How-to guide on making a side board cabinet out of oak veneered plywood & blackboard, that utilises organically shaped cut-outs as handle and door pulls.
You can see what tools were used to make the cabinet here: https://jmakeswwmwaa.wixsite.com/jmakes/tools
The final dimensions of the cabinet were: 1450 (W) x 700 (H) x 450 (D)
Step 1: Cut Sheet Material Into Components
Take your 8’ x 4’ sheets (I'm using 18mm Oak Veneered Block-board) and cut them into 4 components that will make up the top, bottom and sides of the cabinet - for me the top and bottom measured 1450x450 and the sides 620x450.
Step 2: Cut a 30 Degree Angle to the Front Edge
Cut a 30 degree angle on the front edge of all of these components
Step 3: Cut a Rebate Into the Components Back Edge
Cut a rebate in the back edge of all of these components (the depth of this should be the thickness of your back material - for me this was 3mm - and the height should be half the thickness of the material (9mm).
Step 4: Cut a 45 Degree Mitre Joint
Cut a 45 angle onto the end of all of your components to create a ‘mitre joint.’
Step 5: Route Out Stop Dados
Using a plunge router, create two stop dado’s in both of your side pieces (the height you cut these at will determine the height of your drawers - for me they were cut with 60mm spacing in between), and the thickness of the cut should be the same thickness you are using for the internal carcass (in my case this was 9mm).
*Note - You want to cut from the back edge, stopping 25mm before you reach the front edge*
Step 6: Edge Band Components
With the machining on the outer carcass complete, I then apply iron on edge banding to the front edge of all the pieces, using 22mm oak edging tape and a household iron.
You can watch a full edge banding tutorial here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJfwmMkJ3a0
Step 7: Making the Inner Structure: Cutting Into Strips
Now the outer carcass is made, we can move onto the inner structure. For this I used 9mm oak plywood. I cut my plywood sheet into strips measuring 435 in width.
Step 8: Making the Inner Structure: Cross-Cutting
I could then cross-cut these strips into the components for my drawers (the width of these was unique for each drawer and was determined by the opening, however the depth strips were all cut at the same consistent length of 400mm (the same size as the drawer slides)
Step 9: Making the Inner Structure: Notching
I then cut-out a notch at the end of all the horizontal pieces (on one edge). This was to go over the stop dado created earlier and measured 9mm (the depth of the cut) by 25mm, the distance from the front edge.
Step 10: Attaching the Internal Structure Together
I attached the internal structure together with 3.5 x 50 screws.
*Note* Like with the cabinet I also edge banded the structure before assembly.
Step 11: Making the Central Divider
The final piece to make before the glue-up is a vertical divider, which the central door will be hinged off of. This was made out of an off-cut of 18mm block board, and was cut to the same depth as the internal carcass (435) and at a height of 425 (determined by the distance from the bottom stop dado to the start of the mitre.
Step 12: Glue the Components Together
Now the internal structure is made we can glue everything together. I did this in stages, gluing the internal structure into the stopped dados, and then gluing the top and bottom into place.
Step 13: Making the Drawers: Cutting Strips
Once the glue had dried, I could then move onto making and installing the drawers. To do this I took the remainder of my sheet of 9mm oak plywood, and cut it into strips measuring 550 in height (the size of my drawer openings, minus 50mm clearance.)
Step 14: Making the Drawers: Cross-Cutting
I could then cross-cut these strips into my drawer components (the width of these was unique for each drawer and was determined by the opening, and the depth was 400mm (the same size as the drawer slides)
Step 15: Making the Drawers: Cutting Rebates & Drawer Bottoms
To attach the drawer together, I first cut rebates into the ends of the side pieces (the rebate was 9mm deep (the same size as the drawer front components, and 4.5mm in width (half of the material thickness.) Once the joints were cut, I could then measure and cut a bottom to fit, and glue all the components together with wood glue.
Step 16: Installing the Drawers
Now the drawers are made, 400mm deep drawer slides can be used to attach them to the internal structure and carcass. To do this, I simply screwed the drawer slide (in 3 points) to the internal structure, ensuring the front edge was flush to the front edge of the structure. I could then insert the drawer, pull out the drawer and drawer slide in unison and screw through the drawer slide (in another 3 points) into the drawer (again ensuring the front edge of the drawer slide is flush to the front of the drawer.
Step 17: Making the Drawer Fronts & Doors
With the drawers made, we can now move onto making the drawer fronts and the doors. These were cut out of the same material as the external carcass (18mm oak veneered block-board), and the measurements were taken by measuring the openings on the cabinet. (Making sure to minus 2/3mm to create a clearance gap on all sides).
Step 18: Cutting the Handles
Once the doors and drawer fronts were made, the handles could then be cut. To do this I traced a template onto the component and then cut-out the shape with a jig-saw.
During this step, I also edge banded all of the door and drawer components, using the same 22mm oak iron-on tape as before.
*Note - Cutting the handles, exposed the front face of the drawers. To solve this problem I cut the drawer to the same shape as the cut-out*
Step 19: Installing the Drawer Fronts
With the drawer and door fronts fully made, they can now be attached to the carcass:
- The drawers were attached by drilling 2 holes in the actual drawer, positioning a screw so it was protruding through the drawer, placing the drawer front on top (ensuring, using cards it was positioned so there was an equal gap on all sides) and then hammering down. This created an indent which serves as a referenced hole the screw can be located and attached through.
Step 20: Installing the Doors
- The doors were attached using European style cabinet hinges - inset ones for the two outer doors, and a half overlay hinge for the central door. The installation process involves mortising two 35mm holes (with the pillar drill) 22.5mm from vertical edge, and 100mm from the horizontal edge, then screwing the hinges into these holes, screwing back plates onto the carcass, and then clipping the hinge to the back plate.
Step 21: Making the Understructure: Cutting Materials to Width
With the drawers and doors installed the body of the cabinet is complete, leaving only the under-structure to be made. To create this, I cut more 18mm block board into 2, 40mm wide strips.
Step 22: Making the Understructure: Cutting to Length
I then needed to cut angles on these strips, so that they would meet to give the from the correct criss-cross shape.
Step 23: Making the Legs
I could then make the legs. To do this I took a piece of reclaimed solid oak, cut it up into 20mm x 20mm pieces, glued 4 of these pieces together to make a 40mm block, cut the corners of the square of at the table saw, and then used a disc sander to create a perfect circle.
Step 24: Gluing the Understructure Together
With the cross-supports and legs made I can now glue the understructure together, and to the base of the carcass.
Step 25: Sanding the Cabinet
The cabinet has now been made, so all that is left to do is finishing. The first step to this is sanding the entire cabinet, and removing any marks that have accumulated on the veneer. I sanded using 120, 180 & 240 grit sandpaper.
Step 26: Applying Finish
With the sanding and surface prep complete, I finished using a Clear Acrylic Satin Varnish. To do this, I applied 2 coats using a brush, sanding with 400 grit sandpaper in between coats.
Step 27: Enjoy!
The cabinet is now finished! Congratulations!
The only thing left to do now is fill it up and enjoy; the shallow drawers are perfect for storing papers, pens and electronics, with the doors providing space for larger items like books!