base cabinet and the outside edge of the desktop ledger board. Locate the wall studs and mark them along the top edge of the level line.

Step 5

Install the Uppers

If you are installing one cabinet at a time, start with the center cabinet in the corner. Set it on the ledger board and then drive screws into the wall at stud locations. Repeat for each end cabinet.

Step 6

Complete Upper Cabinets

Before fully sinking the wall screws, clamp the cabinets together, drill pilot holes in the cabinet sides or face frames, and screw them together. Complete the process by driving all wall screws tightly against the cabinet back. Add cabinet doors.

Step 7

Install the Base Units

Remove the base molding already marked using a pull-saw. Position the base units against the wall at the layout lines and then shim and fasten the base cabinets to the wall studs.



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