Making a Custom Built-In Cabinet

We have this wall that comes out to create a natural cubby area in our dinning room. To me it just screams out for a built-in cabinet. So, I decided it was time to make it happen. The first step was to get some options. When it comes to things anywhere outside the garage, its always important to make sure the wife will love it. So, I came up with four different designs and presented then to her. She like the one with some drawers on the bottom, then some open shelving just above them. So, that’s exactly what I made.

To start, I had to figure out how to get around the wonky walls. The opening where the built-in is going had different measurements from the top to the bottom, and the back to front. So, I took the narrowest measurement and used that. This allowed me to get the cabinet in place and then to cover up the gaps with the face frame. Since the space is about 10 feet wide, I decided to break the cabinet up into more manageable pieces, then connect them during assembly. I went with three cabinet boxes. For some reason, I find that odd numbers seem more appealing to the eye when arranged horizontally. I used regular plywood for the cabinet boxes, as well as the drawers. For the drawer faces, I went with a shaker style to match the ones we put in our kitchen.

Making the top surface of the cabinet was interesting. To get the 10-foot piece of plywood needed, I used some calipers to measure the exact thickness of my plywood, and then set the rabbeting bit on my router to exactly half of that. This gave me a flush joint. I later used some epoxy putty to hide the joint line.

I originally intended to trace the curves of the wall (and there are many) onto some plywood to use as a template to cut it out the top, but my old jig saw put up too much of a fight (and I haven’t managed to get a band saw yet). My solution was to use a bunch of scrap pieces and then connect them together. The smaller pieces made it easy to follow the curves in the wall. I then clamped this jig to the plywood to cut the shape needed with a circular saw first, then a flush trim bit on my router to finish it.

Overall, the project came out great, and I have a full video of the build available on my YouTube channel. The next blog will focus on finishing the cabinets as well as the installation.

I have the build video on YouTube if you want to check it out:

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90 Degree Positioning Square:

JessEm Rout-R-Lift II:

DEWALT Router, Fixed Base:

DEWALT 10-Inch Table Saw (DWE7491RS):

Freud 8" Super Dado Stack:

Freud Diablo 10" 50 tooth ATB blade:

Dewalt Dado Throat plate:

DEWALT 20V MAX XR Cordless Router (DCW600B):

Dewalt 20V Max Cordless Drill/combo:

Dewalt Palm Sander, 1/4 sheet:

Kreg K4 Pocket hole jig:

24-piece router bit set for ¼ in shank:

Tape Measure:

Mechanical Pencil:

Wood Glue Dispenser:

Safety Ear Muffs:

BOSCH Self-Centering Drill Bit:

Milescraft FeatherBoard:

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