Room Divider Part 2 of 3

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A room divider, like a partition wall, separates one large room into two usable spaces, each with its own specific function. But unlike a partition wall, a room divider adds storage space to your home, while letting you retain the open feeling of a larger room.

 

Difficulty Level:
Time to Complete:
Estimated Cost:
Continue to Step 1

Overview

A room divider, like a partition wall, separates one large room into two usable spaces, each with its own specific function. But unlike a partition wall, a room divider adds storage space to your home, while letting you retain the open feeling of a larger room.
Room dividers commonly are used to separate a large kitchen/dining area into two different “rooms.” Adding a pass-through and overhanging countertop, as in the project shown here, creates a casual dining area.
In the design featured here, the room divider is built in two main sections: the base cabinet with countertop, and the upper shelf unit. The two sections are joined by a floor-to-ceiling plywood framework to create one attractive built-in.
A room divider lends itself to personal touches, like mounting a wine rack and stemware racks on the underside of the shelf unit to make a convenient dry bar.
The overhanging countertop gives this room divider an added dimension as a convenient dining surface located near the food preparation area of the kitchen. The cabinets on the kitchen side of the room divider also provide accessible storage space for pots, pans, and kitchenware. The open shelves in the upper half of the room divider are ideal for displaying glassware or collectibles.
We designed this room divider with a built-up plywood countertop that has a polyurethane varnish finish. This is an economical and perfectly appropriate solution. But if you’re looking to spice up the design a bit, consider replacing the countertop with a higher-end countertop material, such as granite or solid-surfacing. You’ll be amazed at how much difference a few well-chosen design highlights can make in the overall appearance of the project.
From: Complete Guide to Custom Shelves & Built-Ins, 978-1-58923-303-4

What You'll Need

Tools:

Stepladder
Pencil
Level
Tape measure
Plumb bob
Framing square
Router with 3/4" straight bit
Circular saw or table saw
Handscrew clamps
Bar clamps
Drill/driver and bits
Screwdriver
Hammer
Nail set
Putty knife

Materials:

Wood glue
Finish nails (1", 1/4", 2")
Screws (1", 1 1/4", 2", 2 1/2", 3")
Shims
3/4" hardwood strips
Countertop trim
Shelf-edge trim
Pin-style shelf supports
Finishing materials
Door hardware
5) 2 x 4" x 8 ft. pine
5) 1 x 4" x 8 ft. oak
4) 1 x 2" x 8 ft. oak
1) 1/4 x 4 ft. x 8 ft. oak plywood
4) 3/4 x 4 ft. x 8 ft. oak plywood

Cutting List
Part
No.
Desc.
Size
Material

A
4
Top and sole plates
71 1⁄4"
2 x 4

B
4
Sole plate cross braces
15"
2 x 4

C
1
Outer end panel
95 1⁄2" x 15"
3⁄4" oak plywood

D
1
Inner end panel
91" x 15"
3⁄4" oak plywood

E
3
Base panels
22" x 14 3⁄4"
3⁄4" oak plywood

F
3
Cabinet shelves
21 3⁄4" x 14 3⁄4"
3⁄4" oak plywood

G
6
Cabinet risers
30" x 14 3⁄4"
3⁄4" oak plywood

H
1
Cabinet back panel
32" x 70"
1⁄4" oak plywood

I
2
Countertop panels
70 1⁄2" x 24"
3⁄4" oak plywood

J
2
Shelf unit supports
33" x 15"
3⁄4" oak plywood

K
2
Top, bottom shelf panels
70 1⁄2" x 15"
3⁄4" oak plywood

L
1
Center shelf panel
69 3⁄4" x 15"
3⁄4" oak plywood

M
2
Shelf unit sides
25 1⁄2" x 15"
3⁄4" oak plywood

N
5
Shelf unit risers
12 1⁄2" x 15"
3⁄4" oak plywood

O

Face frame rails
33 linear ft.
1 x 4 oak

P

Face frame stiles
26 linear ft.
1 x 2 oak

Q

Face frame stiles
12 linear ft.
1 x 3 oak

 

Step 1

How to Build a Room Divider - Step 9

Make riser assemblies (for inner riser locations) by joining two risers together, back-to-back, with glue and 1 1/4" finish nails. Set one riser assembly on the cross brace next to the first base panel, and attach it with 2 1/2" screws driven through pilot holes and into the base panel edge.


Step 2

How to Build a Room Divider - Step 10

Install the middle base panel, then the second riser assembly, then the last base panel, using the techniques shown in steps 8 to 9.


Step 3

How to Build a Room Divider - Step 11

Measure and cut two plywood countertop panels, 24" wide, to fit between the end panels and set the first panel on the cabinet risers, flush with the front edges of the end panels. Use a framing square to adjust the risers so they are perpendicular to the countertop, then drill pilot holes and drive 2 1/2" screws through countertop and into risers.


Step 4

How to Build a Room Divider - Step 12

Apply glue to the top of the first countertop panel, then set the second countertop panel on the first panel. Clamp the panels together, then join them by driving 1" screws up through the underside of the first panel.


Step 5

How to Build a Room Divider - Step 13

Measure and cut a 1/4" oak plywood back panel to fit into the recess created by the back edges of the risers and base panels (see step 8). Set the back panel into the recess, then attach it to the cabinet risers and base panels, using 1" wire nails driven at 8" intervals.


Step 6

How to Build a Room Divider - Step 14

Measure and cut plywood shelf panels for the upper shelf unit, then cut 3/4"-wide, 3/8"-deep dadoes at shelf riser locations. Tip: “Gang-cut” dadoes to speed up your work: mark locations for dado cuts on panels, then clamp them together so dado marks align.


Step 7

How to Build a Room Divider - Step 15

Measure and cut plywood shelf unit sides. Make a 3/4"-wide, 3/8"-deep dado in each side, where the center shelf panel will fit.


Step 8

How to Build a Room Divider - Step 16

Measure and cut plywood shelf unit risers the same width as the center shelf. Stand the center shelf panel on its side, then glue the shelf risers into dadoes. Reinforce the joints with 2" screws driven into counterbored pilot holes.


Step 9

How to Build a Room Divider - Step 17

Assemble the remaining pieces of the upper shelf unit, using glue and 2" screws driven into counterbored pilot holes. Attach side panels to center shelf, then attach top and bottom shelf panels to side panel and shelf risers. Make sure diagonal measurements of shelf unit are equal (if not, adjust unit as needed until it is square).


 
 

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