Finally, the Case
The case goes together quickly thanks to my nail gun. Begin construction by cutting a 3/4″-wide by 1/4″-deep dado in the side pieces for the bottom of the cabinet. I like to use a dado stack in my table saw for this operation. Now cut a 1/2″ x 1/2″ rabbet on the back edges of the sides to hold the plywood back in place. Sand the inside of the case and get ready for the first bit of assembly.
Put the case together on its back. First put glue in the dados in the sides and fit the bottom in there. Nail the bottom in place from the outside of the case. I use a finish nailer for this task.
Now put the nailing strip in place at the top of the case. The diagrams show you where this needs to be, but essentially it’s flush with both the rabbets in the sides and top of the case. Nail it home. Glue and nail the face frame to the case using brads. Trim the face frame flush to the case.
All the Insides
There’s nothing complicated about the insides once you have a plan. Begin by cutting the 1/4″ x 1/4″ dados in the dividers. These are spaced 2″ apart, and there are 21 of them. I used a dado stack in my table saw and simply moved the fence 1-3/4″ after each pass.
Now it’s time to add the dividers to the case. Turn the case on its head. Cut a notch in each divider so it will fit around the nailing strip. Get the divider right where it needs to be and nail it in place through the bottom and the nailing strip. Now nail the two blocking pieces shown on the diagram in place. The blocking does a couple things. First, it allows the Masonite shelves to be slid in and out without having to swing the doors wide open. Second, the thinner piece of blocking fills in the gap between the divider and face frame and leaves room for the hinges.
Now drill the holes in the left side of the case and the center divider for the adjustable solid-wood shelves. I’m partial to 5 mm holes spaced 1-3/8″ on center.
Mark the base cutouts on the sides, front and plywood back of the case using the diagrams as a guide. Use a jigsaw to make these cuts and clean up your work with sandpaper.
Cut your top to size. I used a piece of bird’s-eye maple. You have a couple options for attaching the top. You could use pocket holes, figure-8 fasteners or wooden cleats. No matter which way you go, prepare the case for the top but don’t attach it. I like to glue the top to the front edge of the case after finishing.
On the knobs, top and all the inside pieces (except the Masonite), I wiped on a light honey-colored stain. Then I painted the case a dark red and added a topcoat of lacquer to protect the paint. Hang the doors, nail in the back and add the knobs. The hinges I used to hang the doors are available at Woodworker’s Supply. The maple knobs I used are available at Horton Brasses.
I have no idea how the Shakers would feel about seeing one of their cabinets filled with “Parcheesi,” “Connect Four” and “Uncle Wiggly” games. But I’m sure at least they would approve of the efficient use of space. PW
Troy Sexton is a contributing editor for Popular Woodworking.