Base Cabinet Awesomeness

Submitted by romanweel on Fri, 06/21/2013 - 12:34

This is the very best thing about DIY: the ability to fill the gaps beautifully. This cabinet filled what was once a big, weird gap in my mother-in-law's kitchen (as in, hey why'd you take that cabinet out?? Oh, there never was one? Um, weird.). Of course the dimensions of the gap weren't standard...even if we'd wanted to buy a flat-pack cab, it wouldn't have fit. So I borrowed some elements of Ana's cabinets, some dresser plans, and some internet inspiration and came up with this.

I'm disappointed I never took any photos with the drawers open...they are pictured in the third "more" picture. The one on the left has a drawer box on top (holds silverware now) with two storage shelves below for flour and sugar and the George Foreman grill. The right drawer (the one with the angled strut things) is kind of odd, I know, and I'm sure there's a more elegant way I could have accomplished it, but this is what I ended up doing (it felt like I was making it up as I went along, and I'm just glad it works!). It has that first very low shelf to accommodate the stand mixer in order to get the mixer off the counter, but not so low that my aging MIL can't lift it onto the counter to use it. All she has to do is lift it about a foot and slide it back onto the counter to make her some cookies! The pull-out cutting board is the same maple butcher block as the counter (but the counter is 1.5", and the board is only 1"). It is 22" long, so she can pull it out for added prep space, then pull it ALL the way out to wash it in the sink.

The carcass is 3/4" ply with 1x2 pine trim and 2x2 pine legs. If I did it over again, I'd use the more expensive 2x2 poplar posts for the legs, simply because they had better edges. The counter supports are poplar, as is the middle divider, the cutting board supports, and the fancy footer. There are two strips of 1/4" ply backing the footer to keep bits and pieces from escaping under the cabinet. The "drawers" are a mix of 1/2" ply, poplar, and pine mounted on full-extension glides. The faces are made of 1/2" ply panels framed in cast-off maple floor boards. I took the floor boards, cut off the tongue, and cut off half the groove wall to make one single ~1/4" lip on each board so that the ply would nest nicely behind. You might have to see it up close to understand.

The butcher block is not DIY...after an extensive internet research session, I determined I would need to purchase planing and jointing tools and specialty glue to do this project correctly; so I purchased the top and the cutting board from a local cabinetmaker instead. The counter is sealed on the bottom, back, and sides with marine spar varnish, and given seven solid dosings of plain mineral oil (sold at the pharmacy, apparently it's a natural laxative). Once the block is very well seasoned, I may come over and wax it for added protection, but from what I've read, this should do it pretty well for now.

Estimated Cost
$175 for the base, purchased butcher block for $300
Estimated Time Investment
Weekend Project (10-20 Hours)
Type of Wood
3/4 and 1/2" ply, pine, and poplar
Finish Used
2 coats of primer, one coat of SW ProClassic extra white in semi-gloss
Countertop soaked in straight food-grade mineral oil
Recommended Skill Level


In reply to by JoanneS


Sat, 06/22/2013 - 13:14

I think the countertop is what really makes it...but I am super proud! Last year at this time, I was doing well just to get a straight cut on a board that wasn't 1/4" too long or short!

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