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 Post subject: Bespoke wardrobe
PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 5:19 pm 
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Hi All

First post, but long time follower of the advice within the forum.

I'm planning on embarking on my first fitted wardrobe in our master bedroom. I plan to build bespoke sized MDF carcasses and then make shaker style MDF doors with Blum hinges. Its purely cost efficiency that is steering me this way, but I'm not sure if I'm right or not. I have produced a design (attached) and plan to use the cutting list to get the MDF cut to order, so I just have to drill and assemble. I have the ability and tools to do it myself, but little time and inadequate dust extraction for such a project.

One specific question is; how is best to fill the gaps between carcass and wall/ceiling/floor? I have purposely left the gaps large, to allow door clearance from radiators etc., positioning of assembled carcass modules and general installation tolerance.

Otherwise, I am just seeking assurance that I am approaching this in a half sensible manor. Am I missing any obvious options that will make this project cheaper/better?


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File comment: wardrobe design
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 Post subject: Re: Bespoke wardrobe
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:31 pm 
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Chadderz wrote:
Hi All
One specific question is; how is best to fill the gaps between carcass and wall/ceiling/floor? I have purposely left the gaps large, to allow door clearance from radiators etc., positioning of assembled carcass modules and general installation tolerance.


You would normally use a face frame / architrave around and above the unit and skirting or a foot plate below the units.

How big is the gap and can you keep them uniform in size.

ah


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 Post subject: Re: Bespoke wardrobe
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:32 pm 
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BtW, what application did you use for the drawings?

ah


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 Post subject: Re: Bespoke wardrobe
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:15 pm 
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Thanks.

The gaps on the side are roughly 108mm +/-10, the gaps on the top and bottom can be changed to suit. I currently have it 50 bottom and 20 top. I assumed I'd build some sort of leveled frame on the floor and then pivot the carcasses up onto it, one at a time. Maybe i'll lift the bottom up high enough to mimic the existing skirting in the room and use a face frame for the top and sides.

I've had a quote for £650 to supply all the MDF already cut to size including delivery (one-stop DIY). Seems reasonable as I've calculated 8 sheets of 12mm and 11 sheets of 18, but i suppose it depends on the quality. Its a lot of money to shell out if it turns up moist or damaged. I could reduce the number of sheets if I was to build in situ, rather than the carcass approach, but I think i would struggle with fixing the shelves back to back. I was just going use a mixture of glue and MDF screws and hope it is strong enough. I could also rout some rebates, but was trying to keep it fairly simple.

The design software is Autodesk Inventor. I use it for work producing pipework/steelwork drawings, but its also been helpful for a number of recent DIY projects.


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 Post subject: Re: Bespoke wardrobe
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:18 pm 
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Chadderz wrote:
I assumed I'd build some sort of leveled frame on the floor and then pivot the carcasses up onto it, one at a time. Maybe i'll lift the bottom up high enough to mimic the existing skirting in the room and use a face frame for the top and sides.

Excellent idea! That's a sensible and logical approach - it's far easier to make-up a softwood ladder frame, level it up then fix to the floor and build on that than to try working off the floor on a multiple carcass installation. I sometimes install pub/restaurant bars done like that and they are far, far easier to get right

Chadderz wrote:
Its a lot of money to shell out if it turns up moist or damaged.

You might want to consider using MR-MDF instead of ordinary MDF. It gives a better defined edge profile than ordinary MDF and absorbs paint more evenly. More of a consideration if you intend to route profile edge, perhaps. For the carcasses an alternative might be pre-edged MFC (melamine-faced chipboard). In my area we have a supplier (HPP of Oldham and Sheffield) who can supply pre-banded MFC rips in standard widths up to 600mm (x 2440mm long) and who offer a cutting service. Available in 15 and 18mm thicknesses. Backs of carcasses can be 8mm double sided MFC or MF-MDF (or pre-painted MDF or pre-painted hardboard) stapled or pinned into rebates or simply fixed onto the backs of carcasses. At least pre-finished material gets you around the task of painting it and MFC takes screws somewhat better than MDF does although it doesn't glue as well (I'd suggest that the screws contribute more to the overall strength, though, unless you go to biscuits, dowels or Dominos)

Chadderz wrote:
I could reduce the number of sheets if I was to build in situ, rather than the carcass approach, but I think i would struggle with fixing the shelves back to back.

I think you'll struggle, too. Apart from anything else once you get away from single carcasses the weight and size goes up making thing much more difficult to position, whilst the more joins you have the weaker the structure becomes - only an issue when manhandling stuff into place, but nevertheless a consideration. Many people are unaware that a single 1220 x 2440 sheet of MR-MDF weighs in at circa 45 to 50kg, so as things get bigger the weight soon gets to the point where it becomes tricky to lift and manouver single-handed

Chadderz wrote:
I was just going use a mixture of glue and MDF screws and hope it is strong enough. I could also rout some rebates, but was trying to keep it fairly simple.

If it isn't too onerous to undertake I'd suggest that rebating the back would allow you to use the back to stiffen the entire structure. You my want to consider hooking up your vacuum to the router, though, or at least work outside and wear a good dust mask. It's worthwhile investing in something like a Trend Snappy drill/countersink set - a #10 size (SNAP/CS/10 or SNAP/CS/10TC) should be good for 4.0 or 4.5mm screws. With MDF in particular care must be taken to ensure that the pilot hole is near to full depth and that the pilot hole is thoroughly cleaned out before screwing

Attachment:
Trend Snappy Drill Countersink Sets 001_01.jpg
Trend Snappy Drill Countersink Sets 001_01.jpg [ 21.93 KiB | Viewed 393 times ]


In terms of hiding the gaps you can go down to a 40mm scribe gap quite easily. If 2 x 1in (44 x 22mm) softwood battens are attached to the two gable ends, set back by 12mm from the face of the carcase, it should be possible to have some 50mm (depending on how good/bad your walls are) scribe strips ripped in 12mm MDF or MFC, etc which will install flush once you have scribed them to the wall with a jigsaw/belt sander/spokeshave*. Then ready to fit they can be simply glued and pinned to the battens (if MDF) or just glued using contact adhesive (if MFC or MF-MDF). The reason for using thinner material for the scribe strips is that it is far, far easier to scribe 8 to 12mm thick stuff accurately than 18mm stuff. Faster, too. The top can be dealt with in a similar manner using a single scribe strip, alternatively a single piece of 18mm fixed across the tops of the carcasses (from inside) and overhanging the doors slightly can be used to form a shadow detail between the carcasses and the ceiling. Less work than doing the scribes at the top. For a neat joint where the top scribe strip meats the upright scribe strips chamfer the joints then once assembled "wipe" the V-joint so made using a paintable caulk to get an inconspicuous shallow joint detail

* = delete as required

Notes:

MFC = melamine-faced chipboard, often use to manufacture flat pack furniture and kitchen units
MF-MDF = melamine-faced MDF
MR-MDF = moisture resistant MDF, often green in colour

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For this message the author Job and Knock has received gratitude : Dave54
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 Post subject: Re: Bespoke wardrobe
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:05 pm 
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Thanks for the detailed response Job and Knock. I'm feeling more confident already.

What are your thoughts on the doors? Will 12mm mdf with glued and pinned 12mm MDF strips (shaker style) be ok? I've seen a few people doing it online, but some saying they have a tendency to warp. I was going to use 4 no. Blum hinges on each.

Or, should I just buy some nice doors to suit?




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 Post subject: Re: Bespoke wardrobe
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:31 pm 
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Chadderz wrote:
What are your thoughts on the doors? Will 12mm mdf with glued and pinned 12mm MDF strips (shaker style) be ok? I've seen a few people doing it online, but some saying they have a tendency to warp. I was going to use 4 no. Blum hinges on each.

Or, should I just buy some nice doors to suit?

The biggest problem I'm aware of with the "faux" Shaker doors made that way is that you'll often struggle to get rid of the witness line on the edges where the two layers are glued together. I've had success doing it that way in the past, but also failures. If you have a router it should be possible to make your own doors using 18mm MR-MDF for the stiles and 6mm MR-MDF for the panels with 6mm MR-MDF for the splines to glue the rails to the stiles. I say MR because it's less likely to move/warp in service than ordinary. Making your own doors means that you could happily go to non-standard size cabinets

BTW 24mm is too thick for a lot of concealed hinges - the hinges are designed to handle 15 to 12 or 22mm hinges and will often bind on thicker doors, so you'd need to buy hinges specifically designed for the thicker doors

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