Living Room #2 Fireplace and Cabinets

The original cabinets on the sides of the fireplace were 9″ deep. Since I have bookcases surrounding the windows in the sun room I thought I would use these cases to display some art pottery or glass.

1 cutting cabinet sides Because I had the space, I made the cases 16″ deep. Here I’m set up to cut the case sides to length after I ripped them on the table saw to the proper width. I’m using 3/4″ birch plywood that has a UV finish coat on both sides.

2 frame and cabinetThe face frame layout with the cabinet box in the background. The face frames are a little more than 3/4″ longer because a trim piece fits under the doors and is a stool for the decorative pilasters – you’ll see.

3 first fittingThe boxes and face frames are test fit into the space. The cabinets have a space between the walls to allow for a chase for electrical on this side and gas pipes on the opposite side. The face frame is not attached to allow the proper placement of the boxes which are then marked for reference.

4 hinge jigOriginally the doors had surface mount butterfly hinges. I wanted to use an original style hinge but didn’t have enough room because the fireplace will now have a surround that takes up the space needed for this type of hinge. So I opted for a euro style hinge that is inset and concealed. Here is a jig set up to bore the 35mm hole for the hinge cup and the sample test to the right in the picture.

6 hinge profileThis view shows the hinges installed to the doors and the face frame brackets attached. These are ‘clip top’ hinges – meaning you can easily remove the doors from the cabinet by depressing a clip. They are also adjustable 3 ways which is great for original 80 year old doors.

7 hinges onThe hinges are installed and fit to the space to make sure there’s no clearance problems. The face frames are not attached to the boxes yet.

8 face frame fillerThe face frame is exposed on the inside of the cabinet and that little pocket screw hole tucked up at the top of the cabinet would be visible – if you laid down on your back inside the cabinet and looked up. But being anal retentive it had to be filled. Here is a tapered dowel glued in the screw hole.

9 face frame sandedA little sanding and it disappears – I feel so much better now. The top one is outside the cabinet box.

10 inside face frameThe inside frame is finished and the hinge plates are screwed to the frames.

11 box to frameFinally the face frames are attached to the cabinet boxes with Kreg screws on the sides and top. The bottom gets part of the base that is glued and screwed as well. The back was finished with a 1/2″ plywood backer that was finish painted before installing.

12 cabinet componentsHere is the finished cabinet ready to instal. I cut the front of the floor base down so I could attach the cut off piece on the bottom of the cabinet box for support. Sometimes you have to improvise – especially when you make things without any plans.

Hang in there – the doors will be hanging shortly….I hope.



Living Room #1 Floors and Fireplace

We left off with hopping from the 2nd floor master bath to the 1st floor living room. After moving a room full of clutter and exterior insulation panels, we’re ready to tackle some new projects.

1a Old roomSo here’s the basic layout. Originally a painted brick fireplace with original cabinets on the side. Looks good, but lots of problems with windows, sloped floors and a drafty open fireplace.

1 floor shim startSo we cleaned it up, ran vents for a direct vent fireplace. Cement board was attached to the brick with modified thinset and tapcons. The walls were drywalled and new windows added on either side of the fireplace.These are insulated units that don’t open, as stained glass windows go here to block the scenic view of the brick wall.

2 floor shimThis area of the floor had a 3/4″ slope for some reason. The floor in general is flat and pretty level. The house being 80 years old this year, I guess a little droopiness is to be expected. So to fix this I added shims before the new 1/2 CDX plywood underlayment was screwed down.

3 sheathing  The first sheet goes in and checked to make sure its level. The plywood is screwed through the original 3/4″ pine floor into the floor joists.

4 levelAnd it is flat and level.

5 floor viewThe flooring is added and shimmed slightly to keep the floor flat. It’s pretty level, but little dips and uneven areas could be shimmed when the finish floor goes in. I’ve made 2X6 bases for the new cabinets and set the doors on top to visualize what to do next.

6 cabinet pieceI kept a piece of the old cabinet frame to use as a guide for the new face frames. These cabinet doors are about the only old thing left in this place, so I want to duplicate the design.

7 face frame layoutEverything you need in life is right here. No time to eat, I have my Diet Coke and some crackers for lunch while I figure out these cabinet face frames.

8 face frame figuresI ran out of yellow pads, so plywood scrap will do. Each side of the fireplace is different, and each set of doors is slightly different as well – so it looks like I’ll need both sides of this plywood to do some cypher’n.

9 door mock upThe doors are not square – they actually flair out at the bottoms slightly. If you were hanging around on the same hinges for 80 years you might have a wider bottom too. We’ll square up the door later – right now we need to make sure the door frames are just a slight bit small to allow us to shave the doors down just a smidgen.

10 kreg jigEven though I have some pretty nice tools – I still use this bottom of the line Kreg screw kit. It still works great, even though you can get some fancy newer models.

11 face frame glue upOnce I glue and screw the frames, I usually clamp them down on a flat surface. Sometimes the screws make the frame joints ‘rock’ slightly and cup the frame at the joint. This seems to help.

12 face frame fittingThe face frames in for a trial fit. The rails closest to the fireplace is wider than the ones next to the walls. This is to compensate for the thickness of the fireplace mantle sides. (Which I have yet to design).

Stick around – we’ll have a nice fire going – around August I suspect.