Build and Install a Medicine Cabinet
Step 2: Cutting the Parts
We'll start by building the carcase, which sounds an awful lot like “carcass” because it's what cabinetmakers call the carcass—or body—of a cabinet.
After you ripsaw (cut lengthwise) the carcase parts, saw them to length. If you don't have a miter box, use a hand saw, a hand miter box, a table saw, or a circular saw.
Step 3: Cutting the Dadoes
This project depends on dadoes—rectangular cutouts—to hold other parts in position. On the sides, dadoes 1⁄4" deep by 3⁄4" wide hold the glass and wooden shelves. The sides, top, and bottom all get 1⁄4" × 1⁄4" dadoes to hold the back.
You can cut these dadoes with a router, a table saw, or a circular saw. To cut with a circular saw, clamp some guides to the pieces and cut repeatedly to make the width you need.
Step 4: Assembling the Cabinet
With the dadoes finished, cut the plywood back to size and dry-fit the parts (assemble them without glue). If the carcase passes this test, start the gluing ceremony. Use regular carpenter's wood glue.
Follow these suggestions for a painless, accurate glue job:
Carpenter's glue requires a tight fit. If you are short of clamps, use two 2" drywall screws per connection. Don't overdrive the screws and strip the holes.
Have a wet rag handy for cleaning up glue squeeze-out. Squeeze-out is a good thing. When some glue gets squeezed out under clamp pressure, you know you've used enough glue.
Spread glue with a scrap of wood or cardboard.
Work quickly. Finish the assembly before the glue starts drying—15 minutes or less.
Glue, assemble, and clamp the sides to the top, bottom, and wooden shelf. Place the wooden shelf 1⁄4" from the back so it aligns with the back dadoes. Clean glue squeeze-out. Nail the bottom in place with 1" ring-shank panel nails (colored to match the stain you'll use on the cabinet). Space the nails 6" apart. Nail at an angle so nails don't poke through the melamine.
Leave the clamps for a half-hour while the glue dries. Slip the glass shelves into the dadoes. Lightly glue and nail the front edging to the front of the carcase and the wooden shelf, using panel nails.
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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Simple Home Improvements Â© 2004 by David J. Tenenbaum. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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