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Old 11-17-2013, 08:04 PM
Goblu Goblu is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Michigan
Posts: 472
Default Wall Niches from Reclaimed Materials

So, here’s my first totally EZ woodworking project. I wanted to make a couple of wall niches/cabinets for my bathroom, which has very little cabinet space. Not quite done, as I still have to build a frame in the wall to support/attach them and I have some cabinet doors I plan to attach once that is done. Normally you would cut between both studs and put the cabinet there, but these are 24” centers and I wanted them behind the door, not halfway out. Not finished, but I wanted to post it now, before the holiday season overwhelms time.

I used nearly all reclaimed materials for this project. Most of it was new reclaimed flooring, some plywood scraps, random boards, and used cabinet doors that I got at some local salvage places.

The face frames are from unfinished maple flooring that I dimensioned using a planer/jointer. The top cabinet box is made from wider flooring that was pre-finished with a shiny hard finish. The bottom box is from scrap ply. The backs are nearly new 1/8” luan since I got them from the lumber yard, though from the scrap bin. The top cabinet shelves are cut from some very small ikea shelving from the salvage place. I like that they have a small lip on them since niche shelves are narrow. The bottom shelves are cut from salvaged cabinet door stiles.

The cost for these materials was minimal. The most I’ve paid for a very long piece of flooring is $1, and that would be enough to make a face frame. The doors were $2 each. The scrap ply was less than $1. Some of this I buy by the cartful, like random hardwood flooring, so it’s hard to estimate, but that gives an idea. The luan was pricey at $2 for each back . Most of the doors have hinges that I save and reuse, though I got a whole bunch of Salice hinges in a large bag for $5 a couple of times. The cabinet handles were 50 cents each or less, though they look brand new.

The big expense has been pockethole screws, wood glue, shelf pins and finish. I do have some finish that I’ve gotten from salvage, plus shelf pins, but for this project I used new.

Below are the finished (for now) niches-that-will-become-cabinets and the doors. Other posts are pictures showing the steps of the project with a few explanations and how the EZ system worked well for this project, especially given that it is from salvaged materials. I realize that the experienced folk here don’t need this, but perhaps other new woodworkers and diy’ers would like the details.

Photos: Upper and lower niches, cabinet doors. I was able to fix sideways photos, but a lengthy process. Looking for a better way to do it before further posts. Solution: If anyone else has the problem with flipped photos, you just have to flip them in a photo editing program and save them. They will look on their side when you do this, but when you post them they come out right. Also, the colors are way off. These are maple cabinets, not cherry, and there is no green in my bathroom, but a creamy white. Using a cell phone is the problem for both the flipping and the color distortion.
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Last edited by Goblu; 11-18-2013 at 01:17 AM.
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  #2  
Old 11-17-2013, 09:44 PM
Goblu Goblu is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Michigan
Posts: 472
Default First steps

First, I cut a hole in the wall. I was going to do this with a saw and track, but decided to use some miter track I had as a straightedge and a Rotozip. Just screw it to the wall after squaring/leveling it. Start right next to the stud so you can screw the cabinet side to the stud, or two sides if you are lucky.

Lots of dust. Wear a dust mask if you do this. I also put the vacuum near where I was cutting. I'm sure my Makita 5057 would have been better, but handling it on a vertical surface seemed too hard as I'm not that strong. If you are strong and your saw has dust collection, that would work better.

To cut a hole in the wall, I first made a much smaller hole after using my stud finder, metal detector that works great. I've had the other zircon products and none worked with my walls, but this one did the trick. I also use it to see if there is metal in salvaged wood. A great bargain for around $25.

Once the small hole is cut, get a flashlight and mirror and check for wires, pipes and other obstructions. Also to make sure that you can get the space you need for your wall niche. I was sorry to see 24" centers but happy with where the stud was that I used as the right side next to the cabinet. So, I have to figure out how to make a frame to support the cabinet bottom and one side.

Save the small piece of drywall you cut in case you cannot use that location, much easier to repair that way! But if you have a good stud finder/metal detector, you should know in advance. Once you are sure you want to use the location, you can practice cutting drywall inside the perimeter of the cut you are going to make. It really pays to make sure you cut cleanly on the drywall. I nicked a couple of places and there were small crumbles that I had to repair.
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Last edited by Goblu; 11-18-2013 at 12:13 AM.
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  #3  
Old 11-17-2013, 10:09 PM
Goblu Goblu is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Michigan
Posts: 472
Default cabinet box

Here are some pictures of the cabinet box under construction. Just to give you ideas. Pocket holes are so easy. I watched the Kreg Youtube instruction video on making a wall cabinet to help. My other cabinets (not using ez system) were made of hardwood and used dominos, rabbets, etc. I love the domino, but this was always in a class and not owned by me, and it is not worth the money since I don't do this professionally. I had only used the Kreg for face frames, where it worked well.

A small cabinet like this is a way to practice for larger ones (my goal). Using reclaimed materials makes it very low risk cost wise. Not shown, but I do use glue on both surfaces before installing pocket hole screws. I also put a drop of glue in each pocket hole before I screw. Also, the pock-it clamps from Rockler work really, really well. I could never use them because I was using the small size pocket hole jig for 5/8" face frames, but when I used them on the 3/4" ply they were a dream. (Thanks to TooManyToys for the reminder, I'd written them off because I only would have used them previously for face frames made from 5/8" material but they didn't fit). I'd gotten the Woodpecker box clamps for squaring the box, but they did not really hold the corner tight for screwing in the screws. Not recommended for this use even though I'd read you can use them for pocket holes. But for other applications they are good, like dowels.

I'm probably going to do a couple more of these cabinets only using dowels or biscuits, then decide which I want for larger cabinets. If I do, I'll post results here.

I love the EZ one for doing pocket holes and did a separate post on that. I also love it for glue ups because you can do different clamping things due to the openness of the top, butting things against fences, etc. I included a couple pics from that post.
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Last edited by Goblu; 11-18-2013 at 12:16 AM.
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  #4  
Old 11-17-2013, 10:14 PM
bumpnstump bumpnstump is offline
 
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Default

Katie, right on!! Great job and write-up. I've got a ton of similar projects waiting for me at my house- maybe I should sign you up to do a couple of them? lol
Thanks for posting, especially w/pics. I'm always re-inspired when I see someone's projects- keep it up.
Rick
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  #5  
Old 11-17-2013, 10:16 PM
TooManyToys TooManyToys is offline
 
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Katie,

Nice, frugal work!

Get the dust port adapter if available for your version of the RZ .... it makes it almost a dustless experience.

I've done something similar for our narrow central bath, setting in a area for the towels where the hangers would stick out into the walkway. It's just painted wood for now until we can agree on what wood to be used for the cabinetry.
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  #6  
Old 11-17-2013, 10:34 PM
Goblu Goblu is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Michigan
Posts: 472
Default Cutting the shelves

Now, small shelves like this would not deserve a post, being straightforward, but in using reclaimed materials it's a different challenge. I used two different kinds of shelves and having the EZ track and clamps made it quite easy.

The first three pictures show how I used wide stiles from a surplus cabinet door for these small shelves (3 3/8 x 15). I just clamped the door to the track bottom and cut the width in one cut. Also, I put my shelf pattern board on top to set the width (on the far side in picture 2). No measuring of any kind. In the past in trying to reuse cabinet doors, I've had to dismantle them first. (btw, I did cut out the hinge holes when I cut them to length).

The last two pictures show how I cut an unusual shape to make shelves with a small lip. These were some salvaged Ikea shelves that were too wide for the cabinet and I was able to cut off the back lip quite easily by clamping it to the bottom of the track.

Considering that all these shelves had finish on them, clamping them to ez track was the perfect solution. That is also the case in cutting the very high gloss hard finish on the wide floor boards I used for sides. I did put masking tape on the surface to give it some grip, though. It's also nice not to have to refinish things if you don't need to.

When I put the doors on, I'll post again. May not be for a while. But many people use niches without doors. Since I want to put clutter behind the doors (toiletries, first aid, etc) I need the doors.

Also, if I decide to do small drawers in a small cabinet like this, I could use the rail portion for those drawer fronts.
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Last edited by Goblu; 11-18-2013 at 12:05 AM. Reason: adding material
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  #7  
Old 11-17-2013, 11:00 PM
Goblu Goblu is offline
 
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Thanks, Rick. Your posts and ideas are always an inspiration to me. I laughed at your reaction of putting me to work! I've decided not to tell anyone I know about these projects for a while since I've had that reaction from neighbors already . Perhaps an incognito woodworkers website .

Once I finish this project, I'm modifying my sawbase and making those pointers and the jig for making shelf pins that you posted, Rick. I used my rockler jig for the shelf pin holes this time but the whole time I was imagining how much easier it would have been with a router. Also, I could have used 5mm shelf pin holes which would be better for a small cabinet.

Wow, TooManyToys I would have loved a good dust collector for that Rotozip. Unfortunately mine is the $5 garage sale version, not made anymore. I really don't want to do that dusty job again without something better. I just was given a bunch of stuff like a dremel and other small saws. I'm going to see what's there before I cut into drywall again. I tried to make a dust cover out of an old clear storage bin, but it didn't really work. The rotozip does work well on drywall, though.

It's interesting to hear that you made a niche for a towel bar. What a great idea.
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Old 11-18-2013, 12:08 AM
TooManyToys TooManyToys is offline
 
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Katie,

I have an older RZ also (Rev01; Type 1), but here is what I purchased and it fits on mine.



RotoZip-RZVAC1-Dust-Extraction-Adapter

On edit - It looks like that is getting scarce to find as most sites show it's no longer available.

Here is the towel setup. The toilet roll bar will get the same type of niche into the wall. My wife needs to see things rather then conceptualize so it was thrown together and just painted. Once I build several of the same cabinet fronts out of different woods/stains so we can settle on the final wood in the bath I'll tear this out and replace it with the final product. The bath needs a total redo, floor, tile wall, soffet removal and partial wall removal. But first I have to finish the stairs, finish the hidden shelf, and maybe do the kitchen beforehand.
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Last edited by TooManyToys; 11-18-2013 at 12:17 AM.
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  #9  
Old 11-18-2013, 01:10 AM
Goblu Goblu is offline
 
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That's really neat for the towels. It does open up other possibilities for making wall niches. You mention a hidden shelf. Sounds interesting, what is it?

Thanks for the information about the rotozip dust collector! I think it will fit my model and I may have located one. I'll call them tomorrow. If so, it will be great, as I want to cut into more drywall to make some niches on the stair going to the basement. I have some sliding doors that would work well, assuming it's a wall I can cut into. Make some pantry space for cans, etc.

In the bathroom, I could contain the dust but I'm not willing to make such a mess in an open area as these stairs. I was thinking about using a plastic enclosure, with those support bars from harbor freight that I got to hang cabinets with (and make plastic enclosures) http://www.harborfreight.com/2-in-1-...bar-66172.html. I may still do that, along with the dust collector on the rotozip it should be clean as a whistle. The dust thing often puts me off and I delay doing projects, so finding good dust collection is really important.
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  #10  
Old 11-18-2013, 09:36 AM
bumpnstump bumpnstump is offline
 
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Re. Rotozip tools and cutting drywall, and the ensuing dust:
-I've found that you can get better results using one of the oscillating tools (I use a Fein). Better control; faster; less dust, and easier to capture w/the vac.
I only use my rotozip on drywall when I'm hanging new drywall and want to cut out the elec. outlets.
FWIW,
Rick
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