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To build custom cabinets that fit perfectly into the corners of the dining room, Karl uses a favorite low-tech tool: kraft paper. He cuts pieces of brown kraft paper the approximate size of the cabinet walls and tapes them to the walls to get an idea of what dimensions will work best in the space. Instead of a point that fits all the way into the corner, the cabinets are slightly squared off at the back to leave room for cords or pipes. One of the final cabinets will be plumbed in as a wet bar, the other will have a slide-out buffet server
Based on the paper template, the final cabinets will be 81" tall and 42" wide. Transfer the measurements from the kraft paper to birch plywood, then cut out the pieces using a circular saw. The pieces will include two side pieces, a narrow back, matching top and bottom pieces, and a few shelves. For the top, bottom and shelf, trace the shape from the kraft paper onto the wood. Keep the template for the shelves, as it will come in handy when installing the completed wet bar cabinet.
Working on a large, level work surface, assemble the cabinet. Apply wood glue to all of the joints, then secure the joints using a nail gun. Since the finished cabinet will be extremely heavy, reinforce the joints with screws.
Note: Always wear safety glasses and use extreme caution when working with a nail gun. These powerful tools can drive a nail through wood -- or a hand or foot -- instantly.
Cut thin strips of plywood facing and attach the strips along the exposed front edges of the cabinets. To add design interest, use wider pieces at the top and bottom of the cabinet and cut in a decorative pattern with a jigsaw.
Use finish nails to attach the trim molding to give the cabinet a more finished look.
Prime and paint the cabinet, shelves and doors as desired. For this project, Karl uses special antiquing techniques to give these simple cabinets a more interesting look.
Karl installs a wet bar in one cabinet, and gives the other a slide-out shelf for buffet serving. To make this shelf, cut an extra piece of shelf lumber and trim down the sides so it can slide in and out without hitting the cabinet facings. Prime and paint the shelf. Install drawer-slide hardware to the bottom of the sliding shelf and the top of the center shelf; the shelf should slide in and out smoothly. Cut a strip of plywood wide enough to hide the sliding shelf. Prime, paint and install the strip using a piano hinge for a flip-down cover.
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