For reasons we will not go into here, I have been drafted to
construct a matte cutting table for an artist friend. We currently
have worked out the rough dimensions to be 34" x 67 1/2" x 72". The
matte cutting device is 67" x 15" and the table needs to be big enough
to handle another 60" of width.
The matte cutter's base is an inch thick and the rest of the table
top needs to be just shy of level with the matte cutter. (The 1/16th
or so difference will be made up by cardboard.)
The artist would like horizontal storage across 42" of width, and
individual vertical storage `cubbies' across the remainder of the
Once completed, this project will be far larger than anything I
have built previously. I would appreciate any suggestions about
general construction, not to mention references to plans of any kind,
including `for purchase' plans.
Weight is obviously a concern, though given its size I don't see
anyway that it can be anything other than heavy. Hence, I need good
advice on how to make it strong to handle all its own weight.
As always, thanks in advance..
If I had a really good sig file, this is where it would go ....
Give some thought to torsion box construction for the top. I'd also
think about making the storage in sections on casters so that the thing
can be moved. Just roll them under the top surface.
Larry Levinson wrote:
First off, the width. Is 72" the width dimension?. You
don't mention if this is freestanding (an island) or if it's
going up against a wall. Based on not knowing that,
Start with a toe board assembly (the recessed space at the
floor). Make this out of good and straight 2 X 4's. Make
it so the recess is 3" from the face of the cabinets. The
construction for this is typically called a ladder frame for
obvious reasons. I usually place "rungs" at intervals to
match my cabinet widths and in the case of wider (42")
cabinets one in between. It's doubtful that you'll need to
secure this to the floor as once you have it loaded down
with cabinets and the top the sheer weight will keep it from
moving. You will/should level this when it's put down.
As others have said make your cabinets individual for the
obvious access and moving reasons. Cut all your cabinet
sides at one time so they match. Cut all your bottoms and
tops at the same time so they match. Cut all your backs at
the same time so they match. Also, it probably wouldn't
hurt to have 3/4" backs if you are using a butt construction
and screwing the cabinets together. If you are using a 1/4"
back you should consider letting it into a groove. This is
because the friend will be sliding things in and out and
those things will bang into the cabinet backs. A flimsy
back will eventually give way.
Arrange the cabinets onto the toe board assembly and attach
with screws through the cabinet bottom and into the ladder
frame below. No it's not pretty but I'm not thinking you're
going for any contests here and besides once the cabinets
are full you probably won't see the screws.
If this is an island you'll have cabinets all around (?) so
you won't have to worry too much about additional support
for the work top on all edges. If it's against the wall and
the cabinets do not go all the way to the wall you'll need
additional support as required to fill in. You can do a
number of things here. A 2X ledger at the wall may be
enough if the remaining space isn't too great. Another
(smaller) ladder frame could bridge this area. Attach it to
the backs of the cabinets and the wall. Or, just make your
cabinets as deep as the space (5'ish). This may be more
than your friend needs so you might want to locate your
cabinet backs only as far back as needed, i.e., 24" from the
face of your cabinet opening. This ia called a false back.
Since you have two levels for the top I would start with a
single layer of 3/4" material across the entire 67 1/2" X
72" and build up the remaining area (the thickness of the
And oh yeah, the 42" wide cabinets, what did you have in
mind to keep the shelves from sagging?
Oh hell, this is a piece of cake. I'm working on a
residential project where the kitchen island is 72" X 120"
and it gets a 3cm (1 1/4" Tom) granite top. "That" is
heavy. For what it's worth, I'm making no changes to our
standard construction as the weight of the top is spread out
across several cabinets below.
Keep a thing or two in mind when you are sizing your
components. Typically the counter overhangs the casework by
an inch. More than an inch is OK but I wouldn't go less.
The toe boards are typically recessed 3". You can go more
but I wouldn't go less.
Again, without knowing the particulars...
And in hindsight, I accept your thanks on behalf of the
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