Cabinet design - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 02-02-2016, 04:22 AM Thread Starter
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Cabinet design

I have been slowly building my shop and acquiring skills and tools (mostly hand tools, with the exception if a drill, circular saw, router, and cheap bench top band saw). Thus far I have constructed a couple of picture frames, and obviously my workbench and some winding sticks for planing panels.

My goal is to construct a cabinet to place over the toilet in my bathroom, and I think I am comfortable enough with my tools to start it, but I am having some trouble with design of the cabinet.

I know how big I want it to be, what the legs will look like and how to attach them o the body of the cabinet. I know I'm making raised panel doors with mitered corners for simplicity - no tennons or special router bits necessary.

But the part I'm not certain of is what I use for the back of the cabinet. I don't have a table saw, and working with sheet goods is a bit difficult with hand tools. What did people do for cabinet backs before plywood was invented? Half lap boards/beadboard? If so, what is it that keeps the cabinet square? Additional rails in the back of the cabinet at a few points, maybe?

Basically what I need to know is, what are my options for the back of a cabinet? Can I use solid wood rather than plywood, and if so, how?
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post #2 of 10 Old 02-02-2016, 08:38 AM
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It would be a lot easier for you and make a better cabinet if you would purchase a circular saw and make the back out of 1/4" plywood. If you like woodworking you should really consider getting a table saw. Don't get one too small though. Some saws are made little so a person can carry the saw to a jobsite. Buying a used saw is often a better value. Saws tend to last a lifetime and if you get one that hasn't be obviously abused it shouldn't give you any trouble.

Before plywood a back to the cabinet was usually a tongue and groove frame with thin pieces of flat wood for panels. Sometimes beadboard slats were also used. Sometimes there was no back, the wall made the back of the cabinet. In any case these methods does little to hold the cabinet square and strong.
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post #3 of 10 Old 02-02-2016, 09:32 PM
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I suggest you forget the legs on the cabinet and build it to hang on the wall over the toilet
Once you've built your cabinet, you can take accurate measurements and have the 1/4" plywood back cut for you at a big box store.
I agree with Steve, if you plan to make woodworking your hobby, you will need an electric saw.
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post #4 of 10 Old 02-02-2016, 10:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toolman50 View Post
I suggest you forget the legs on the cabinet and build it to hang on the wall over the toilet
Once you've built your cabinet, you can take accurate measurements and have the 1/4" plywood back cut for you at a big box store.
I agree with Steve, if you plan to make woodworking your hobby, you will need an electric saw.
Keep it simple.
I made this shelf using simple but joints with glue and brad nails. I used double sided carpet tape to keep the two sides together while I cut the curved part.

The back is bead board from the big box store. I only needed part of the package the pieces came in.

Good luck.
Mike
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post #5 of 10 Old 06-30-2017, 11:31 PM
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sorry wrong thread....

Last edited by Djracerd8769; 06-30-2017 at 11:36 PM. Reason: noob mistake
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post #6 of 10 Old 07-01-2017, 08:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toolman50 View Post
I suggest you forget the legs on the cabinet and build it to hang on the wall over the toilet
Once you've built your cabinet, you can take accurate measurements and have the 1/4" plywood back cut for you at a big box store.
I agree with Steve, if you plan to make woodworking your hobby, you will need an electric saw.
Eliminating the legs was also my first thought. Not only do they complicate the job, they would look funny in that particular usage.

The cabinet you are discribing is not overly large. I do not think that it would be an overly difficult job to cut the plywood with a manual saw. I would recommend a Japanese pull saw or similar. I could never cut a straight line with a standard line. When I discovered the pull saw the whole thing changed. Now I am no longer afraid to use a hand saw.

Just take your time and have everything in a comfortable position.

George

PS However, I also agree that it would be most convenient to have an electric saw.
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post #7 of 10 Old 07-01-2017, 12:29 PM
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OP has a circular saw.
With a straight edge clamped to the sheet goods used as a saw guide, cutting a cabinet back should be doable.


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post #8 of 10 Old 07-02-2017, 01:26 PM
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Hello. Sheet goods are often a major part of cabinetry, and not having a table saw for a novice wood worker is not a huge deal.

There are other ways to break down sheets, the cheapest of them is to lay out marks on the sheet. Measure the guard on your circular saw to the edge of your blade. Transfer that measurement onto the sheet from your previous marks and clamp a 2x4 or any other straight edge board to the sheet and use it as a fence for the saw.

Another simpler approach will cost you a few dollars BUT is much simpler and faster. Go to Lowe's and purchase a Kreg rip saw jig. It attaches right to the circular saw and is easily adjusted for the rip.
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post #9 of 10 Old 07-02-2017, 01:45 PM
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I can't haul a full 4'x8' sheet of wood in my Tahoe, so I will get the sheet cut to 7' when I buy it. Free cut. I can load 7' x 4'.
Still a 7 x 4' sheet of 3/4" is too large for me to handle easily in my small shop so I break it down a little further when I get it home using my portable circular saw. Now I'm ready to start the project.
If you don't own a table saw, you can still build cabinets with a only portable circular saw. Many do.
A table saw is faster, but if you're competent with a Skilsaw, you can build some very nice cabinets.
A lot of job-site contractors will mount a Skilsaw under a sheet of plywood to give them a homemade table Saw of sorts. I personally have never mounted a Skilsaw. I prefer to cut from the top verses the bottom when using a Skilsaw.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #10 of 10 Old 07-02-2017, 02:56 PM
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Use bead board for the back and put a nailer near the top to hang the cabinet by. Forget the legs. A small cabinet probably doesn't need anything additional to keep it square. Just cut you parts square and your in. Screws are far better than nails. You will want to use a Skill saw for lots of cuts, guide it with a board clamped to the work.
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