Building A Pantry Cabinet: Sometimes Homemade Is Just Right

| 1/17/2011 9:30:00 AM

GRIT Editor Hank Will at the wheel of his 1964 IH pickup.After three partial weekends of work, I finally finished building a pantry cabinet in the mudroom project that began about 15 months ago. Building a pantry cabinet is probably like chopping liver for lots of woodworkers out there, but it was a first for me -- and I know I broke a few cardinal rules of fine woodworking while building our pantry cabinet, but in this case homemade is just right. To update you on the mudroom project, the addition is completely finished inside and outside with the exception of re-fitting the siding on the original house where the mudroom's gabled roof attaches. The floors are done, the hot water heater is nestled in its final spot in the corner between the washer and dryer. The coat/coverall hooks are in place and now the 6-ft by 5-ft pantry cabinet is all but finished. My Partner In Culinary Crime is putting the final finishing touches on the pantry cabinet today and she says she can't wait to fill it with the goods -- and then get started on the KITCHEN RENNOVATION -- Yikes!

Building a pantry cabinet: construction is almost done. 

Building the pantry cabinet was easier than I figured it would be because my Partner In Culinary Crime (PICC) is a talented artist and handed me a 3-dimensional drawing, complete with pictures and arrows and measurements and suggested materials. A not so quick trip to the local home-improvement store caused us to change some of the materials. Have you seen the price of oak these days?!??! So knotty pine it is. Have you seen the price of knotty pine these days?!??!  Criminy, back when I was building wooden boats lumber wasn't so expensive, but that was 20 years ago. Basically I chose some #2 1 by 3 material for the frame and door faces, #3 material for the shelves and top and a lovely #1 clear board for the “backsplash” as my PICC calls it.

Building a pantry cabinet: construction details.  

Since I don’t have a biscuit cutter or a doweling jig, I made the unilateral decision to use 1.75-inch and 1.25-inch drywall screws and some glue to hold things together. Please don’t hate me for that, I like screws and they work great if you drill pilot holes and use a bit that makes it possible to countersink the head. A little wood dope and the holes are barely visible – this is a farm house after all. I did splurge for some 3/16-inch thick pine tongue-and-groove bead board for the panels. I used a power miter saw to cut pieces to length and a table saw to rip and cut rebates. My trusty, 20 something year old Milwaukee corded hole shooter doubled as a boring tool and a driver. The Jacobs chuck got a heck of a workout with all the bit changes. I love that tool.

 Building a pantry cabinet: door panel detail. 

Hank Will_2
1/21/2011 8:39:43 AM

Hey Windeater -- I don't have any blueprints for this project and since I built it in place, some of the initial dimensions required a little tweakage (the 100 plus year old concrete slab subfloor slopes 2 inches in 7 feet, for example. But I would be happy to send you some measurements and more detailed photos of the doors and side panels if you send me an email hwill at grit dot com. Thanks for the kind words, Colleen. I'm tickled about the perforated aluminum too and there is enough left over to make a matching cover for the cat's litter box and some other fun projects. I have a nice slab of black walnut that will be the booting up bench -- legs will be shaped from branches I cut from a snag left after we dozed some trees down to fix a pond dam. Winter is really good for these kinds of projects.

1/21/2011 8:20:48 AM

Beautiful cabinet...any way to get those plans???

Colleen Vanderlinden
1/21/2011 7:43:00 AM

I LOVE the cabinet -- and good on you for going with the perforated aluminum panels -- they look great! Now if only we had a mudroom to put something like that in. Someday :-)

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