Saturday, February 03, 2007

Some Assembly Required

I assembled the first of the two bathroom cabinets today. This is the corner cabinet that will go behind the door. Here’s a shot of it.

I did kind of an angle thing with the front to give it a little character. If I had to do it over I would not have made the opening so big. I wanted symmetry with the two boards that make up the angles on either side of the cabinet. I couldn’t make the boards too wide or the cabinet would stick out too far. I think I’ll do a pair of doors that open in the middle as opposed to one big door. The plan is to do raised panel doors with an Eastlake bead detail down the center of the panels.

I’m not sure when I’ll make the doors. Right now I need the cabinets made because that will define where the tile will go. The other cabinet goes on the right side of the door. On both cabinets I’m using salvage redwood bead board for the backs and sides, and fir for the face frames. The fir is from old door jambs. I use the back sides of the bead board so I don’t have to strip the paint. I just sand it smooth and I will finish it with BLO and turpentine. The outsides will be painted. I want these cabinets to look like they were installed in 1895.

I used pocket screws to assemble the face frames. Brooklyn Row House gave excellent step-by-steep instructions for building face frames with pocket screws a few weeks back, so I won’t go in to that. I first learned about pocket screws from watching my hero use them on his show. I was going to buy a pocket hole jig and use it when I made the kitchen cabinets. At the time I didn’t look very hard and the only thing I found on-line was the Kreg Master Pocket Hole Jig System for $149. That’s a lot of money for something I’m not going to use very often, and we all know I’m one cheap bastard.

I’ve since learned that you can buy pocket hole jigs for much less. I found an issue of Woodworker’s Journal that tested 6 different pocket hole jigs. The cheapest one you can get at Sears for as little as $39, but you get what you pay for. I found one at Ace Hardware on-line that was $49. The good thing about buying at Ace or Sears is that I won’t pay shipping.

Then on Thursday I was at a local hardware store and I asked if they had a pocket hole jig and sure enough they did. It is made by SteelX, which was not one of the ones in Woodworker’s Journal, and it was the least expensive one I found. It also happens to work very good and seems to be well constructed.

It didn’t come in a kit like the others, instead you bought all the parts separately. I got the jig, which can adjust from 7/8-inch to 2 & ¼-inch, and I bought a 3/8-inch step drill. They had both a 90 degree step drill for pan head screws and a 45 degree drill for regular wood screws. Both the jig and drills are SteelX products. I also bought a set of 3 stop collars, a 6-inch long square drive bit, and a half pound of pan head screws and it came to less than $35. Not bad!

The best part is I love it, love it, love it. Building face frames has never been easier. Hopefully tomorrow I can get the other cabinet assembled before The Big Game. I’m in a Super Bowl pool and my best shot at winning some money is if it’s 7 to 7 at the half. I win $200!

1 comment:

Nick said...

I'm with you, Greg. Making face frames without pocket screws should be against the law.