A Practice in Practical

As much as I have been enjoying my Tiny House research of late, last week I hit a wall. I had been trying to shape my electricity learnings into an actual power plan but just couldn’t find the focus to do so. I kept jumping all over the place, unable to map the best approach, growing restless with the constant screen time.

I haven’t spoken greatly about our timeline for the build but originally we had set out to commence in February, it is now almost June and we still aren’t there. Surprisingly this hasn’t caused me the anxiety or frustration I would have anticipated, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t growing weary of the lack of action. As the negativity and procrastination continued it became clear that I needed to get my hands dirty before I could focus again and so, I decided to build a medicine cabinet. ‘Practice for the kitchen cabinets’ was the justification I spun to myself as I perused the plywood section at my local hardware store.

I had toyed with some bathroom cabinet plans at an earlier period so had a Sketch Up file on hand but after splitting my parents ensuite in half I was reminded of just how narrow my bathroom will be. To give you a little context the bathroom runs along the 2.5 metre wall and is only 900mm wide. Initially I was thinking I would hang the cabinet on the long wall but there is a window to juggle and honestly, despite its small depth of 100mm, it seemed a little in-your-face. However, there will likely be a blank wall opposite the shower on which a landscape orientated cabinet would fit perfectly!


I did a quick drawing in Sketch Up and came up with the below (original: left, new: right) … but did I mention I made this change after I had cut the timber… which I had already re-scaled as I drew the pieces on the ply…

Screen Shot 2018-05-28 at 7.35.26 pm

So indeed the measurements above are null and void- not exactly a practice I would advocate any time soon.
Let’s just say it was a tough job getting my lovely cabinet square.
It really did highlight the absolute importance of having a well detailed, scale drawing- a lesson I promised myself I wouldn’t forget as I cut the same side panel for the third time. (The first was too long & then too short when I tried to fix it. The second… too short AGAIN!)

I truly enjoy the process of making things by hand without being reliant on machinery so I skipped the power tools on this one. The kitchen cabinets will demand the accuracy power tools can deliver, but as this was just a small project I was happy to take my time. (Though I admit I switched the hand drill out for the electric one when I realised the daylight was slipping away.)

Below are a handful of photographs of my process- the last two capturing the stage it is currently in. It has a fair bit of work to go- obviously I want to make it a little ‘prettier’ and I am undecided if I want to panel it in mirror, (I am currently leaning towards no). Yet for now I just needed to post something to make me feel I am still making progress.

Doors, sides and off cuts.
Three sides down- I had a little difficulty with the missing wall.
I had a lot of issues with the hinges. I had to recess them so the doors would close without a large gap, but unfortunately, the ply chipped a little when I did this.
I also had issues with the screws- they were the smallest I could get but they stick out too far. As a result the doors don’t stay nicely shut- I am thinking about the best way to fix this.
One door down- this was the most frustrating stage. It took me several attempts to get the door to line up when closed. I wanted it flush with the side and top, but kept getting only one or the other. (And a curse on whoever thought that sticker ^ was a good idea.)
Finally nice and flush! This is a view of the bottom, hence the slight overhang- I don’t mind using this as a way to open the doors, though I will be adding handles. I would like to whittle these myself.
Somehow I managed to cut my doors crookedly and so I had to trim them down.. hence the gap.
Not too shabby if I do say so myself- I will add an adjustable shelf soon, but at least for now I have a respectable and actually completely useable cupboard.

*** Update 14/06/18: Addition of adjustable shelves.

This proved a rather difficult exercise and I went about it completely the wrong way. I immediately drilled six holes on one side but then didn’t have a template to copy them onto the other two. In the end, I copied them onto a piece of acetate, which did work but not to the standard it could have been. Unfortunately, the holes aren’t perfectly spaced, but it will have to do.
At least if you aren’t looking closely one wouldn’t notice this unevenness of the additional holes. I used wooden dowels as the connection points. These are inserted into the thin rectangles of timber and the shelves just rest on top of these. It seemed an easier solution at the time and actually helps disguise the poorly lined up holes.
The two shelves can be adjusted to different heights. ( I should have taken a photo of this but admittedly I completely forgot!)

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