The big reveal

With my schedule, it took a lot longer to complete than I would have liked. But it’s basically done, and I can move on to other projects. The project is a microwave stand/garbage and recycling cabinet. The garbage can has been sitting out on the floor, and the recycling bin has been in the pantry. I wasn’t comfortable with that, and wanted it changed.

I measured the garbage can (the recycling can will be replaced with the same style) and based my measurements off eventually having the bins sit on door-mounted drawers. More on that later. I splurged slightly at the lumber yard and bought two-sided prefinished plywood for the case. This will help prevent stains with little effort. I cut the bottom and sides to size, and cut dadoes on the back to accept the 1/4″ plywood back, and on the bottom and top to accept…well, the bottom and top. There was really no need to construct a full top to the carcass, since there was going to be a counter-style top. So I made two small stretchers to help tie the carcass together and give an anchor to the real top.

Helping with structural integrity and providing a visual cue is a face frame made of 5/4 poplar, joined together with butt joints and pocket screws. I went out of my comfort zone and attempted biscuit joints to attach the face frame to the carcass. I must say I was rather pleased with the results. I attached a separate toe kick box (again, a new technique) on the bottom with pocket screws. The counter came out about .5-1″ too high, but being a separate box construction, I can easily remove it, trim it, and put it back on to get the right height.

The top itself is constructed of soft maple, planed to a thickness of 1.5″, then rip cut to that same specification. Then the pieces were turned on edge and glued together to form two pieces. Those got planed to around 1-3/8″, and joined together to form a top that is about 18″ deep. The ends were trimmed perpendicular and is about 47″ long. It’s secured to the carcass with six screws.

There will eventually be doors covering the bins, but we’re going to let that simmer for a few weeks while we determine what we want – the bins on door drawers, or just regular doors and pulling the bins out manually. Either way the doors will be a rail and style construction with hardware matching the rest of the kitchen.

With this project I can really see how far I’ve come with my skills, with this project sitting right next to the first one I did, the pantry. My face frame skills have greatly improved, but still needs polishing. I wanted to plug the pocket holes, but forgot to do so in my haste to get the frame glued on. I need better clamps before I try to glue up a butcher block style surface again. Also, better glue brushes are mandatory.

Also, being a true butcher block surface, I could remove the microwave (and any future appliances) and use it as a food prep counter. I don’t think I would do any cutting on it, because it’s not hard maple and wouldn’t stand up to abuse (soft maple provided a cost savings over hard at around 50%).

I do have a small shop, but I’m proud to say that a large portion of this project was accomplished completely within the confines of the 144. Some during rainy conditions. This was a fairly large project, and one I hope to try again at some point as I gain experience, a few more tools and most importantly – better developed work surfaces.

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