Build these oak display cabinets, livened up with vibrant interiors, and turn everyday dinnerware into works of art.
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Using the Cutting Diagram, cut the sides (A), tops/bottoms (B), shelves (C) and backs (D) from 3/4-inch medium density fiberboard (MDF) to the sizes listed. Label the pieces with chalk and set the pieces aside.
To make your trip easier from Lowe's to home, a Lowe's associate will cut your MDF panel to size with a panel saw. This saw station is generally located near the sheet goods (plywood) in the lumber department. The first two cuts are free; additional cuts are 25 cents each. Some locations now sell 4x8-foot MDF as a slightly oversized 49" x 97".
Using the Project Diagram and Cutting Diagram, rip and crosscut the remaining pieces from 6-inch- and 8-inch-wide oak: frame tops/bottoms (E), frames sides (F), face-frame stiles (G), face-frame bottom rails (H), face-frame top rails (I), and cleats (J). Label the pieces with chalk and set the pieces aside.
To cut parts to equal lengths, use a stop block as shown in the drawing.
For a good fit, we cut and assembled the face frame, then cut the parts for the inside frame, clamped them together, and test-fit them against the face frame. Set up your dado blade to cut a 3/4" rabbet 1/4" deep. Now, cut rabbets in the sides (A) and tops/bottoms (B).
Cut the dado for a shelf for two of the boxes (four sides total). Mark the top end of each side, so you'll have this end against the rip fence when cutting the dadoes. The third box has display space for 10�-diameter plates (no dado for shelf). Now, drill 5/16"-diameter holes for the plate supports in one of the Bottoms (B) as shown in the Project Diagram.
Clamp a side (A) and bottom (B), and assemble the first joint. Using the #8 countersink and pilot bit, test the counterbore depth in scrap material (the #8x1-1/4-inch screw should be slightly below the MDF surface). Drill the counterbore and shank holes in the side and bottom with #8x1-1/4-inch flathead wood screws, clamps, and glue assemble the first joint. Repeat for all four joints of the shadow boxes.
If you don't already own assembly clamps similar in purpose to the right-angle clamp jig shown, take a few minutes to make at least two or more pairs from 3/4-inch plywood scrap. They will make your joinery more accurate and quicker to assemble.
Test-fit the back (C) in the rabbeted opening. Drill countersunk holes through the sides (A) and top/bottom (B) into the edges of the back. Remove the back, apply glue, and drive the screws home.
With a damp rag, remove glue squeeze-out.
As shown in the Face Frame Drawing, use a plate joiner to cut slots for #0 biscuits. With glue, #0 biscuits, and clamps, assemble the Inside Frames and Face Frames. Ensure that all of the assemblies are square and flat. Then use biscuits, glue, and clamps to attach the Inside Frame to the Face Frame. Set the frames aside.
With glue and #8x1-1/4-inch flathead wood screws, attach the cleats (J) to the carcase, as shown in Box Assembly Drawing Step 1. For the Plate Box, cut the 5/16-inch dowels to length, then glue the dowels in place.
If you want a professional-looking project, don't rush through these steps. Sand the oak frames with 80- and then 120-grit sandpaper. Wipe down all the parts with mineral spirits with a clean rag. This will telegraph any blemishes you haven't removed in the sanding steps. Be on the lookout for glue smears and sanding swirls. Mineral spirits evaporate quickly; you can get after additional sanding tasks quickly. Apply the one-step stain and polyurethane finish.
Now, prepare to paint the boxes. First, fill the screw holes with wood filler. After the filler dries, sand those spots with 120-grit sandpaper. Apply a base coat of interior latex semi-gloss paint. After the first coat dries thoroughly, sand lightly, remove sanding dust with a tack cloth, and apply a second coat.
After the paint dries, assemble the frames and the boxes. Refer to Box Assembly Drawings Step 2 and Step 3 and the Side Section View.
Locate the center display case on the wall. With a stud finder, level, and pencil, locate the position for a stud nearest the center case. Use the Hangman Picture Hanging System (similar to a traditional French cleat) to securely mount the cabinet. With a hacksaw, we cut the 18-inch-long Hangman to 13 inches and then redrilled holes to match a stud location. We used two E-Z Ancor hollow wall anchors to secure the Hangman in two additional positions. Follow package instructions to mount the Hangman aluminum bar to the back of the display case. Adhere 3/8-inch cabinet bumpers to the bottom corners of the case.
Following the directions above, position the two remaining cases.