Buid & Install a Bath Cabinet. Part 1 of 4 Prepare the Stock

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Cabinetry and casework are fundamental to making built-ins and bookcases. This small wall-hung cabinet is a useful item for bathroom or kitchen, and it is a great project for a beginning carpenter to develop some basic cabinetry skills. It is also extremely inexpensive to make.

 

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Overview

Cabinetry and casework are fundamental to making built-ins and bookcases. This small wall-hung cabinet is a useful item for bathroom or kitchen, and it is a great project for a beginning carpenter to develop some basic cabinetry skills. It is also extremely inexpensive to make. The entire case, including the top, can be built from an 8-ft.-long piece of 1 x 10 wood (you’ll need a little extra material for the shelving and the towel rod). The mitered frames applied to the fronts of the door give the look and feel of a raised panel door, without any of the fuss.
We built the version of the cabinet you see here out of No. 2 and better pine and then gave it an orangey maple finish. You can choose any lumber you like for this, even sheet stock such as MDF, and apply a clear or a painted finish. For a traditional look, choose a white enamel paint. Be sure and apply several thin coats of polyurethane varnish, especially if the cabinet will be installed in a wet area like a bathroom.
Cutting List
Part
No.
Desc.
Size
Material

A1 Top
3⁄4 x 91⁄4 x 191⁄2
1 x 10 pine


B2 Sides
3⁄4 x 71⁄2 x 201⁄4
1 x 10 or 1 x 8 pine


C2 Doors
3⁄4 x 9 x 15
1 x 10 pine


D2 Shelves
3⁄4 x 7 x 161⁄2
1 x 8 pine


E1 Towel rod
3⁄4 x 18"
Dowel


F1 Wall cleat
3⁄4 x 11⁄2 x 161⁄2
1 x 2 pine
G Door molding (short)
1⁄4 x 3⁄4 x cut to fit
Retainer molding


H Door molding (long)
1⁄4 x 3⁄4 x cut to fit
Retainer molding


What You'll Need

Tools:

Pencil
Tape measure
Combination square
Router, profiling bit
Circular saw
Jig saw
Clamps
Hammers
Drill/driver
3/4" Spade bit

Materials:

(1) 8 ft. 1 x 10
(1) 4 ft. 1 x 8
(1) 3/4" Dowel
(1) Screen retainer molding (10 lineal ft.)
(2) Door knobs
(2) Touch latches
(2) Hinges
Drywall or deck screws
Finish nails
Finishing materials

 

Step 1

Lumber Selection and First Cut

This bathroom cabinet can be made almost entirely from a single 8-ft. 1 x 10 using basic tools. (If you buy a 10-footer you’ll have enough stock to make all but the middle shelf, which can easily be made from another piece of wood or even glass.) At your local lumberyard or building center, hand-select a board (pine or another wood: No. 2 or better pine is much cheaper than other types in most areas). Look for a board that’s straight and free from defects like large knots or waney (bark-like) edges. When you get the board home, trim around 1/4" off each end (never trust the factory ends- they’re seldom squarely cut).
Cut the top board to 19 1/2". Then, cut an ogee profile into the front edge and the side edges using a piloted ogee bit.


Step 2

Cutting the Doors

Be sure to attach blocking at the back edges to prevent the router bit from turning the corner and cutting into the back edge. If you don’t own a router, you can simply hand-sand a roundover in the bottom edges or you can try cutting a chamfer profile with a hand plane (a tricky job, but a good skill to develop).
Next, cut the stock for both doors to length, plus a little bit (cut a piece around 30 1/2" long) and either rip-cut the edges to get a clean surface on both sides or sand them or plane them smooth. The final width of the material should be 9". Once the stock is prepared, cut the doors to length.


Step 3

Cutting the Cabinet's Sides

Cut the stock for the cabinet sides to width (7 1/2") or select a piece of 1 x 8 stock and simply sand the edges. Then enlarge the pattern found after the cutting list using a photocopier to make a hardboard template of the curved shape. Trace the profile on one side, referencing up from the bottom of the board.


Step 4

Cutting the Profile & Sanding

Clamp the two sides together so the ends and edges all are flush. Then, cut out the profile in both pieces at once using a jig saw. Make your cuts just short of the cutting line. When the cut is finished, do not unclamp the ganged sides. Use a sander or a round file to smooth the cuts and remove waste wood exactly up to the cutting lines. An oscillating spindle sander is the best tool here.


Step 5

Drilling the Towel Rack Holes

Another good idea is to mount a drum sander in a drill press. Lastly, before you unclamp the sides, locate the centerpoint for drilling the 3/4"-dia. dowel hole for the towel rod. Drill the hole with a 3/4" spade bit, making sure to slip a backer board underneath the bottom board to prevent tear out when the bit exits the workpiece.


 
 

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