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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:15 am 
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Just finished doing a front extension to my house (built the full width of the house, knocked a few internal walls down as well as the original facade) which has made the hallway rather large. It now measures 4.47m x 3m. I was thinking of having a bespoke floor to ceiling cabinet consisting of shoe racks at the bottom and shelves at the top. The shoe racks will be concealed behind doors and the shelves will be irregular in size and layout. The cabinet will cover a wall the size of 4.47m long and 2.4m high and will be 36cm deep. It will be composed of two parts due to a 37cm concrete column dividing the wall. One part will be 1.07m x 2.4m and the other will be 3.33m x 2.4m. Is this something that I can tackle by myself (novice diy-er) or should I get a joiner in? If I went for the joiner option what sort of rough figure should I expect to pay?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:59 am 
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If you can cut and edge mfc yourself and are able to bore hinges I don't see why not if you wish to connect it with modesty blocks. If you can't then get in a joiner/cabinet maker. The price range can be huge. Anywhere from £800 upwards.



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:05 am 
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No reason that you cannot do this yourself. I recall that you have a router from previous posts so it is a straight forward job of building boxes. Get the MDF cut at a woodyard, it saves a lot of messing around with heavy sheets of MDF.

I would use housing joints and to cut the housings I would make a up a simple jig so you can use a bearing guide to cut the repetitive channels. Stop short of the edges to give a stopped housing joint. I would cut some lipping for the face edges of the MDF to give a nicer finish. On the wider unit you need to brace the shelves through to avoid sag on the wide spans.

Resist the temptation to put it together and paint it up before assembly, it makes life so much easier. Also do the final assembly close to the installation point.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:22 pm 
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Good memory dwd I do indeed have the Makita RT0700cx2 router. I am not a professional that uses routers on a daily basis but I can handle one relatively well.

Housing joints look quite decent and fairly simple to make. I might have to get someone to fit the doors on the bottom cupboards though as I usually struggle with that task. And I might have to ask for some advice in respect to building the simple jig to cut the repetitive channels.

Are there any particular manuals/books about making joints and cabinets that you guys would reccommend for a novice like me? I have seen a couple on Amazon like the ones below:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-Guide ... 5V8QQW9DGK

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Illustrated-Ca ... KYSWD4J68V

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0007164424/ ... LVRV&psc=0

Are these good enough to get me started?

I was thinnking of using 25mm thick plywood like the one in the link below but it looks quite expensive. Is pine or some other softwood cheaper?
https://www.travisperkins.co.uk/Hardwoo ... m/p/235991

Rather than lipping the face edges of the plywood I was thinking of using oak planks that I can attach to them in order to give the whole thing a better and more substantial look.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:45 pm 
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This is how I tackled a very similar project.
It was for a floor to ceiling bookcase about 4m wide.
This was the drawing I did for the client to explain how I was going to construct it.
It was built in five seperate units and then the oak face frame was fixed to the front.

Image

The (light coloured in the drawing) full length uprights were 12mm ply, the darker boards were all oak veneered 19mm ply.
The veneered ply was fixed through the sides of the uprights so no visible screws.
I built each unit face down on the floor on top of a board so it was all absolutely flush at the front. Started with screwing the bottom piece to the side then placed the shelf (not screwing it yet) then screwed the next shelf suppoting side piece in place and then went back to fix the shelf (having the side boards top and bottom meant the shelf didn't split when the screws went into the ends).
A back board of 6mm veneered ply was nailed to the back and each of the units were stood upright in position (remember to allow enough gap at the top for this) and fixed to the wall with 'L' shaped brackets as I did each one. These were hidden at the back by the next unit and at the front by the trim pieces.
The shelf supports at the front were fixed 19mm from the top of the back of the 62mm high horizontal shelf trims and these were fitted and screwed into the uprights (which are now 62mm thick because there were 4 sheets of ply together so plenty of room for screws).
I cut each of these shelf supports to cover two or three units units rather than as singles as in the pic and staggered the joint on the way down.
The top one was deeper so it could be scribed to the ceiling.
Half lap joints had been cut in these shelf supports/trims the width of the uprights.
I then added the vertical trims (62mm wide) to cover the screws of the shelf supports and the ends of the ply uprights. These were fixed through the front and plugged, they are the only visible fixings.
The sides overhung as there were only two sheets of ply and were scribed to the wall covering the gap where the sides wouldn't touch the wall due to the skirting and covering any irregularities in the wall.
Finally the skirting was continued from the rest of the room across the front of the shelves.

This is the end result:

Image

I built this over a year ago and they have lots of heavy books on them and not a sign of any bowing, you could probably store elephants on them ;)
The timber cost about £900 (oak isn't cheap, nor is the veneered ply) and it took me two days to put together and another to sand and wax.
I bought whole sheets and cut them down, but you could save some time in assembly by getting all the bits cut to size.

If I did it again I would probably get the vertical oak front pieces a mm or so wider and sand it down afterwards to make sure it covers the front of the ply comfortably as getting 4 sheets of ply perfectly fixed together can be a challenge. There are a couple of places where the end of the veneer on the ply is visible.... but you have to look really hard to see it.

I did do a drawing for a version with cupboards, but they went with the option of just having shelves.

Image

Hope that helps seeing how somebody else attacked a similar projet, let me know if you have any questions



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:24 pm 
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Have a look at this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycp9fDPO4SU which shows how to make a jig for housings. The yanks call them dados but we call the housing joints.

As far as fitting doors I would use kitchen door style cup hinges. You need a cutter like this to sink the mortice for the cups see https://www.toolstation.com/shop/p67418 ... =35mm%20hi

Go to a good wood yard and get cabinet grade ply. You can order veneered ply too but it is pricey. I assumed you were going for MDF units painted white.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:02 pm 
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Mike, thank you very much. That is very helpful.

My girlfriend works for BQ so we get 20%off and I noticed on their website that they have 2.4x1.2m hardwood plywood (18mm thick) for £34. I intend to paint the whole thing in a dark grey so no need to go for oak veneered. With that in mind I can also use softwood instead of oak for the face frame.

Can I use box joints instead of screwing the panels together? I realise that using screws would be an easier and faster method but I am thinking that this would be the perfect opportunity for me to practice using the router. Time is not an issue either.

I am also thinking of building the whole thing in separate units as well. I am clear about two of the units but I am not sure what approach I am going to take about the rest of them because they will not be uniform but rather irregular in shape and size. Will post a rough picture soon to demonstrate my thoughts. I am not quite sure if there is any rules of design for cabinet making similar to the rules of composition in photography (like the rule of thirds, etc).


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:46 pm 
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I'm not sure how you'll get the joints done with box joints to be honest. Someone with more experience will have to answer that one.
My solution for my job was aimed at keeping things as simple as possible for the given result and with good strength. It is just rectangular pieces of ply screwed together with a half lapped face frame.
The client wanted the minimum amount of visible fixings and to look like a single piece (hence matching the oak with the veneer and using a face frame), They would have liked solid oak, but that was out of budget.

It was all done on site with just a table saw, a hand saw, a chisel, and a jigsaw for the scribing cuts.
If you are going to paint it then the face frame could be simplified and there would be no need for the half lapped joints and you could butt joint that as you'll be able to fill any gaps or screw holes.

As DWD said, an alternative is to use the router to create dado grooves, I just wanted the shelves to have more support on the ends.

As for design, symmetry is always good as far as I'm concerned. You may notice that I've set out mine so the narrower shelving sections are at each side. I've also put the tallest shelves at the bottom, that seems to work for me too. (all the top 4 shelves are the same height even though it doesn't look like it in the photo because there is a bit of an optical illusion going on for some reason.)

Sorry its a rubbish photo, but my phone's camera isn't too good and that overhead light confused it a bit as well.



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:20 am 
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I think that a little 700 watt router is going to be hard pressed to make a full width (18mm) housing joints in MFC (NOT dado - a dado is a chair rail moulding stuck on the wall :roll: ). That's based on having used the RT0700 for long enough that I've learned to avoid pushing the envelope in terms of the cutter diameter I use on it (the issue isn't power - it's the ability of the rather small collet to hold a large diameter cutter). Personally I think that housing joints weaken MFC, but then there's the question of just how do you fix (secure) the joint? Glue alone won't be strong enough in MFC as it's a bit like glueing Wheetabix (and in any case you'll need two sash-type cramps for every joint to get even half-way decent joints), you can't dowel it because after you've trenched 18mm MFC there isn't enough thickness left in the uprights to dowel it, for the same reason you can't biscuit it, so that leaves you with nailing or screwing - but those options are unsightly at best in MFC, and you can't fill the holes they make or plug them. The best invisible ways to joint MFC are to make a butt joint and then dowel, biscuit or Domino it - all solutions which will require cramps (2 per joint) and extra equipment. Of course you can use mod blocks on the inside instead, but they are rather untidy looking.

Plywood is very expensive and in any cas B&Q aren't noted for the quality of their plywood. I think that MDF is actually a better choice (MR-MDF for preference as it gives a far better edge finish) providing that you can learn how to sand and paint it (it isn't difficult). Want a wood finish? Have a look at veneered MDF, but realise that you will need to lip or edge band it and that you will need also need to hand sand it before lacquering it (machine sanding runs the risk of sanding through the veneer). You also have to consider using an invisible joining technique unless you intend to build-up multiple layers if structure to hide the screw heads. On painted finish you can pilot and countersink the screw holes then simply screw the unit together and any holes left are filled with 2-pack filler, sanded back and painted. I'd suggest that carcass screws are your best bet for the assembly. Housings are then really more a matter of preference. Personally I don't find them necessary most of the time. Face frames? I think that they are not an optimum solution for book shelves as they tend to limit access to the end books on the shelves - I'm pretty sure the Yanks put them on to hide those godawful housed joints they insist on using (because they are dumb and know no better, I suppose) the same way that they double-up on the end panels (to hide the screw or nail heads). Maybe it's because they have table saws with dado heads (and as we all know if all you have is a hammer, then everything else is a nail). That Norm has a lot to answer for

Have you addressed the issue of the back? A rebate can be cut at the backs of all the panels to allow something like a 12mm sheet of MDF to be dropped-in and then glued and pinned or stapled in place. If tightly cut a rebated back will become add significantly to the stiffness of the book shelves

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OK, I'm an "old school" chippie, so please don't ask me to do a bodge job - I didn't bring my horse today and in any case you don't seem to have a hitching rail!



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:31 am 
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Whilst I accept J&N is far more knowledgeable and experienced than my amateur ramblings I have made units in MDF using housing joints. I have two units I made in 12mm MDF which are as good today as when I made them 12 plus years ago. Admittedly these have 6mm back boards rebated in so the structures are a very firm box. One is a tall narrow free standing cabinet in the main bathroom and the other is a wall fixed dresser type floor to ceiling cabinet in our ensuite/dressing room.

On the router front the thing about using a lower powered router with a jig and a guide bush is that you can use a smaller cutter and do multiple passes so as to not overwork the motor and cutter. You can only take this approach if time is of no importance as it would not be economically viable if you were being paid for the job.

As always there are lots of ways to do things and if what comes out at the end does the job for you then it is right. May I suggest doing a trial box with some off cut pieces so you can make up a jig and get an idea how it works before embarking on your project. Wear a mask and work outside with MDF is bloody horrible stuff

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:16 am 
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Job and Knock wrote:
housing joints (NOT dado - a dado is a chair rail moulding stuck on the wall :roll: ).

Noted for future use, won't refer to them as that again :oops:
Job and Knock wrote:
Face frames? I think that they are not an optimum solution for book shelves as they tend to limit access to the end books on the shelves

Indeed. That's why on mine I made the face frame the same width as the board ends it was covering so there was no overhang and the sides were flush (the horizontal ones where it supported the front edge of the shelves had an overhang, but the lip is less of a pain there and I needed the depth for strength and aesthetics).



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:40 am 
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Looking at your job Mike (it turned out really well) I see that the housing were 'created' rather than cut by building the sides in lamination. Quite a good idea really if you don't have a router and maybe it is an approach that Mahoak should consider.

As I said there are many ways to do a job :thumbright:

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:56 pm 
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dewaltdisney wrote:
I have made units in MDF using housing joints.

I'm taking a sort of holistic approach to this - making a piece of furniture is only part of the job because you still have to move it into position and that is where housed joints in MFC and MDF are at their weakest, more so with MFC. With a back rebated and screwed/glued/pinned/stapled the structure becomes a lot more rigid.

mike10"}[quote="Job and Knock wrote:
Face frames? I think that they are not an optimum solution for book shelves as they tend to limit access to the end books on the shelves

Indeed. That's why on mine I made the face frame the same width as the board ends it was covering so there was no overhang and the sides were flush (the horizontal ones where it supported the front edge of the shelves had an overhang, but the lip is less of a pain there and I needed the depth for strength and aesthetics).[/quote]
In making a double-skinned unit, though, you considerably increased the amount of material used but the strength probably is no greater than a single skin item and I'll bet it weighed a ton (in MDF it certainly would have). Not an issue if you are assembling stuff in-situ, but again something which needs to be taken into consideration a bit of a downer if you need to make something in the garage and then take it, say, upstairs. The OP probably isn't aware that a sheet (2440 x 1220) of 18mm MDF weighs in at circa 50kg. I understand where you are coming from in terms of the aesthetics, though

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OK, I'm an "old school" chippie, so please don't ask me to do a bodge job - I didn't bring my horse today and in any case you don't seem to have a hitching rail!



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:22 pm 
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mahoak wrote:
I have seen a couple on Amazon like the ones below:

(see links in text)

Are these good enough to get me started?

Of those the Collins book (last one) is one I have given as a present several times over the years. It covers a lot of the basics, like encyclopedia Britannica or a glossary, but doesn't have too much by way of "worked examples". Bullard I don't know and the Hylton book is a bit advanced for a beginner, I feel. I think it sort of depends on what you want to make and the tool kit you own. If you want to take a more project-based approach then you could always take a look at Chris Simpson's "Essential Guide to Woodwork" (for only a few quid if you buy second-hand) which is recent enough for the projects to look reasonable in today's setting including stuff like modular storage cubes, small table, garden pergola, CD racks, linen press, home office, etc set-out basic-intermediate-advanced in such a way as to help the reader build their level of expertise gradually - as opposed to tackling a project which is beyond their toolkit, knowledge or ability (which can often put people off a hobby completely). Like a lot of these books it has a large amount of stuff (too much) about the huge tool kit you need (you don't) but it is well illustrated and gives some aesthetic and technical background to many of the projects. Even if you don't make anything in the book it is well illustrated and can "give you ideas". Here are a few (badly photographed) projects from the book:

Attachment:
Chris Simpson Storage Cube 001_01.JPG
Chris Simpson Storage Cube 001_01.JPG [ 19.85 KiB | Viewed 264 times ]

Attachment:
Chris Simpson Small Table 001_01.JPG
Chris Simpson Small Table 001_01.JPG [ 21.8 KiB | Viewed 264 times ]


If you want something packed with worth while (i.e. with more of a design element) projects, there's Popular Woodworking's "Build Your Own Contemporary Furniture". OK, it's American, so you have to be wary of the technical nomenclature and the materials chosen (maple isn't cheap here - sycamore is, same family - and plywood used - way too pricey here, etc) but it's actually quite good and the projects cover a lot of the elements a DIYer would want to incorporate in his/her own pieces. 22 good looking modernish designs, including coffee tables, wardrobes, Murphy (fold-away) bed, book shelves. etc. Just don't get too hung up on buying every American tool in the book!

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OK, I'm an "old school" chippie, so please don't ask me to do a bodge job - I didn't bring my horse today and in any case you don't seem to have a hitching rail!



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:39 pm 
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Thank you very much for the sound advice so far guys. It has certainly given me an insight into things I need to consider which i hadnt thought of before.

dwd you are right, time is not an issue. The primary aim here is to have something decent built for my house with my own hands, secondary aim is to learn as much as I can from this project/opportunity and third aim is to save some money in the process (if possible). If this was a straight forward project where the whole thing was symetrical then I could have gone the way mike did with his project. However, I have complicated things (as I usually do :oops: ). The main unit is going to have cupboardson bottom third with shoe shelves inside (5 people with a lot of shoes in this house, my teenage son has at least 10 pairs and then there's 3 girls\women :shock: :shock: :mrgreen: ). The top 2/3 of the unit will not be just rows of symetrical shelves but rather irregular ones in size and shape (I'll post a pic in a min to demonstrate what I am thinking). I can use housing joints or screwing methods for the bottom cupboards but am not sure if that would be doable for the top ones.

The unit will be put together in the hallway itself. I get the point that both ply and mdf would be quite heavy. I didnt realise that plywood weighed that much. What about using pine or any other softwood? Would that be a better, lighter and sturdier option? Luckily the unit is only 360mm deep so something like this should do the job easily? https://www.swanseatimber.co.uk/softwoo ... oup%20%231


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