In Which Megan Narrowly Avoids Death by Cabinetry

hall-cabinetRaney Nelson was at my house a month or so ago, and mentioned that, while the kitchen looked nice, I could use more storage. I’m loathe to admit it, but he was right. I had no good place to hide a box of kitty litter, extra paper towels, tertiary pots and pans, and the like.

So today, I built what I swear on a stack of Shakespeares is the last kitchen cabinet – though it’s not technically in the kitchen; it’s in the tiny hall that leads to it from the living room. (Perfect – the litter box is in the half-bath off that hallway…I had to stand in it to take the picture.)

Hauling home from the shop a 35″-wide, 85″-tall cabinet in a Subaru is stupid. I had the driver’s seat pulled all the way forward and sat legs akimbo with my knees jammed into the dashboard, the top of the cabinet basically resting on my shoulder blades. I had to use bungee cords to keep the hatch closed. (And have I mentioned I drive a manual shift?) Had I been hit from behind, I’d have been decapitated by a cabinet. It would have be an undignified death indeed. (I do have bruises on both shoulders from a too-sudden stop, but there’s been no bloodletting.)

So now I have plenty of storage (the center shelf is fixed, the rest are adjustable). But there’s still a face frame and double doors to make – and won’t that be fun! Notice the uneven gap down the left side? The cabinet is straight, level and square. The wall (actually, it’s ductwork there to the left) is not, nor is the door frame to which I’ll need to scribe a wide face frame. There’s a 5/8″ differential between the widest and narrowest points…not that they’re points in a straight line, mind you – it’s more of a gentle wave pattern. But if I can get the face frame scribed and installed correctly, that will (obviously) make fitting the doors a far simpler process.

overfridgeOh – and there are two doors still to make for the cabinet I made last weekend…which I vowed, as I installed it, was the last kitchen cabinet.

I guess technically it was.

So no more cabinets – if for no other reason than I’m finally out of the eight sheets of 3/4″ plywood I had delivered lo these many months ago. And no matter how idiotic the driving risks I’m willing to take, a 4’x8′ sheet simply will not fit in my car. But that’s a problem; I need one last sheet of 1/4″ for the doors. Maybe it will bend enough…

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About fitz

Editor & content director for Popular Woodworking, ABD PhD focused on early modern drama, freelance content and copy editor/writer, ailurophile
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24 Responses to In Which Megan Narrowly Avoids Death by Cabinetry

  1. rwyoung says:

    Hauling home from the shop a 35′-wide, 85′ tall cabinet in a Subaru is stupid.

    35 feet by 85 feet is truly a big cabinet…

  2. Russell Pitner says:

    “simpler” or “more simple”? You’re the editor teach me.

  3. bsrlee says:

    Let me introduce a concept – Roof Racks. They even make them with rollers on a bracket so you can lean the object to be carried against the roller then heave it up and slide it on (they are intended for fishing boats or long extension ladders). If you buy a good brand like ‘Thule’ you can keep the racks and accessories and just buy new fixing brackets when you change cars (they key lock on too). For pesky flappy sheets of ply just take a length of 2×4 to strap/tie down on top (also useful for lancing errant cyclists who dodge in front of the car too).

    • John says:

      Ditto to the roof racks. Thule racks are highly customizable.

    • fitz says:

      Mine has bars across it, but they’re curved. I never bought the accessories. But yeah, thinking I might look into a Thule system. Or plan ahead and rent a truck when necessary…

      • one word.. Pick up truck.. OK that’s 3 but no charge for the extra ones

        • BikerDad says:

          “Pickumuptruk” – one word.

          I’ll second the roof rack. For 2+ decades I had a Yakima rack, which migrated from a Suburban to an Aerostar to an Escort Wagon to a Maxima. I have carried multiple sheets of plywood and dozens of board feet of hardwoods on that rack. Oh, and I’ve carried completed bookshelves of very similar dimensions to the one in question here, as well as mattresses and box springs.

          Plus bikes. Which is the reason it was purchased in the first place. One cannot carry a normal tandem IN any normal factory personal passenger vehicle, not even a Suburban. Perhaps a customized Sprinter Van with quad Captain’s Chairs and no 3rd row… But you can carry one on an Escort (Its almost as long as the car).

  4. Bartee Lamar says:

    PSA for cat people…. This is truly dust free cat litter. from Amazon, but available other stores.

    http://goo.gl/8gs7mc

  5. Marty Collins says:

    Overall, which is the bigger issue; dealing the funky walls or needing to haul an oversized cabinet in a Subi? Not trying to be a smart@$$ but I currently own a truck and am moving into a 150 yo. Farmhouse and am looking at possibly buying a new a Outback.

    • fitz says:

      I love old houses – don’t let the walls put you off! (Walls aren’t often perfect in newer homes, either). And my Subaru has performed like a champ since I bought it in 2005. Has about 120k miles on it now, and other than routine maintenance and expected things (new battery, brakes), the only major repair I’ve had has been to the locks. I’d absolutely buy another, and probably will — except that you can’t but new w/a standard shift anymore :-(. To the best of my knowledge, there is no SUV or crossover that will hold full sheet goods … And none left that I’d want that comes standard.

      I probably need a truck four or five times a year. They’re rentable…if you plan ahead.

      • steveschafer says:

        We had a 1999 Subaru Forester for a number of years. We learned the hard way that the Subaru H4 engine tends to self-destruct at around 120k-140k miles: the oil seals give out and it starts burning oil at a ferocious rate. I understand that the newer ones are better, but I don’t know exactly when they switched over to the new design.

        Overall, we liked the car, but given that our previous experience with other Japanese makes was more in the 200k range, it was definitely disappointing.

  6. John W. Suessmann says:

    Tough group! Seems like Christopher Schwarz has truck, doesn’t he? If not let me know and I would be happy to help you with my truck. I enjoy your work, thank you.

    • fitz says:

      You’re very kind. (CS has a truck-like SUV, but it doesn’t hold sheet goods.) And you’ve hit on my solution; I’ll be taking a saw w/me to the lumberyard (I don’t think Paxton will cut down sheet goods) and rough-cutting to get it in my car.

  7. James Stenhouse - Stenhouse Custom says:

    I loathe dealing with sheet goods, though my job makes it a requirement. Fortunately the big box stores I work with will cut those sheets to size. I never deal with full sized plywood. Granted you can only expect to get close(I usually round up on my sizes) to the actual measure, it does help you deal with awkward materials. Also, the only thing i’d tie to a luggage rack, is luggage.

  8. Brian Jackson says:

    Um. You let dead people in your house? Did he still have splinters in his neck?

  9. raney says:

    Sheesh, even dead my name only comes up in the context of having said something polite people never say. Must be my after-shave.

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