I need advice on my first cabinet build - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-10-2019, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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I need advice on my first cabinet build

Hi,

I've decided to build a small wall cabinet for our laundry room, which will be located directly under the existing cabinet. It will cover the gap at the back of the machines, so clothes can't fall behind them, as well as hiding the cords and water valve. I've attached an image showing the laundry room (the painter's tape marks available studs) and an image of what the cabinet should look like (without the face frame or doors).

The cabinet will be 58" wide by 14.5" tall. Since it's one small cabinet, I'm just going to use a couple 1x6's for the top, bottom and sides, so the depth, including the face frame, will be 6.25". There will not be a back on it. I'm planning to assemble the cabinet using pocket hole joinery, and I plan to assemble the entire unit before I mount it.

My questions are:

1) Should I build the cabinet as a single box (58" x 14.5") or two boxes (29" x 14.5") which would be screwed together? If I build it as a single box, I'd still put a divider in the center. The cabinet won't have any shelves, so there's no need for pins or any other type of shelf support.

2) As you can see in the picture, I need to accommodate the dryer power cord (I can bring the washing machine power cord in from behind, through the water valve box). I'd thought about putting a hole in the bottom of the cabinet for the dryer cord, but it would need to be 3" across, which would weaken the 5.5" wide board quite a bit. I'm thinking it would be better to cut out a small section of the stretcher frame and cut a small hole at the back of the bottom, so the cord can be located behind it as the cabinet is mounted. Does that sound like the best approach?

3) The existing cabinet is actually located about 1/4" from the wall on the left, and has a small piece of trim covering the gap. Is that better practice than trying to butt the cabinet directly against the wall?

That's all the questions I can think of. If you can see any issues I've overlooked, or if you have any other advice, it's greatly appreciated. Thanks for your help!
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-10-2019, 07:32 PM
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Instead of building a cabinet I would probably put a countertop over the appliances to the wall. To hide the plumbing and electrical you could just make the face of a cabinet with doors and put that between the counter and the cabinet. Still you have to consider the appliances won't last forever and new ones may be shorter or taller than what you have. The countertop could be easily moved but the faceframe would need to be replacable. It could be screwed to the counter and the cabinet above.
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post #3 of 10 Old 05-10-2019, 07:37 PM
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I agree with Steve, and the cabinet would block access to the power, supply lines, and drain. You don't need to access them often, but when you do you don't want a cabinet if front of them.

I would do a shelf also, if you want to hide the cords you could put a false back in it.
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post #4 of 10 Old 05-10-2019, 08:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shoot summ View Post
I agree with Steve, and the cabinet would block access to the power, supply lines, and drain. You don't need to access them often, but when you do you don't want a cabinet if front of them.

I would do a shelf also, if you want to hide the cords you could put a false back in it.
Actually you do need to access the plumbing often. I do work for a company that does fire and flood restoration and you would be surprised how many houses are flooded by a burst washer hose. I have since got my family to turn the water off after every use.
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-11-2019, 12:34 AM
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If the doors are going to be hinged conventionally, anything on the tops of the W/D will need to be moved to open the doors.

If you have only the two goals (hide hookups, prevent cloths from falling behind), then you could make a faux cabinet front and mount it hinged to the bottom of the existing cabinet.

We're eager to upgrade our W/D, but are waiting for the new generation of cordless/hoseless W/Ds to come out.
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post #6 of 10 Old 05-11-2019, 07:22 AM
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Actually you do need to access the plumbing often. I do work for a company that does fire and flood restoration and you would be surprised how many houses are flooded by a burst washer hose. I have since got my family to turn the water off after every use.
I should have stated that I haven't had to access it often, regardless, my point was, just like yours, that you need to leave access to them.
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post #7 of 10 Old 05-11-2019, 07:50 AM Thread Starter
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I've been mulling over this project for about a month. I started out thinking just a small shelf at the back, enough to cover the gap behind the machines; then maybe a false back to hide everything. I'd also considered a counter-top - I didn't look into that a lot, so I'm not sure what would be required to "float" one over the machines; but there is not a wall available to support it on the right-side and I'd still have to deal with the connections at the back. There is already a small counter-top (you can just see the top of the back-splash next to the dryer), with a base cabinet and sink, so we'd have two different counter-tops right next to each other.

I also realize these won't last forever and their size may change - this is a brand-new pair that just replaced our 20-year old Maytag pair (the washer completely fried). It's crazy how much larger the capacity has become. But we have a 7-year warranty on this set, and I'd like to think we can at least get ten years out of them. It's hard to say what the machines will look like by then.

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Actually you do need to access the plumbing often. I do work for a company that does fire and flood restoration and you would be surprised how many houses are flooded by a burst washer hose. I have since got my family to turn the water off after every use.
We have never had an issue in the past, but we also err on the side of caution. The water hoses are the braided stainless steel type, and they have some type of valve inside them that is suppose to shut off the water flow if they detect a burst in the line. We also turn off the water at the shut-off when we're not doing laundry (hard to tell in the picture, but the valve is in the off position).

Having an open back cabinet will allow access to the shut-off and the cords (although I don't see a lot of need for the cords). I plan to hinge the doors conventionally, so you're correct that nothing could be on the machines when we open them, but we don't keep anything on them. We do use them for folding clothes, which is why this whole project has come about. My thought is also that in a worst-case scenario, the entire cabinet can be removed by taking out the six mounting screws.

I'm sorry if I didn't provide some useful information initially, but I didn't want the post to be too long.

So, if I proceed with the cabinet idea, does anyone have any thoughts on my three questions? Thanks to all of you for you input and advice!

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post #8 of 10 Old 05-11-2019, 08:04 AM
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I'll make one last observation, it appears you don't have the bases for the machines?

They will close that gap between the machines and the cabinets, and puts the machines at a much better height.

I know they seem expensive, it's the standard for us, we get them on every set we've had.
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-11-2019, 09:46 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shoot summ View Post
I'll make one last observation, it appears you don't have the bases for the machines?

They will close that gap between the machines and the cabinets, and puts the machines at a much better height.

I know they seem expensive, it's the standard for us, we get them on every set we've had.
We did look at them, and they would be nice. These new machines are roughly the size of our old ones, but the capacity is 50% larger, which means the drums on these sit even closer to the floor (even more bending to load/unload). They would raise the machines to just under the existing cabinet, which would cover everything behind them (including the cords and water shut-off). The cost seemed pretty high (I believe they were over 25% of what the machines cost on sale), especially for an unplanned purchase. Plus we would no longer be able to use the tops of the machines for folding clothes. Still, something we'll consider in the future as we continue to get older!

Thanks!
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-11-2019, 10:11 AM
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What I have done before installing a countertop over a washer/dryer is to put 1x2 on the wall on each side and a strip across the back. I use just a plain countertop without a premade backsplash. If one can't be located you might be able to turn it upside down and rip the backsplash off. Then just lay the countertop on where it could be removed if need be. If the electrical is coming up through the floor it wouldn't be that difficult to move the outlets down below the appliances where they would be out of sight. The plumbing would need to stay were it is because of the drain.
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