My son and daughter-in-law expressed a need for more kitchen cabinet space. We discussed it and came up with a corner hutch. I should mention this conversation happened quite some time ago and they had no idea I was building this for them as a Christmas present.
Step 1: MATERIALS
Two sheets of 4 x 8 1/2" plywood. Scrap 2 x 4s, Scrap 1 x 4s. Pallet wood. Knobs and hinges and adjustable feet. Tung Oil. Brad nails. Trim Screws. Pocket screws. Glue.
Step 2: TOOLS
Here are annotated pictures of the tools I used.
Step 3: BASIC PLAN
From the above link to images, I selected a hutch that had a base cabinet, an open counter space, and a top cabinet. I also selected one that came out from the wall at the ends rather than a flush "triangle" shape. I cut out the shape in cardboard. Then went to a corner in my house and saw that what I'd done worked well.
I know people like to work from plans with precise measurements and detailed instructions. I don't.
I basically work from a plan in my head and the materials available. For example, I calculated the carcass material on a scrap piece of paper and for me to transport the plywood home I had the store rip it into 2' x 4' pieces. I needed 8 shelves, 4 sides, and two backs. Four 2' x 4's could be cut into 1' x4's giving me 8 shelves. I was then left with enough for the sides and backs. As far as the scrap 2 x 4s, 1 x 4s, and pallet wood, I had plenty of that. I drew the picture of my plan to give you an idea of what was in my mind's eye. In my head I knew the base cabinet would be standard countertop height -- 3' high and the total unit would be about 7' high. So I didn't work with any other measurements aside from those I wrote down on the cardboard template.
Step 4: SHELVES
I needed 8 shelves all the same size. I used the cardboard template to make a plywood shelf. I marked it "T" for the template, and using my pattern bit on my router, made 7 more shelves.
Step 5: BASE
I made a base of 2 x 4s and added adjustable feet. The base was smaller than the footprint of the hutch to give it a recessed look mimicking the recessed kickplate of kitchen cabinets.
Everybody sing: IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BASE, 'BOUT THE BASE--NO TROUBLE.........
Step 6: BASE CABINET
The bottom cabinet would consist of 4 shelves, a back and two sides. Two of those shelves would be for the drawer. The back and two sides were cut to the measurements on the cardboard template. By the time I'd gotten around to doing the top cabinet, I'd figured out an easier way to assemble the shelves to the back and side pieces. Again, I did this in my head as I worked. No plans.
I didn't miter or bevel the corners of the back and sides since they fit against each other snugly in the corners.
Before continuing, I tested the base cabinet's fit in a corner. It worked perfectly.
Step 7: FACING
I added sides of pallet wood, then ripped down 2 x 4s, 3/4" thick for facing.
Step 8: COUNTER TOP
Once the base cabinet was constructed I ripped pallet wood into one inch wide strips approximately 6" long, sanded them and created a countertop. When the glue dried I used my belt sander to smooth it all down.
Step 9: DOORS
The door frames were made from ripped down 2 x 4s, (3/4" X 1 and 1/2") and put together with pocket screws. I plugged and sanded the holes. I routed a rabbet on the back of the doors and glued in 1/4" plywood I had in my lumber cart. I added hinges and installed the two doors.
Step 10: DRAWER
I had lots of 1/2" scrap and built the drawers, with more 1/4" plywood from the lumber cart for the bottoms. The faces of the drawers are pallet wood.
Step 11: DOOR UPGRADE
The 1/4" plywood was beaten up and didn't match so I ripped down some more pallet wood into 1" strips, chamfered the edges and created panels which I trimmed to fit the openings and glued in place. When it came to the upper doors, I did it much simpler. I just glued the strips directly to the 1/4" plywood backing.
TIP: COVER YOUR CAUL WITH PACKING TAPE TO PREVENT GLUE FROM STICKING TO IT.
Step 12: KNOBS
When browsing the Internet for drawer and door pulls I came across these ceramic ones. I think they really added something to the hutch. I needed 8 pulls and these came 10 to a pack, all different, which added something to the overall look of the hutch.
The knobs were hefty, well built, with long screws with washers and nuts on the back of each, screws long enough to fit through the drawer faces and door stiles. They were so nice and I was so pleased I gave a great review for them on their website.
I used two pulls for the drawer face instead of only one for aesthetics. One looked lonely. Unbalanced. Two jazzed it up.
Step 13: UPPER CABINET
I trimmed the three upper backs to the same height, marked where the shelves would go and connected the shelves to 2 x 4s which acted as a foot and made the shelves easy to stand up and secure the backs. I eliminated the gaps in the backs by securing the top cabinet to the bottom cabinet with 1 x 4s. The one in the very back would stay and be used to secure the top and base together. The ones on the sides would come out so the hutch would fit flat against the wall.
Step 14: FACE FRAMING UPPER CABINET
By now it got easier to apply the facing and sides of pallet wood. None of the pallet wood was long enough for the upper cabinet's side extensions so I book-matched them as best I could, even duplicating the location of nail holes from side to side.
Step 15: UPPER DRAWER AND SIDES
I used the 1/2" ply scraps to build the body of the drawer. I matched up the nail holes on both top and bottom drawer faces. Why? It looked purposeful. Also, in laying out the strips of wood for the doors and countertop I moved them around a bit until I was happy with the overall look of how the imperfections flowed. Little things like this might never be noticed but had I not done it, someone's eye would've been drawn to it.
To me, this is an important part of construction when dealing with pallet wood. Actually, with any wood. Take a look at any piece of furniture and you will not see two glaringly different pieces of wood next to each other (unless it is on purpose--like cutting boards). It's something to think about when creating something. Treat it like a piece of art.
Step 16: UPPER DOORS
I did these doors a bit differently. The frames and plywood were done the same, but I glued the ripped down, chamfered strips directly onto the plywood. I installed the doors and added a decorative top.
TIP: I USED AN OLD PLASTIC CARD WITH A PINKING-SHEERED EDGE TO SPREAD THE GLUE
Step 17: THE FINISHED KITCHEN HUTCH
The kitchen corner hutch was made in 3 parts. Base, bottom cabinet and top cabinet. It was transported to my son and daughter-in-law's in two cars and assembled in their kitchen and screwed to wall studs.
Step 18: CONCLUSION
Not only was this a fun project, I learned a lot, too. You didn't see how some ripped down 2 x 4s warped and had to be tossed out, or how slight imperfections magnified themselves toward the end of the Hutch build. I'd never spread glue with a notched old plastic card before and will definitely use this method again. It was so easy to do. And how amazed was I when I actually learned I could book matched pallet wood. And since I was using scraps and tossed out pallets, I tried to use the imperfections at every place I could to add to the rustic look, as is evidenced by the upper door on the right. Those dark lines are actually screw-thread holes that appeared when I ripped the wood down. I filled the grooves with darkly stained epoxy and sanded them smooth and book-matched them on the stiles. To paraphrase Bob Ross: You don't make mistakes. You only have happy accidents. Ah, the Joy of Woodworking.
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