Joe Abbott's Weblog

Letters home to mom

Progress on Cabinet

Posted by joeabbott on December 25, 2013

OK, time to check in on our favorite slow-moving project: the front-room cabinet! Yes, it’s slow going but we’re still making forward progress and I’m not giving up yet! <g> Here’s the quick news on where we are right now.


We ended up moving the walls out so that, instead of each of the cabinet interior sections being 23.75” wide (center-to-center on the wall spacing), we changed that to have the first section to be at 22”, the second would be 27.25”, the third at 22” … and then the second side would have the same spacing: 22”, 27.25”, 22”. So we ended up moving the interior walls (not the ends or center wall) by 1.75”.

So I needed to have support under those walls to both bear the load and to provide backing for fasteners that I plan on driving in just below the walls.

Looking at the picture to the right, you can see that rather than move the existing support stud, we just added a new one! And because I wanted the new stud exactly under the new wall, I included a spacer, rather than guess, butt the new support stud up to the old (and not be under center) or create a small stand-off.

As a 2×4 has a nominal dimension in the short direction is 1.5”, I just needed a quarter inch more material. So, I found some scrap I had in the garage that was .25” thick and ripped out a quick few boards.

I then clamped the spacer and the new support stud to the old, made sure the new spacer and support stud weren’t proud of the original stud height, drilled a couple of pilot holes, and then ran some screws through the whole stack.

By having the clamps in play, I didn’t have to worry about the stack being loose: it all pulled together tightly.


Next is building up the panels! To help explain what’s going on, I’ve mocked up a quick model to make it more clear. I’ve removed all the vertical walls, all the support structure, and all the room details to just show the panels in the mix. This is what they’d look like:


Because we want the walls to be 1.5” thick and we’re working with 3/4” material, we’ve doubled up all the parts; which leaves me with layers I’m referring to as the “sub-top” and “sub-bottom”. The plywood panels we bought came in 96” (8’) and the cabinet is 144” (12’), so we’re attaching a 96” section to a 48” (4’) section. Which can be seen in the picture above.

I detailed the glue-up of the sub-bottom in the Quick Update and noted that I wasn’t happy with how the 12’ long section came together. It looks “gappy” to me. So, for the next sections, the Bottom and Sub-top, I devised a method to get the panels pulled together better.

imageFor each panel, I’ve taken a 2×4 and clamped it across the panel, close to the end I’ll be gluing up. After using a plate joiner to cut slots, slathering on glue, and installing biscuits, I pull the panels together and use the 2x4s that I’ve clamped near the ends to pull the joint up tight. Here’s a picture of a panel drying with all the clamps in place.

It may be confusing so allow me to explain.

The clamps that are standing vertically (c-style clamps), are squeezing 2x4s against the panel ends. I have four of these, and they’re holding four 2x4s: one on top of the 8’ panel, one on the bottom of the 8’ panel, and then one on top of the 4’ panel and one on the bottom of that 4’ panel. To ensure I get a good grip, I’ve cut up a non-slip grippy piece of fabric and placed that between the 2×4 and the panel. After tightening up the clamps, those 2x4s aren’t moving!

With those in place, I then use three parallel jaw clamps to pull the 2x4s toward each other; as the 2x4s aren’t moving, I end up pulling the panels together!

In addition to those parallel jaw clamps, I have one other in that whole mess of hardware to ensure the panel lines up squarely. And one more c-style clamp gripping the edge for good measure.

It was a busy clamp-up but gave me a superior joint that didn’t look gappy like the sub-bottom glue-up I did earlier. I’m now gluing up the sub-top and will be able to tackle the top after that.

Before I do the top glue-up, however, I’ll probably cut the slots for the sliding doors in the bottom, and then the dadoes for the vertical walls in the bottom and sub-top so I can go ahead with the next step in installation in the house.

That’s the progress for now! With the holidays, it’s the best progress I can make. Well, the best progress that allows me to hang out with Suzy, enjoy holiday gatherings and meals, and time to watch Christmas videos and drive around seeing lights!

Hope your holidays are enjoyable! Thanks for dropping in.


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