Built in Birch Plywood Cabinet/ Wardrobe

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About: 18 year old who makes all sorts of different projects, that have with a strong emphasis on experimenting and exploring new techniques and textures! I post weekly over on Youtube, but want to use Instructable...

In this post, I’m going to share with you how I made these build in birch plywood cabinets! I hope this helps you complete a similar project for yourself or at the very least inspires you to get out to the workshop! If you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch, or alternatively you can check out the attached youtube video where I talk through the project, giving both a visual and audible explanation of all the steps!

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Step 1: Making the Carcass Components

So lets get into the project! The first step was cutting my plywood sheets down into components using the circular saw against a straight edge. I used 18mm pine plywood for all the areas that would be hidden behind a door or drawer, as it is cheaper and less desirable aesthetically and 18mm birch plywood for the areas that would be directly exposed.

Step 2: Making Cutouts for the Drawer Fronts

Although the components are now all cut, before I could screws them together to make the carcasses, I had to first account for various unique features of the build. Firstly, because I want the drawer fronts to sit flush with the open spaces, I used the table saw to remove 18mm from the front leading edge, completing the radiused cut with a jigsaw.

Step 3: Finding the Roofs Pitch

Secondly, because the cabinets will be sitting on a wall that has a pitched roof I had to cut the vertical and top pieces to a matching angle. To do this, I first found the angle with a gauge and used this to set my saw blade.

Step 4: Cutting My Components to That Angle

I could then cut an angle on all of the components using a straight edge and circular saw.

Step 5: Assembling the Carcasses

Now all the components have been cut to their final dimension and form, I could secure them together with 4x60 carcass screws, creating 3 carcasses in total, two out of birch and one out of pine plywood

Step 6: Making & Installing the Back

I could then secure a thinner 4mm back to each carcass using 3x35mm screws, that I cut using the table saw.

Step 7: Connecting Piece: Making a Template

Before the carcasses could be permanently installed against the wall, I first had to fill the space that sat in between and below the beam. To do this I first created a cardboard template, by cutting and gluing scraps together.

Step 8: Connecting Piece: Cutting a Back Using the Template

I could then use this template, to mark and cut a back piece of 4mm birch plywood with the jigsaw, making sure to orient the blade so that is wall pulling against, and not with the face veneer.

Step 9: Connecting Piece: Scribing to the Wall

To make the framework this would attach to, I first used a compass to scribe a piece of plywood to the wall, pushing the point against the wall, and the pencil against the component.

Step 10: Connecting Piece: Cutting the Framework

I could then cut to this scribe line with a jigsaw, before measuring the remaining gap and cutting the opposite edge to length at the table saw.

Step 11: Connecting Piece: Assembly

The various components could then be screwed together to make the complete assembly.

Step 12: Adding Feet + Levelling the Carcasses

Now all the carcasses are conjoining pieces are complete, I can install them in their final place. To do this I screwed adjustable feet onto the bottom of each carcass and adjusted them so that the carcass was level on all 3 axises.

Step 13: Making Columns + Plinths

With this done, I could now close up any gaps between the carcass and wall. For the bigger gaps I measured at various different points, and cut a scrap piece of birch plywood to fit. This cut was completed freehand (so only do it if you are comfortable and sufficiently component with the table saw) and with the blade set at a 10 degree angle. The purpose of this is so that the back edge doesn’t prematurely meet the wall, causing a gap at the front.

Step 14: Installing the Columns + Plinths

With all of these columns and gables cut I can screw them to the carcasses using 3x35mm screws.

Step 15: Caulking the Edges

Whilst this takes care of the bulk of the gap, there are still 1-2mm indiscretions. To fill these I used decorators caulk, simply applying it to the seam, and removing the excess using a credit card that has a radiused edge.

Step 16: Making the Drawers

Now the cabinets have been properly fitted to the wall, I can begin the work to turn them into a functional piece of furniture. The first step in doing this was making the drawers. I cut all of my components out of 18mm pine plywood for the sides and 12mm pine plywood for the bottom, as they will not be directly visible.

Step 17: Assembling the Drawers

Once the components were cut, I could then screw them together using the same 40x60mm carcass screws I had used previously.

Step 18: Installing the Drawer Slides

To install the drawers, I used full extension soft close drawer slides, screwing them into the carcass and drawer box with 4x20mm screws. (If you want more details on the process make sure to check out the video linked at the start of the post!)

Step 19: Cutting the Drawer & Door Fronts

Now the drawers are made and installed, I need to make fronts for them, and also a couple of doors for the wardrobe section! To do this I cut down 18mm birch plywood using a circular saw and straight edge. When making my cuts I paid close attention to the grain as I wanted it to be continuous across the fronts.

Step 20: Aligning & Temporarily Securing the Drawer Fronts

To install the drawer fronts I used super glue, pressing the fronts in place, using standard playing cards to ensure the correct spacing.

Step 21: Permanently Securing the Drawer Fronts

Once the glue was dry, the connection could then be reinforced with 4 4x35mm screws.

Step 22: Boring Hinge Holes

To secure the doors I used European style overlay hinges. More details of the installation process can be found on the video but to summarise I drilled 3, 35mm holes, 22.5mm in from the doors edge, and 150mm down.

Step 23: Installing the Door Hinges + Backplates

I then screwed the hinge into the holes, as well as the hinges backplate and the corresponding locations using 4x20mm screws.

Step 24: Installing the Doors

The two parts of the hinges can then be simply clicked together, and using a screwdriver minutely adjusted to give even spacing on all sides.

Step 25: Making Shelves

Nearly there now! The second to last step of the process is making the shelves that will divide up the remaining open spaces. These were cut out of 18mm birch plywood using the table saw, and were held in place using shelf pins that were located in 3mm holes, drilled with a handheld drill.

Step 26: Making & Installing the Leather Handles

With that done there is only one final step left, and that is making and installing the handles! These are simple 5mm wide strips of leather, and they are installed by drilling a 5mm hole through both the drawer front and drawer box. Threading the leather through this hole, before securing it in place with one 4x20mm screw from behind.

Step 27: Finished!

With the handles installed the project is now done! The drawers are perfect for storing a whole host of items from t-shirts and trousers to records and stationary, whilst the doors open to reveal ample storage space for shirts and shoes. However the piece isn’t just limited to its confined compartments, the open shelving creates a beautiful space to store and display ornaments and books, turning what can often be a bulky and imposing object into an inviting one that opens up the space!

If you have any questions feel free to message me or alternatively you can check out the instructional video at the start of this post!

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    16 Discussions

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    FraserJ1

    7 days ago on Introduction

    Astonishing. Taught me so much about woodworking. Thank you you taking the time to create this video, which is as excellently crafted as the cabinets.

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    JMakesUKFraserJ1

    Reply 6 days ago

    Thanks FraserJ1, it really means a lot hearing you found value in the build and video! :)

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    OutofPatience

    7 days ago

    Seriously nice design and execution...thanks so much for sharing!

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    JMakesUKOutofPatience

    Reply 6 days ago

    No problem, thanks for much for taking the time to look at it and comment, I really appreciate it!

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    Rue Shamrock

    8 days ago

    This is not a small undertaking! I know as I am in the middle of making a basement bar... Thanks for sharing your build.

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    JMakesUKRue Shamrock

    Reply 6 days ago

    Haha yeah its definitely a cause of a lot of swearing and sweating but it was all worth it in the end! Thanks Rue!

    You did a fabulous job making this versatile cabinet. Love how you incorporated the ceiling angle to utilize the best space in the room. The whole cabinet is beautiful and functional as well.

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    seamster

    8 days ago

    This turned out very nicely. And I appreciate the effort required to match the ceiling angle to use all the possible space. Great work!!

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    JMakesUKseamster

    Reply 6 days ago

    Thank you seamster and yes, although the pitch definitely made the build more complicated I think having it fit the alcove so tightly really adds to the effectiveness of the final piece!

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    J_Brown

    18 days ago

    This is a great example of efficient use of space!

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    JMakesUKJ_Brown

    Reply 6 days ago

    Its definitely made the room a lot more functional, thats for sure - thank you J_Brown!