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Alcove approach advice

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PaulR

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Hi,

I’ve been asked to build a built in cupboard in my mothers kitchen, as she’s very short of storage (it’s a flat).

The flat is in a beautiful converted hospital and so has a couple of challenges...

The walls are ALL dry lined, and I’m not sure what’s behind it

The ceilings are 12 ft tall, and she wants a full height unit, it’s around 4ft wide.

So the approach question is, do I build two cabinets and stack them, or do I make a frame out of 4x2 and attach shelves and doors to that ?

Does a 4ft span for shelves mean some form of support will be required anyway so that pushes me down the 4x2 route?

I’ve done a search for previous answers but haven’t found one with the height I’m dealing with

Any tips appreciated!

As a side but possibly related issue, I’m buying a track saw on Friday and have the bits ready to build an MFT table (thanks Peter Millard for the video!). Plus I have a young family so the more I could build at our home before transporting over that would be great (hence why my own preference would be cabinets, but only if practical)

Paul
 

Rorschach

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Rental property or owned?

Given the unknown nature of the walls behind I would be temped to go self supporting with an infill to make it look fitted.
 

nev

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My tuppence worth.
3X 4 ft cabinets with solid (18mm?) backs, assembled with pocket screws (from the ouside edges - not seen when together) Back is inserted into frame and pocket screwed on rear.
Drill shelf holes in sides and centre line of backs to give a little support to shelf centres.
This means a) they're effectively flat packs and b) its easier to lift a 4ft cabinet thean a 6ft one.
Infill to give fitted look, and doors to whatever height desired.
 

PaulR

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phil.p":vur2s6fz said:
Don't forget to build in storage space for the step ladder she'll need to get to the top unit. :D
Don’t joke, that’s one of the things he wants to store !

She owns the flat

I was thinking a 4 foot span with 18mm ply or mdf might be too much ? Looking at about 2 feet deep, but perhaps a support all the way along the back and sides would do it ? Or may I not even need that ?

I like the idea of a couple of cabinets flat packed style, I’ve got the pocket hole tools so that’s very do-able

Thanks all


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Phil Pascoe

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PaulR":1rdvjzeq said:
phil.p":1rdvjzeq said:
Don't forget to build in storage space for the step ladder she'll need to get to the top unit. :D
Don’t joke, that’s one of the things he wants to store !
It wasn't really a joke - it's the sort of very obvious thing that get overlooked. :D
I remember years ago seeing a newly built supposedly professionally designed club bar that had no spaces for bottle and rubbish bins. :D
 

petermillard

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Make cabinets and stack them, definitely. Tallest at the base, then smaller as you go up - wouldn’t fancy lifting a 6’ tall carcass 6’ up!

Lots of ways to make the actual cabinets, but something for alignment (Dominos, biscuits, dowels etc...) and screws works well. Don’t forget you only need hidden fixings on the faces that show - if it’s an alcove cabinet then half of it will probably be within the alcove, so hidden - and a couple of pocket-hole screws in either side from the top and base will keep things together just fine. Flat pack and assemble onsite.

Wouldn’t use a thick back, personally - it would add too much weight imho - but something like 6mm or 9mm, planted on then glued/screwed/stapled/ nailed.

At that span I’d want a solid lipping or batten on the shelves - both edges, if they’re adjustable. Benefit of adjustable shelves is that they can be removed for moving about, making it lighter and easier to handle.

If it’s a recent conversion then presumably the walls are reasonably plumb and true - but I’d always check first! A plumb line from the ceiling will show any out of whack walls.

As for fixing into plasterboard, I’ve been using Fischer DuoPower plugs for a while and can highly recommend them.

Good luck! P
 

PaulR

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Thanks Peter, having watched a lot of your builds I appreciate having your input too. The idea of smaller ad I go higher makes good sense, and the lipping to the shelves.

For the lipping would it be thicker than the shelf and out of solid wood such as pine ?

Would 18mm mdf do the job for the charades or at this size woulf you recommend plywood ?


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petermillard

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Thanks! 18mm MDF is fine for the carcasses, but might go for plywood for the shelves at that span. And yes, lipping thicker than the shelving if the shelves are 18mm. 1 1/4” planed softwood will have a finished size of about 27/28mm which should be fine.

If you want to be fancy and have the time /tools, then rebate it so it supports the underside of the shelf as well - though I’ve never had one fail with just a glued-on front lip.

HTH P
 

PaulR

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petermillard":1z6fylx2 said:
Thanks! 18mm MDF is fine for the carcasses, but might go for plywood for the shelves at that span. And yes, lipping thicker than the shelving if the shelves are 18mm. 1 1/4” planed softwood will have a finished size of about 27/28mm which should be fine.

If you want to be fancy and have the time /tools, then rebate it so it supports the underside of the shelf as well - though I’ve never had one fail with just a glued-on front lip.

HTH P
Thanks again Peter, I’m considering using this build as an excuse to buy a domino . Do you generally use the same size dominos ? Reason I ask is there is the option to buy a kit with a sustainer of various domino sizes with, or just the domino tool itself
https://www.axminster.co.uk/festool...8Aimmuv9UfSznr6OilISVv7ANmGVJ02RoCKPYQAvD_BwE


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petermillard

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As if you need an excuse, lol! I use 5x30 dominos about 95% of the time. I have a full set of cutters, but I buy the dominos as I need them. Never felt the need for the full systainer, personally, but if it’s a decent price then it’s a good way to get everything you might want.

HTH P
 

PaulR

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She’s seen this setup in a neighbours which is built into a framework, could I replicate this with boxes or do I need to follow the same approach ?

Framework means more time on site which with 3 kids makes it a bit more awkward

9fdacb6c-f392-4c55-903a-3f45efd2ca6f.jpg



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PaulR

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petermillard":ir4xikhm said:
You can still use boxes, just treat the front as an over-sized face-frame.
Peter, that makes a lot of sense , how would I attach the door hinges? The doors are a standard offering so about 30mm thick. I’m assuming an mdf face frame would be too thin/weak for those types of door on Butt hinges ?

Apologies for yet another question!


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petermillard

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I’ve fitted thousands of hinges into MDF edges without any issues. Pilot hole, and appropriate screws of a decent length and you won’t have any problems. Alternatively if you’re going for the same traditional look as in the picture, you could treat the ‘face-frames’ as infills ie attached to the side of the carcasses, then you’re fixing hinges to the (internal) face of the MDF box, not the cut edges. You cover the join where the unfill abuts the carcass with architrave.

That said, I was assuming regular cabinet doors at ~22mm thick on butts or concealed hinges. Why so thick? Are they solid or hollow? Standard internal doors are 35mm thick, btw

Just curious - seems OTT for a cupboard.
 

PaulR

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Thanks Pete, they’re hollow doors, the same as get fitted between rooms but just a narrower version. I’m going to draw it up in sketchup as a box approach and a frame to see which she prefers. Currently she wants the same type of door which may have to push me down the frame approach.

The good news however is she’s got an alcove in the living room which is perfect for a box approach, so the domino is getting used either way :)


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