- Ideas & How-Tos
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Storage plus a large work surface are a winning combination on this cart. Stock cabinets make it easy to build.
Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.
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A stock cabinet, surrounded by plywood and poplar and resting on locking casters, makes a great addition to a craft room, kitchen, or even a workshop. Sand each part with 150-grit sandpaper after it’s cut to size and prior to assembly. This will make finishing the cart much easier -- and faster. Paint the piece to accent your decor.
Remove the stock cabinet doors and lightly sand the face frame of the cabinet with 150-grit sandpaper. Use a jigsaw to cut two 2-inch-wide strips the height of the cabinet for the side spacers (A). Then glue one to the back edge of one side of the cabinet with construction adhesive (Project Diagram, Cutting List and Drawing 1).
Cut the side panels (B) to size -- to account for any variation in the cabinet height, cut the panel 1/16 inch taller than the side of the cabinet. Apply one side to the cabinet; the front edge of the side should extend 1/4 inch beyond the face of the cabinet.
When using construction adhesive, use a very thin bead. The adhesive adds thickness to whatever is being bonded, and the thickness of the adhesive can throw off other dimensions later.
Cut the 1/4-inch-thick birch plywood to size for the back (C). We cut ours to the same width as the face frame of the cabinet and to a height that matched the side -- 30- 1/16 inches. Attach to the cabinet with construction adhesive -- small nails or painter’s tape can act as a clamp to hold the panel while you move to the next step.
Add the spacer and second side to the cabinet.
Cut the shelves (D) 11 inches wide to long enough to fit between the sides. To install the shelves so they are level, cut two 11 inch-long scraps and stand them in the opening of the back of the cabinet. Apply glue to the back edge of the shelf and slip it into the back while resting on the shelf spacers.
Drill pilot holes and drive screws through the sides of the cabinet into the shelves to secure the front ends of the shelf. Move the spacers up to rest on the first shelf, and install the next shelf in the same manner. Repeat for the third shelf.
Cut the bottom (E) of the cart to size, center it on the bottom of the assembly, and secure to the cart using construction adhesive.
Cut the shelf trim (F) to length and glue to the bottom and the shelves (Project Diagram, Drawing 2). Painter’s tape will hold them while the glue dries. Align the trim flush with the bottom edge of the shelves. These parts will keep things from rolling off the shelves when you move the cart.
Cut the center stile (G) and add to the one half of the shelves using glue and painter’s tape. Where the center stile meets each shelf, drive a screw to keep the shelf from sagging when you load it. Mark the length of the remaining shelf trim, cut the parts to length, and glue in position.
Cut the top (H) of the cart to size, and attach to the cart with construction adhesive.
For a perfect painted finish, start by applying a glue sizing to the cut edges of the MDF to seal the pores and make the paint flow better over the edges. Make the sizing by mixing 1 part wood glue with 1 part water. Apply with a disposable foam brush.
Fill any screw holes with wood filler and allow the filler to dry. Sand any rough areas and apply a primer to the cart and doors. When the primer dries, lightly sand with 220-grit sandpaper and apply two coats of paint following the manufacturer’s instructions.
When the paint has cured, flip the cabinet over and attach the casters. Use #12 x 3/4 washer-head screws to secure them to the cabinet bottom with the caster plate 1/2 inch from the edges of the bottom. Complete the cart by re-installing the cabinet doors and adding door pulls of your choice.