Monday, January 25, 2016
When I made the upper cabinets, I made the wide face frame so that it would end up flush with the inside of the cabinet so that when you slid things out from the cabinet, it wouldn't catch on anything. Although I never mentioned it before, I must have oriented the middle bottom piece on the face frame with the grain in a weak orientation so every place I added a screw, it split a tiny bit. A little putty and sanding before I stain it and those place will disappear but it was a lesson to be more careful in how you orient the wood grain when screwing. Ideally you want your wood layers as perpendicular to your screws as possible. So with that in mind, I set out to build the face frame for the lower cabinets and had perfect success. I even saved one piece of plywood to use as a flat work surface until I had the face frame built.
Once the carcasses were screwed together in pairs and set in place, I put the face frame in place. I was so frustrated trying to heft the overhead units in place in one piece, that this time I put the face frame on in place. This meant that half the predrilled screw holes around the perimeter of the carcasses were covered by the walls and the floor. While this would have been a problem on the uppers which is why I went the route I did, the lowers I just added the missing screw holes on the insides of the cabinets where they technically are visible. However, I'm not so concerned with them since eventually there will be drawers that will hide those holes. For the holes showing on the inside of the footwell part of the desk, I simply cut another piece of plywood to act as a finish face, much as I did on the uppers to hide the wiring from the under cabinet lighting.
There is a plumbing clean out port on the wall to the right that I found buried under drywall. I buried it again under drywall but framed around it so that I can easily cut it open if needed. However, that means my built in lower desk unit needs to be removable if for some reason the plumbing under the concrete of the house ever needs to be cleaned. After 40+ years of use, it hasn't thus far but you never know. So rather than build my lower cabinets full depth, I left them short of the wall and not attached. I instead attached a strip of wood to the wall. After I get the desktop in place and fastened to the lower cabinets, I will add a few pocket screws from the bottom side up through that strip attached to the wall into the desktop. If for some reason I ever need to access the cleanout port, I will remove those screws and drag it back far enough to access it and all will be good with the world.
As you may notice and as I have said, the concrete floor is not level and slopes towards the left in this picture. This made it frustrating to level the cabinets and get the face frame attached. I struggled with it for a couple hours at the end of the day and finally gave up. I slept on it and sometime during the night, I realized I just needed a few more hands, i.e. clamps to help squeeze things into place in a controlled manner and hold them until I could get the fasterners screwed in with my two hands. In the morning, I put that into play and about an hour later, I had every thing together as you see in the picture below.
My next step is to get yet some more plywood for the top. Because the back wall is of course not perfectly straight and has about a 3/8" dip at one point, I'm going to have to cut the plywood oversized and them scribe it to the wall so I can get a perfect fit. Once it is in place using the factory edge as the straight edge to make sure the face of the cabinets are in a straight line, I will fasten it down and then add some supports in the middle to help support the weight of the office stuff and prevent the desktop from sagging with time. Finally I will do some touch up sanding and then stain the whole works. Then it is on to the Murphy bed project.