Guidance Requested: Giant Storage "System"


I have recently added a new addition to my home. The bottom room of the addition is intended to be a game room. With two small children this translates into play room and means lots of toys everywhere.
In an effort to avoid this outcome, I am planning on creating a storage "system" for one wall of the addition. The storage "system" would be approximately 18' in length and 8' in height and 28" in depth.
I have developed a layout that includes a row of separated recesses on the bottom to use as book/DVD/VHS shelf areas, with the main storage areas--large cabinets with doors (27"x45" each)--above that, and a row of curio display recesses above the main storage areas.
Part of the reason for attempting a custom design is that as part of adding on the addition, we discovered that our house had no footer and were forced to pour a concrete "berm" against the back of the existing house. This berm protrudes into the new addition aproximately 12" for a height of 2'. It is my best guess that attempting to modify stock cabinetry would in the end be more expensive than building custom to being with.
The second reason is that the right 4' of the storage "system" is going to be false. The bookshelf and curio recesses will be present and functional, but the storage cabinets in that area will be hiding HVAC, plumbing, and electrical plant components.
My big concerns are:
- Making it look like furniture. Not a "wall 'o' wood". - Making it not look over-powering. Commanding OK. Over-powering No. - Make it at a reasonable cost.
I have some limited wood-working expereince and most importantly access to a friend with lots more experience and ability.
I was contemplating creating the face frame from cabinet grade playwood and then veneering. I did some reasearch with Rockler to determine the likely costs of pre-made doors and they aren't too awful. I am planning at this point to go with maple with a natural finish.
Any advice or ideas would be much appreciated.
Thanks!
Don
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Paint it? Seriously. That's usually heresy around here, but it would simplify the process and allow you to use some less expensive material. Oil/Alkyd.... none of that latex stuff.

Toolery.... what tolls do you have access to? You will need a table saw. Cabinets can be made with other saws, but that would require additional skill and experience to overcome not using the correct tool. Tell us more about what you have access to.
To be dreadfully to the point.... whatr's your budget?

Huh? nomally people use CG Ply for a carcase and make the FF from solids. Do you mean edge banding the plywood to make it look like solids? It's not going to be as strong. Also dents and chips would be a serious concern

IF you buy doors make sure that they are unfinished. I think it is very unlikely that you would be able to match factory finish. Different finishes age differently. You really want the same finish on the whole project.

Prototype prototype prototype!
If you can build one face frame cabinet you can make them all. Try building something of smaller scale using the same techniques. Learn on that.
Componentize. Make multiple boxes that can be built separately.
Build an outfeed table for the table saw is there is not one already. Sheet goods are heavy and difficult to manipulate. Good support makes for more accurate and more safe cutting.
-Steve
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If you have access to a table saw you could make the cabinets fairly easily.
If you wanted a less expensive alternative than ordering cabinet doors you can make them yourself using cabinet grade plywood and installing moulding to cover the edges. A good outside corner moulding would do the trick and be the simplest design. You would need a miter saw to cut the moulding. How you approach it may depend on what wood you really want to use. I think I have seen maple plywood occasionally but I have never used it. I normally use oak, birch, or ash cabinet plywood and stain them lightly. If you painted the entire thing any paint grade cabinet plywood would do the trick.
If you have access to an air compressor and finish nail guns and staplers you could really speed up the process.
RonT
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On 11 Nov 2005 13:35:03 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

room finished will determine how it "looks" as a whole. I am not sure what would differentiate your perception of "wall of wood" vs something else. However, having said that, the only way I have ever been successful insuring something as large and complex a shape is not an eyesore is to draw it to scale, even if it isn't a large drawing it will give you the view of how it connects with the rest of the room. The first thing you might notice is that are 27" x45" may appear more like part of a kitchen being that tall. With small children why not consider making the first (lowest) cabinets more like a ledge that has a lid that folds down providing both a storage cavity and a small but functional "bench" 8" to 12" high and cantilevered out from between where the lower row meets the next higher one.

isometric drawing will usually be reasonably close to the real thing visually. Sounds like a neat challenge, good luck, Joe. Joe Brophy CountryTech Computer email: snipped-for-privacy@spiretech.com
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no helpfull advice here other then if the children are real small put your dvd/cd/vhf's and books you want to keep nice atlest three feet off the ground ifnot four or five...lol :)
Deborah

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Wow!
Lots and lots of good advice!
To try and answer some of the questions:
Budget: I would really like to spend less than $5K on the project. Tools: Woodworking friend has a 32'x20' barn (I helped design the truss system) filled with tools. Table Saw, Planer, Jointer, Shaper, Drill Press, etc, etc, etc...
- I seriously considered paint, and I might end up there, but I really like the look of wood and am willing to spend more to get it.
- Any pre-made doors I might buy will be unfinished.
- I get what your saying about using using CG for the carcass and solids for the face frame. On reflection and after putting a budgetary stake in the ground, I agree that the faces should be made from solids.
- I didn't mention it but I have already gone through the monolithic block construction to multiple componentized boxes. Good advice though
- I am leaning fairly heavily to pre-constructed doors to reduce reliance on friend.
- Regarding the door sizes. I have it laid out on a scale drawing something like this:
| door | door | | door | | acquarium | door | | door | door |
This has the first two doors butted together, a space, the third door, a space, the aquarium, a space, the fourth door, a space, and the two "false" doors on the end covering the HVAC stuff.
- I think the biggest thing that will help it avoid the wall 'o' wood look that I am trying to avoid, may be varying the depth of the boxes. If I made the two middle door cabinet boxes and the aquarium box protrude 3" beyond the others this might help break it up. I would love to do the same thing with the heights but I can't shorten the "false" cabinets or they would not be hiding what they need to...
- I like the bench idea. Very intriguing. I think one of the things I was considering would help break up the wall 'o' wood look would be the open book cases at the bottom. This way there would be other colors and textures available for view. Making the whole thing open though defeats my wife's desire to make everything "disappear" when we have company. :-) So I need the doors on the main cabinets.
- I made a scale visio drawing, but I am going to make a 3D CAD drawing with Solidworks... That will help my wife as well. She's not good with 2D interpretation.
- Yeah the kids are beyond chewing age! Just barely. But by the time the addition is done they will be well out of it. :-(
Thanks again for the great ideas, information, and advice.
Once I get it drawn up in Solidworks I can create a 3D image and post it.
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IMO a pretty good first stab.
FWIW, I would:
Keep the bump out, but only at one level (Door/aq/door, at the jutting out 3 inches, give or take)
Those bottom cavities will look like sH*t crammed with toys. How 'bout drawers?
The aspect ratio on the doors seems a bit squat to me. Center rails or adding a couple doors could make them more narrow.
My 2 cents,
Steve
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$5K seems like way more than enough to me. I did my own kitchen cabs. (maple CG ply carcases and solid doors solid face frames). I spent about $2000 for materials excluding counters (something like 750- ply, the same for maple, and about 500 for knobs, pills hinges and drawers slides.)
In fairness, I used this as an excuse to replace my planer and to buy the cabinet saw that I would eventually buy anyway. So I had a significant "tooling-up" expense
You appear have no more volume of cabinet than I did.

My only concern with premanufactured doors is that you might not be able to make the rest of the design integrate perfectly. If you do it all yourself, you have the same stock, same finish, edge treatments thoughout.
It's probably not that much of a concern/risk but I thought I would mention it. Maybe you can keep that in mind when you choose a door design.

Since we're way under budget can I get a 6-pack consultation fee? :-)
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Absolutely!
If you're ever in Pittsburgh, PA send me an email. I'll take you to "The Sharp Edge".
20+ Belgian Beers on tap... and Belgian Samplers, and Nitros, and you get the idea...
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Don,
I had another thought on how to spend your money. This is a "tradition" for which I have been on both ends. When asking a skilled buddy for significant woodworking help. Buy the right tool for the job, then let them keep it when the project is done.
Optionally, you can stipulate that you reseve the right to borrow it if necessary at a later date.
After my BOL helped me frame my addition I let him leave with the compressor and framing nailer. He earned every bit of that, and if I have a project that requires it, I have no bones about asking to borrow it.
In this case, you will be making face frames. A Kreg pocket hole jig is *the* tool for simplifying face frame construction. The K-2000 "pro pack" or whatever the current iteration is called, is the one that you want to buy. It costs around $130.
If your buddy does not already have one, buy him this, and subtract 5 cases of beer.
Cheers,
Steve
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Sweet! I like that!
Thanks for the tip.
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