Archive for ‘Medicine Cabinet’

Medicine Cabinet Done

By , 4 December, 2011, 3 Comments
Medicine Cabinet

Medicine Cabinet Hanging

After working for several months on this, I am happy to say that it is completed.  Judy and I hung it on the wall today and it looks great!

As mentioned previously, our new home has 3 bathrooms, but none have medicine cabinets.  This one hangs in the main guest bathroom.  Our new home contains a mix of walnut stained trim, oak cabinets in the bathroom and kitchen, and then all of our Arts & Crafts furnishings.  That left little question in our minds about the style of this unit.

Since medicine cabinets kind of predate Arts & Crafts, this style borrowed some from a tiny picture I saw in a new home with new cabinets.

Inside of the Cabinet

Inside of the Cabinet

We bought the hardware at our local Menards store in Omaha.  I can’t say that I am overly impressed with the quality of the hinges, but the pulls look great.

The ebonized shelf is finished with spray lacquer and waxed with furniture wax.  The surface is nice and large for decorative items that Judy wishes to use in the bathroom.

The rest of the cabinet was dyed with 5 parts Medium Brown and 4 parts Orange water-based dye from General Finishes.  All other pieces of the cabinet received several coats of Minwax satin Wipe-on Poly.

The cabinet is mounted to the wall utilizing a French Cleat with the bottom half screwed to the wall and the screws covered with oak plugs.

I used rare earth magnets from Lee Valley as door catches.



Case Glued Together

By , 7 November, 2011, No Comment
Case Glued and Clamped

Case Glued and Clamped

I glued the case together last night.  Here you see it sitting on it’s top with the ebonized bottom shelf right above the apron.

I should have had my wife help me with the process, as I could have used one more hand to hold all of the pieces in place.  As I was, I struggled longer than I wanted to get everything in just the right spot.

Per my normal process these days, you can see that the inside of the case and the shelves are already finished.  I like that process because I know that I will not have any glue issues, I get a consistent look and I don’t have runs in my finish.

The outside is still unfinished.  I need to fit the top before I work the exterior of the case.


By , 26 October, 2011, No Comment
Oak Ebonized

Oak Ebonized

My medicine cabinet design includes an ebonized shelf.  Ebony itself is far too expensive for this (and nearly any other project), and I did not want to use something like marble or a synthetic substance.  I chose to continue to use white oak, but looked for a way to change the color of the wood.

I looked around for a few suggestions, and considered an ebony wood stain and a Tandy Leather black dye.  Then I watched a segment of The Woodsmith Shop where they used an india ink to ebonize the feet of a small box.  Sounded like a winner to me so I went looking for it here in Omaha.

There are huge price differences in what this product is sold for in local stores.  I ended up taking back the 2 oz bottle that I bought at one place and bought 8 oz for slightly more from Dick Blick art supplies.  I questioned whether 2 oz might be enough for both projects, so I am happy to have the larger bottle at a much better price.

I will say one thing about using india ink.  It got on things that I did not intend.  I noticed days later little spots were on other pieces of wood that happened to by lying around when I created samples.  Fortunately for me, I noticed that before I started on the real stuff, and cleared everything else away.  Make sure you wear a glove, and protect your clothing.  This stuff does not come out.

Because the product is water based, I was able to apply two coats in a short amount of time and it was nice and dry later in the day.  I sprayed it with lacquer the next day to seal it, and I will apply a couple more coats before I glue this piece into the cabinet.

You can see from the picture that the wood still shows its oak grain, which I like.

If you are looking for a way to ebonize a portion of your project, I would suggest looking at india ink.  This particular brand is called Black Cat.


Blind Dado Joints

By , 11 October, 2011, 1 Comment
Sides After Routing

Sided After Routing

Using the white oak that I bought from a sawmill in Iowa, I laid out the sides for two of the shelves.  Using my router and a 1/2 inch bit, I cut blind dado grooves into the sides.  I want the strength of short tenons and dado joints, but I don’t plan to expose the tenons at these locations in the sides.

I used the router table to cut the tenons on the ends of the shelves, leaving the length of the tenons long at the moment. Truthfully, I have not yet decided whether to use a partial through tenon on the main shelf, and the length gives me a bit of time to think about it.

The astute observer will notice that the side pieces are not quarter-sawn — nor is the lower shelf.  Because the sawmill in Iowa did not have wide widths in quarter-sawn, I opted for plain white oak.  I reasoned that the positioning of the medicine cabinet does not provide much of a view of the sides — especially the outsides.  The bottom shelf is going to be ebonized and the quarter-sawn features would be completely lost on it.  So, the cheaper and available white oak is used.  I must admit, it planed much, much nicer than the quarter-sawn pieces.

Routing Jig

Routing Jig

Each dado is about 5 inches long, and about 3/8 inches deep.  This will provide a lot of strength, and the blind dado will allow me to put a nice joint at the front of the cabinet.

In order to be consistent, I needed a jig.  Putting some scrap pieces of white oak in to play, I built a simple jig that is a strong 4 inches wide between boards.  This is the width of my Dewalt DWP611PK router.  I bought this router shortly before moving, and I used it very little until this project.  I like it.  The tool feels good, has nice power and I like the features.  I am pleased with the purchase.  My only complaint is the quarter inch collet.  Most of my bits are now 1/2 inch.

This simple jig clamps over the top of the side and butts up to the edge to provide a nice square dado.  I used a scrap of walnut as a stop block for the base of the router so that I can push until I hit the block.  I made two passes on the depth to alleviate the router pulling into the wood.

Because the jig allows the base to pass  underneath the brace on the far end, I can actually cut a nice wide board, but I’ll bet that someday I will make a longer one for those bookcases that I want to build later.



The Hard Way

By , 6 October, 2011, No Comment
Resawn Door Faces

Resawn Door Faces

Our new home (30 years old) came without medicine cabinets.  I decided to put aside other projects and make some.  We love Arts and Crafts, so I searched about for a few ideas.

Funny thing, they did not have medicine cabinets a hundred and 10 or so years ago.  So, you take some ideas and borrow a few traditions and go for it.

I want some thin panels for the doors, but you can’t just walk into the local box store and buy such a critter in quarter-sawn white oak.  I could have ordered an entire sheet of plywood, but that would be more than I need right now, and I want to see it before I buy something like that.  I also had the option of veneering it onto something that would give me what I want.

But, I decided to take the cheapest path, and use some existing stock.  Using two feet of a 10 inch wide  rough sawn board,  I cut off an end with nice ray and fleck patterns.  I do not yet possess a bandsaw, so this was going to take some hand sawing.  I used the table saw to cut nearly two inches around the circumference of the board, and then stuck it into the vice and went looking for my handsaws.

The only sharp one I own is one bought last year that is labeled ‘fine’ — obviously a crosscut saw.  I knew that I would be in for a few extra strokes.  Wow, I wish that I had counted them!  It felt like it took about 2000 strokes to saw through that piece.  Before I do the next one, I am going to invest in a rip saw or beg my wife for that band saw that I keep talking about.

I like hand tools, but that is more hand than I want to apply.