Saturday, May 2, 2015

workshop cabinetry progress

Well I've been busy making plywood boxes inside boxes. Working with sheets of plywood tests the muscular endurance quite a bit. Feeling pretty beat up but I think this cabinet/drawer installation will really help keep a lot tools/supplies/documentation out of the dust shroud that covers every surface here.

I used 3/4 birch ply for the cabinet carcasses with whatever extra scraps of cbx ply were kicking around the shop. Drawers and drawer fronts are 1/2" with 1/4" bottoms. Used lock-rabbet joints for drawer boxes. Full extension 75# sidemount drawer slides from Lee Valley when they had free shipping recently. they work okay, but demand you be really accurate with your drawer box sizes. I did okay, none of them were binding irretrevably and I didn't need to shim them.

This is General Finish's Milk Paint that I mixed in various amounts of Corinth Blue, Black, and Brick Red. I wanted to aim for a slate-purple but nobody around here sees it as purple. I'm colorblind and so it looked OK to me when I mixed it. I like the flat/velvety finish of milk paint well. It will scuff up a bit and that's OK.

I have my hand-tool box perched on the two ammo cans there temporarily. That space will open underneath the counter. I'll position the grinder and various sharpening habiliments on the countertop there eventually. Maybe a pattern maker's vice, too, if I can find one.

Sarah thought i was being pretty clever with my plywood portaging hack here, but there are plenty of ideas on the web of folks doing something similar. It really helps and I highly recommend you make yourself one if you're carrying even one sheet around. I can and have injured myself carrying these sheets around. My shoulders, and back do not regret it at all!

Here, i'm a bit farther along, all the drawerfronts have been applied, and there's a 2x4 web that I'm stringing across there for the "countertop" which will be 3/4 cbx ply and then 1/4 masonite.

Here are my quick-n-dirty drawer-pulls. You can imagine these being done on the tablesaw, first rabbet the edge of a board along the length, then rip to thickness, then cut the resulting stick to 4" segments, then a jig/sled that holds them at 45deg to take that last little nibble out. They are easy to grab hold of in the shop though probably not what you'd want to use in a more domestic setting :-)

the 1/2" plywood had a fair number of voids in it at $33.88 per sheet from MacBeath lumber in Berkeley.


  1. This is a spectacular shop. It's a vast change from when I first laid eyes on this building some years ago! I think you will really appreciate the effort and energy placed in this improvement as you embark on the other main events that will be taking place here. It is good experience getting ready for the full onslaught of the planned kitchen renovation over there across the yard at niner-one-niner, eh? It almost looks like spacecraft could be built here! Very clean, indeed.

  2. I like the idea of not labeling everything. Like the old (unlabeled) '58 220S Mercedes with the thick, beautifully carved log of birch made up for the instrument panel: "If you gotta ask or can't remember what button or lever it is, well, then, son, maybe you shouldn't be driving it..."

  3. Ingenious solution to carrying sheet goods. Nice shop

  4. Your shop looks great. Did you topcoat the milk paint? I made a tool chest recently and put a coat or two of Tried & True Oil/Wax finish. It darkens the paint and gives it a nice sheen. Might not be necessary with General's milk paint, I used the powdered stuff.

  5. thanks mr. mcglynn - always like seeing your G&G revival projects on your site. that work is timeless and you do an impeccable job.

    There's no topcoat here. I know it'll get scuffed up a bit but I'm hopeful that the weathering will add to the charm. Plus it affords the opportunity to easily apply different colors in the future if i want to. The drawerfronts are just half inch ply with no edge banding. (unlike the cupboard doors which are 3/4 and are banded).

    I want to try the powdered stuff in the future (general's paint was $18/pint retail). Word is that it takes a lot of effort to mix.