Beth's built-in, Home improvement
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Beth’s built-in: the upper box

Last week, I went to Woodcraft and looked at their quarter sawn red oak. I decided that I would use red oak for the interior of the shelf portion of this project and I would use quarter sawn red oak for the face frame and drawer front. I went to The Home Depot and looked over their inventory of red oak, selecting three nine foot 1 x 8s. But after deciding that these boards would cost $120, I put them back and went with a single sheet of 4 x 8 red oak plywood for $48. More wood at more than half the price equals the best deal for me.

Over this weekend, I got started on the top box of the built-in. Here is what I got accomplished…

Sheet management. I let The Home Depot make the first cuts on the plywood. They make rips creating two 15” wide pieces. In this photo, I am about to use my circular saw to rough cut them to length. The boards have been trimmed to a final 14″ in width.

Rough cut. Here I have the two sides and the top and bottom roughly cut to length.

Final cuts. Here I use my panel cutting jig to fine tune the length of a side panel.

With the sides and the top and bottom of the upper box cut to final size, I have to prep the inside of the box before assembly. The inside is sanded using my palm sander and I then add the holes for the shelf pins.

To cut these holes, I use my plunge router and a home made jig. In this photo, I have laid out the items needed to set-up my router for this operation: the collar and a quarter inch router bit which will basically drill the hole (click the photo to enlarge it).

Here, I have the collar installed. I get my caffeine in the morning from Diet Mtn. Dew. This is my second one of the morning.

In this photo you can see how the collar fits around the bit. The collar and the holes in my template are the same size allowing me to precisely locate the router bit. I make repeated plunges along the template, then flip the template over and cut holes along the opposite edge of the board. This makes the holes the same height which is important to keep shelves from rocking.

This process goes pretty quickly. This is the third project I have used my home made jig with. You could also buy one of these and I just recently saw on This Old House a machine that cuts many such holes all at one time. But, you can’t beat the fact that my jig cost me nothing.

Ready for assembly. I use the same method to join the sides with the top and bottom as I did with the lower box (see more here).

Starting to take shape. Here I set up the upper box which will have shelves on top of the lower box which will have drawers. Still not much to look at, but you can begin to see what it will look like.

As you can see there is no back on the upper box yet. I am undecided how to do this. I have some left over oak plywood and I am thinking about making a frame and panel back for it. Whatever I decide to do, that will be the next step in this project.

To see all the posts on this project including design aspects, click here.

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