February Cover Story — Chimney Cupboard
Editor Christopher Schwarz (aka my boss) keeps promising in various e-mails and postings that I’ll share an advance drawing of the chimney cupboard Senior Editor Glen D. Huey helped me build for the February 2008 issue, which is pictured at left. So I guess I’d best do so.
There’s a back story here. I took a week off last March to gut and completely rebuild my bathroom from the joists and studs out (actually, I had to replace some studs, too). Anyway, eight months later, I’m almost done. No, really. The picture below of my half-finished bathroom is from July, and since then, I’ve installed the medicine cabinet, and finished the wainscoting and most of the trim (OK…I still have a few small bits to install, and it needs another coat of paint, but at least I can shower now!). One catch — it’s a small space, and there was no way to incorporate built-in storage without taking down interior plaster walls and busting into an adjoining room. I really didn’t want to do that.
So I needed a free-standing cabinet that fit against the wall to the left of the shower; the depth could be no more than that of the small glass panel to which the door is hinged, minus the baseboard and toe kick (otherwise, I couldn’t open the shower door). Oh yeah — and the commode is a mere 22″ to the left of the shower. And I wanted the cabinet height to match the top of the shower. Hard to find cabinets with those specific dimensions at Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware.
So a custom piece was really the only solution. Just so happens, I know a few guys who could help me out. And so they did (thanks guys).
Senior Editor Robert W. Lang gave me a crash course in SketchUp, and Glen taught me to make mortise-and-tenon joints and how to cut half-blind dovetails…and reminded me daily of my math deficiencies. And Chris graciously allowed me the leeway to design and build the cabinet I wanted, and feature it in the magazine. (OK — I actually planned to make it out of poplar and paint it antique white to match the rest of the woodwork in the room…but that desire was beaten out of me.)
Anyway, it’s been a lot of fun spending more time in the shop, and I now feel like a somewhat bona fide woodworker (granted, one who still has a lot to learn). I also have a newfound respect for Chris, Bob and Glen, who build full-blown projects and write about them for every issue. Up ’til now, I’ve only done the “I Can Do That” projects, which start with S4S stock, and take all of a few hours to build. This chimney cabinet started with rough lumber, so the milling alone took a few hours.
Full plans and construction steps will be featured in the February 2008 issue of Popular Woodworking, but as promised, below is my initial SketchUp drawing for the front elevation. I suppose I’d best get that toe kick installed before I take my cabinet home…but it sure will be nice to get the towels folded and put away!