My best friend got married and I wanted to make a personalized gift that represents the fun couple that they are.
My idea was to make a dartboard cabinet for their cabin, and it is my first attempt at cabinet making.
Step 1: Find Your Materials / Assemble Your Tools
- Pallets. I am constantly on the lookout for nice pallets - One of these gems was found at my local recycling centre, and the other was abandoned in the industrial section of town. I needed 2 pallets to provide enough material for my project.
- 11/4 inch screws
- Hinges (4)
- Stain and varnish
- Wood glue
- Chalkboards or wood and chalk spraypaint.
- Reciprocating Saw (optional)
- Oscillating Sander with 80 grid sandpaper
- Bandsaw for curved cuts (optional)
Step 2: Deconstruct Pallets
At first I started taking apart the pallets using a hammer and crowbar. This works - I've done it before, but because I was concerned about saving my nice wood and not having any broken or wasted pieces (which happens), I wasn't satisfied with this method. As you can see from the first photo, the nails ends of the nails were bent back into the wood quite deep, so I had to dig them out.
I took one pallet apart this way, but then switched to using a reciprocating saw (photo 2). This was much cleaner and easier. Make sure to get all the cut ends of nails out of your pallet material. This is easy to do by hammering a nail onto the cut end to shove the piece out the way that it was put in (photo 3).
Step 3: Prepare Pallets
I wanted to have a finished product (i.e. no splinters) so I sanded down all of the pallets before I started. At this point, I should have used a planer to get the edges even, but I ended up doing this later.
I also wanted the pallets to look worn, and the after sanding look was too pristine for me (see the comparison between sanded and non-sanded pallets in photo 1).
I decided to stain my material using a black stain cut to 1/2 strength using paint thinner to ensure that the grain would show through the wood (photo 2).
After letting the stain dry for a full day, I sanded down the pallets again (photo 3). This achieved the look I was wanting, because I could sand some areas more than others and ensure that the grain showed through. It did bung up the sanding pads quite quickly, so was a bit wasteful.
You could do this step after cutting out the pieces so that you didn't have to refinish the ends = probably better.
You could also do this step after building the entire cabinet, but my sander is round so wouldn't fit in corners.
Step 4: Lay Out Materials/design
I had a vague idea before I started by looking at a friend's cabinet and the size of my board, but truly this was a trial by error process. Others may use computer programs to sketch out the dimensions and materials they need beforehand, but this is not the way I work. I also think that when you are working with nonstandard wood, having no preconceived notions of the materials beforehand allows the materials to tell what you can make with fewer cuts.
I simply placed my dartboard on my material and decided big I wanted to build the cabinet around it. In this case, the pallet boards were standard sizes (both 1x6" and 1x4" boards). 4 large boards from the pallet made a perfect length across and the small boards were a perfect width.
Because of how the board looked, I decided to make the cabinet 22" by 25", with the doors 28" with an angle curve.
The pieces did not fit together tightly, so I decided to use a planer (photo 2). Should have done this before, but better late than never. After I was finished that, the cabinet ended up being 21 5/8" by 25".
Step 5: Cabinet
I glued and clamped the back of the cabinet together (photo 1) allowed to dry.
I wanted to put the frame of the cabinet together using without angles, because I have had the experience of pallet wood warping and my angles separating. I decided to use cut outs.
After cutting my frame lengths (2 x 26 1/2" and 2 x 23 1/8") I measured cut-outs the same width as my wood (3/4") and drew them on to the boards.
I used a handsaw to make a series of cuts for the centre hole, and then used my carving knife to smooth out the notch (photos 2&3).
Next I had to attach the frame to the backboards - I ended up having to make a few adjustments here to make the frame square to my back (photo 4). Once those were complete, I pre-drilled holes and glued and screwed everything in place (photo 5).
I touched up the stain where needed, and gave everything another good sanding.
Step 6: Doors
I glued my doors together and allowed to dry at the same time as I had done the back panels (photo 1).
Next, I squared up my doors to the cabinet - making a few adjustments where needed.
I wanted the doors to match the outside corners, but have a curved edge. A friend at Yukonstruct helped by executing the idea of drawing the curve by bending some flexible wood as a pattern. It worked perfectly and was much simpler than cutting out a template (photo 2).
I cut the curve using the bandsaw (photo 3) and gave everything a good sand - touching up the stain where needed.
I decided to personalize the front by adding a lasercut silhouette of my friends on their wedding day (photos 4&5).
Step 7: Putting It All Together
I attached the doors with hinges, and attached the dartboard to the cabinet by following the instructions that it came with.
I also attached holders for the darts which I left natural wood colour. I just drilled the holes using a slightly bigger drill piece than the darts themselves.
I applied 3 coats of protective varnish to the entire cabinet.
The final step was making two chalkboards with thin birch veneer wood and 2 coats of chalkboard spray paint. I used a bronze coloured sharpie to make the lines and cricket scoreboard.
My friends were very pleased with the gift ;)