Date: 30 July 21, 06:15 AM
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 Custom Garage Cabinets



scuzzy


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I spent the last week completing some cabinets for my garage. I built the first cabinet some 3-or-so years ago, and I finally found the time and extra funds to complete the job.

The first cabinet, which I built from my design, replaced a crappy assemble-it-yourself cabinet that was falling apart after our move.  After searching for some possible replacements, I realized that the only way to get something truly decent was to make my own. The final product was a very solid, roomy cabinet. My wife has used it primarily as a pantry for canned goods and other food related stuff.

Each shelf (4 total) is framed with 2x3 studs that were glued and screwed together. Each is topped with 1/2" plywood that is screwed down to the frame. The frames were individually mounted to the wall studs using 5/16" lag screws. The siding and doors consist of 3/4" plywood, which is additionally supported near the front with 2x4 studs from top to floor. By my estimate, each shelf can easily support 100+ lbs. The cabinet is sturdy enough that the doors alone can support my full weight (170 lbs).

Since I knew that the primary purpose of the cabinet was for food items, I took great care to seal the wood with several coats of semi-gloss polyurethane. The cabinet was also built to tight tolerances to minimize dust and pest infestations. Every crevice was sealed off with clear silicone caulking.

The below picture shows the cabinet, along with a metal rack shelf that was in need of a new home so I could finish my project.

Click the image for the full picture:



scuzzy


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The new design was to create a new, secondary cabinet to mirror the original. However, I decided on open space shelving between the 2 cabinets. The final result would be:

[3-ft wide original cabinet, 24" deep] [5-ft wide open shelving, 23" deep] [3-ft wide secondary cabinet, 24" deep]

The final product is 11-ft wide. With 4 shelves, it provides nearly 88-square feet of shelf space.

To get started, I cleared out the area for the new shelving. Then I attached a leveled 2x4x8 stud across the bottom as support, and as a starting point to ensure that the final product would be at the exact, needed height:



Next I cut the materials to the appropriate sizes before beginning assembly:



Then I started building the shelf frames for the new cabinet. The frames are glued together and clamped down with heavy duty 3" screws:



scuzzy


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Not everything went as smooth as I hoped, as I was hit with an occasional blunder.  ::)

After making 2 frames for the cabinet and cutting out some plywood shelves, I put the cabinet box together. I was so proud of myself that the finished box was very close to perfectly square:



Unfortunately, it was perfectly wrong. I failed to notice that I used the other two shelves as siding. DUH! After kicking myself (not too hard) I corrected my mistake:



Once corrected, I mounted the new cabinet box in it's proper location and ensured everything was level:



After the cabinet was mounted, I placed a straight edge 2x4x8 across the top. I then placed my level on top and was pleased to find that the heights of both cabinets were perfectly even:



Next was the labor of building and installing the other two shelves and getting them perfectly spaced:


scuzzy


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Once the second cabinet was completed, it was time to start on the center shelves. I deemed it best to build the frames for the center shelves directly to the walls and cabinets to ensure I could maintain the tight tolerances. However, I would then have to disassemble each frame so that I could glue and screw the center cross braces, and then reassemble again. It was a lot of effort:






scuzzy


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Next was custom cutting and installing the center shelves. That provided another headache as the only thing that I have to make cross cuts on long, wide boards is a very old Black and Decker scroll saw. For what it's worth, I make very accurate free-handed cuts.  ;D

Another headache was having to disassemble the top 3 frames before mounting the plywood. Due to various factors, each plywood shelf had to be mounted to the frame with a lot of open space above, or I could not get it to fit in place.

The final result turned out pretty nice:




scuzzy


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Below is the semi-almost-finished project. I ran out of time and will need to wait 2 or 3 weeks before I can mount the doors and polyurethane/seal the whole thing. For what it's worth, it's already sanded down. BTW: the top shelf mated perfectly with the first cabinet. It is one continuous, level 11-ft long shelf.

It took a week to get this far, which included designing the project and a couple trips to the local home supply store (Lowe's), along with too many coffee breaks. But my wife is quite pleased with the results, so all the hard work was worth it.

Please note that I am anything but a professional when it comes to designing and building these sorts of projects. I probably use too many materials and create more work than necessary. But I take a lot of pride in my work and I usually have fun along the way. Regardless, I'm guessing my projects will be around long after I'm gone:  ;)

Before:



After:


scuzzy


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That's just the camera lens. The wood is straight and flat.

The doors are fairly straight and kept closed with magnets. They are not air tight, but snug enough to get the job done.

I'll see how it goes with the doors for the new cabinet, as the 3/4" plywood is warped a little. It's currently on a flat surface held down by several pounds of iron. I doubt that it will get the warpage out, but it's not severe.

scuzzy


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Only a very low vehicle and low flying squirrels. The bottom of the doors are about 2 feet off the ground.

Scuzzy; watch out for that tree!

Bill


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That's quite a project; nicely done.

Bill
Fractal Design R5 | Asus  Z170 Pro | Intel i5 6600k | 16 GB G.Skill Ripjaws  DDR4 2133 | Seasonic 650w PSU | eVGA GTX 550 TI | Samsung 960 M2 500 GB | Samsung 850 EVO 500 GB | ASUS Burner | Windows 7 64-bit

scuzzy


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pat


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Very nice and looks to be very strong.

That sure is a big box of goldfish, I didn't know they came that big.
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scuzzy


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scuzzy


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JA,

You asked if the cabinet doors will clear a vehicle. Last night I parked my Dodge Viper V10 next to the new cabinet to find out:



scuzzy


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scuzzy


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I added the plywood doors to the new cabinet a couple of weeks ago, but I had to deal with a bit of warping. It was enough that it was quite noticeable and it detracted from a professional finish. Both doors were affected. The left door was poking out at the top and the right door was poking out at the bottom.

I came up with an idea to forcefully bend the plywood in the opposite direction of the warp by using a clamp and a small block of wood. I kept it clamped overnight and it took out a significant amount of the warp, but not enough to my satisfaction. So I gave it another try and again set it overnight. The second time brought the warp down sufficiently to where the door closes and aligns properly. I performed the same steps on the second door until I got the desired results.

Now both doors close nicely and are held secured with cabinet door magnets from the inside. They are not showroom perfect, but I got enough of the warp out that it is no longer unsightly. My wife shopped at Costco yesterday and has already begun putting the new cabinet and shelving to good use.

This was the problem:


This was my solution:


This is the final result:


scuzzy


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I suppose the warping might return to some degree or another. It's not like if I got 100% of it out. If so, I'll try the same solution and maybe extend the clamping time.

I don't think moisture will be a problem in the future, since I sealed both sides of the doors with a couple coats of polyurethane. But I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination. FWIW: We don't normally deal with high humidity in this area of Colorado.

There are 3 sets of magnets for each door to keep them closed. One set on the top, one at the bottom, and one directly under the second shelf. You can see the center set in the second photo that shows the clamping. The magnets are fairly strong and should help reduce any further warping. Or at least I hope.  :P

Bill


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Just out of curiosity, what is the electronic looking box under the shelf in the open middle section?

Bill
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scuzzy


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I wondered if anyone would notice. :)

It's and old surge protector that I had sitting around. Since the open shelf was built around a power outlet, I installed the power strip for convenience.

Here's a closer look. It's a very solid attachment:


Bill


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Good idea.  I also happen to be a fan of 'something' and tonic!

Bill
Fractal Design R5 | Asus  Z170 Pro | Intel i5 6600k | 16 GB G.Skill Ripjaws  DDR4 2133 | Seasonic 650w PSU | eVGA GTX 550 TI | Samsung 960 M2 500 GB | Samsung 850 EVO 500 GB | ASUS Burner | Windows 7 64-bit