Introduction: Cat Cabinet

This is my first full scale woodworking project and I will say it was a bit taxing but the final product turned out great.

I love how simple it is to incorporate metal pipes into furniture and the possibilities are only limited by your own creative mind.

Without further a due I give you the modern Cat Cabinet.

Step 1: Tools & Supplies


Paint Tools

Stain Tools

  • Wood Pre-conditioner
  • Wood Stain
  • Brush
  • Rags
  • Gloves
  • Danish Oil
  • Wipe-On Poly
  • 220 Grit Sandpaper
  • Hand Sander

Wood Assembly

  • Miter Saw
  • Circular Saw
  • Kreg Jig
  • 1" Hardwood Pocket Screws
  • Clamps
  • Drill
  • 1.5" Hole Saw Drill Bit
  • Titebond III Wood Glue

Pipes and Metal Accents

Step 2: Cutting Plywood / Appearance Boards


Using either a table saw or a circular saw, cut the plywood.

I made a cut list (PDF file) for a 48" X 96" plywood sheet. (standard sheet size)

The green marks show where the 1/2" pocket holes will go.

The blue marks show where the 1 1/2" holes for the pipes will be.

Appearance Boards

Use a miter saw to cut the boards.

There is also a cut list for the appearance boards.

If you have the CAD program Sketchup you can see the dimensions of my initial 3D model. SKP file is attached.

Step 3: Drill Pocket Holes

Using a Kreg Jig, drill 1/2" pocket holes on:


Side Panels - 15.75" x 19.1874"

Drawer Holder

Bottom Panel - 15" x 15"


Bottom Panel - 14" x 13"

Side Panels - 14" x 15"

Counter Top

Top - 22" x 17.5"

Step 4: Cabinet Assembly

Using either a circular saw or a jig saw, cut a 7" x 5" rectangular slot on one of the (15.75" x 19.1874") side panels.

Start assembling the cabinet by placing the 15.75" x 22" (Bottom Panel) flat with the (15.75" x 19.1874") side panels sitting vertically on top of the bottom panel. (Figure 1)

Glue the ends of the side panels to the bottom panel and drill 1" pocket screws into the pocket holes.

Repeat the above step with the top panel (15.75" x 22").

Glue the long ends of the side panels (15.75" x 19.1874") and the long end of the top panel (15.75" x 22") to sit on the surface of the back panel (22" x 20.1874"). (Figure 2)

Place the pipes where they will need to go through the bottom and top panel of the cabinet and drill 1 1/2" holes using a hole saw.

Step 5: Assemble Drawer, Drawer Holder, and Counter Top

Drawer Assembly

Glue the ends on the short side of the side panels (5" x 14") to the face of the back panel (5" x 14") and the face of the front panel (5" 14.5"). (Figure 1)

Drill 1" pocket screws through the pocket holes. (the blue arrows point in the direction the screws are going)

Drawer Holder

Glue the ends (the sides with the pocket holes) of the bottom panel (15" x 15") to the face of the side panels (15" x 6"). (Figure 2)

Drill 1" pocket screws through the pocket holes.

Counter Top

Glue both ends of the counter top (22" x 17.5") with the short side glued to the 1.5" x 17.5" appearance board. The 1.5" x 23.5" appearance board glued to the long end of the counter top. (Figure 3)

Drill 1" pocket screws through the pocket holes.

Fill all the pocket holes with the walnut wood filler and let it sit for 30 minutes.

After the filler has dried sand it down with a hand sander using 220 grit sandpaper.

Repeat for all the pocket holes on the drawer, drawer holder, and counter top.

Step 6: Stain the Wood

Since plywood is notoriously hard to stain I took extra precautions to ensure that I would get an even finish.

Pre-Stain Prep

Use a hand sander with 220 grit paper (anything higher will sand down the wood grain) and sand the plywood and the appearance boards.

Wipe off the saw dust completely. I just used a sponge and a bucket of water but for a thorough cleaning you could use mineral spirits to wipe off all debris from the wood surface.

Apply a wood pre-conditioner using a brush and let the wood dry for about 15 minutes. (Figure 1)


Once it is dry, begin brushing on the wood stain and let it soak in for just a few seconds before completely wiping off the stain from the surface. (Figure 3)

  • Plywood = soak for 10 seconds
  • Appearance Board = soak for 1 minute

It is absolutely important that you completely wipe off the stain or the wood grain will not show. (Figure 2)


I've always had problems choosing a stain sealant that protects wood from wear and won't give the wood a plastic look. Since the cabinet would be getting a lot of wear and tear from my cats I decided to go with a Wipe-On poly because it's really easy to apply, has decent protection and I can couple it with Danish oil for a natural wood look.

Rub on Danish oil with a lint-free cloth and let it penetrate for 30 minutes before completely wiping off.

You'll need to wait 72 hours before you can apply the Wipe-On poly.

Apply the Wipe-On poly with a lint-free cloth and let it sit for an hour before removing any leftover residue from the wood surface.

Step 7: Drill Appearance Boards/Assemble Cabinet Door

Drill the appearance boards to the cabinet sides with the 18.5" x 3.5" boards sitting horizontally and the 13.1875" x 3.5" sitting vertically. (Figure 1)

Cabinet Door Assembly

Layout the Appearance Boards for the cabinet door with the 23" x 3.5" sitting horizontally and the 13.1875" x 3.5" sitting vertically. (Figure 2)

Screw down the 18.5" x 3.5" board vertically with the 23" board.

Counter Top

Glue the Drawer Holder to the bottom side of the top board.

(I estimated where the floor flanges would screw into the top board so I would have room for the drawer holder to sit)

Glue the remaining appearance boards (22" x 3.5") to the top board and clamp the boards together, letting it dry for 1 hour. (Figure 3)

Step 8: Metal Accents

I was trying to go for a modern meets rustic look so I added a few more metal accents to the wood by attaching corner braces to the cabinet door and counter top.


The screws that would hold the corner braces were zinc plated, and the drawer handle had a copper color so I decided to paint them both with a metallic finish.

  • Cover the screw thread with painters tape.
  • Spray the screws (Figure 1) and the handle (Figure 2) with a flat grey primer.
  • Brush on the gunmetal acrylic paint, leaving no spots.
  • Use a brush, dab the titanium acrylic paint onto the bristles and wipe it off onto a paper towel leaving only a little bit of acrylic paint left on the brush and stroke the paint onto the handle. (Figure 3)

Corner Braces

I saw this technique online for quickly aging new metal for a patina look and I've been dying to try it out. Please note that extra care must be taken while dealing with metal that is extremely hot in temperature. Use thick gloves and pliers to hold the metal and a mask to protect from the fumes.

  • Using a blow torch, heat up the corner braces until the zinc begins to melt. (should only take a few minutes per corner brace) (Figure 4)
  • Let the metal cool down in a bucket of water.

Step 9: Final Touch

Attach drawer slides to the drawer holder.

Screw the floor flanges to the bottom of the counter top

Screw in the corner braces to the cabinet door and counter top.

Add hinges to the cabinet door and attach to side panel without the cat slot.

Final Note

I did not make my drawer holder small enough to fit in between the top flanges so I had to trim the sides of the metal flanges with my dremel.

I'm pretty happy with how everything turned out but I can't stress enough with how important it it to buy appearance boards that are straight and flat. If there was even a slight curve in the board it was extremely difficult to nail it flush to the plywood surface.

If you like my Modern Cat Cabinet please vote for me in the woodworking contest.

Woodworking Contest 2017

Participated in the
Woodworking Contest 2017