Sewing Cabinet for Mary

Finished sewing cabinet is the same height as the work surface which housing the sewing machine. This gives extra counter space when working on big projects.

I started the project by working on the top which I wanted to be 24 inches by 48 inches. I procured a damaged piece of melamine covered particle board and cut out two unblemished chunks a couple inches over the required finished dimension. Placing one on top of the other, I drilled a series of pilot holes for the flat head screws which would hold the two pieces together. I then coated one surface with marine epoxy, and then drove in the screws on the underside to draw the pieces together tight while the epoxy setup overnight,.

After the epoxy setup, I trimmed the top to final dimensions, taking an inch off one side, and then turning the piece 180 deg so I could use the rip fence to keep the opposite side parallel to the first. The table saw miter gauge was then used to get the third side perpendicular to the 2nd. Then the fence was used again to make 4th parallel to the third. I then wrapped the whole top with 3/4 inch oak to keep the fragile melamine edges from being damaged during the rest of the project construction. Rather than use miters on the corners, I used butt joints, doing opposite sides at the same time – and doing the short sides first. After the glue dried I trimmed them to the exact length with my miter saw, and then did the other two sides. I made the height of the trim about 1/4 inch wider than the thickness of the top.

When gluing the trim to the top, I positioned it about 1/16 inch above the top to ensure that it would not drop below the top surface as it was clamped. I then had to plane and scrape it down flush with the top surface. I used painters tape on half of the base of my plane to help keep from gouging the melamine. I used my scraper to the trim flush with the top.

I then constructed the carcase, a center horizontal divider separated the small upper drawer section from the lower larger drawers. Horizontal dividers divided the upper space into three sections, and the lower space in to two sections. All the dividers fit into dados that were cut first undersize on the table saw, and then full size on the router table to provide a tight fit and a flat bottom. After applying glue in the dadoes, the pieces were assembled, clamped together with pipe clamps and then secured with finish nails. The back was set into rabbets on the sides but not secured to ensure that the carcase remained square.

Since the sides were to be painted, I used rockhard putty to fill the finish nail holes, then sanded the putty flush after it tried.

The front plywood edges of the carcase were covered with oak strips cut to a thickness of 3/16 inches, glued and nailed with 23 gauge pins which are invisible after sanding. The next task was to make the drawers and install the slides. The drawer sizes were figured by allowing for a 1/8 inch space between the finished drawer faces, and I wanted the drawer face to extend 1/4 inch above and below the drawer proper. To attach the slides, I used blocks to position the upper most slides in each section first (so they could be pushed flush against the side each drawer section. This can’t be done if the bottom slides are done first.

Drawer faces were cut to allow about 3/16 inch space on all sides. All drawer faces were placed in each section, spaced with popsicle sticks and then tacked to the drawers themselves with 23 gauge nails after gluing. This is a bit of a balancing act and takes patience, but it ensures uniform spacing of the drawer fronts. Clamps were then used to hold the faces to the drawers while the glue dried.

Last construction task was to attach the top. I made plywood blocks that fit into each corner of the carcase. I put the top on top of the carcase, centered it, and then scribed pencil lines on the underside of the top along the outside corners. I then carefully measured the thickness of the carcase walls and determined the placement of each block, which were screwed to the bottom of the top. Quarter inch holes were drilled down thru the top of each corner of the carcase, and then countersunk on the underside to the diameter of the washers to be used with the lag bolts which would be used to attach the top to the carcase.

Oak on the project was stained to match the woodwork in the house. Drawers and sides were primed and painted with the owners color preference, and then her drawer pull hardware was installed.

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