More Miter Saw Cabinets Part II: Stain and Seal

After completing the frames, I had to notch out the holes for some of the irrigation and electrical outlets before staining and sealing.

I had to really take my time transferring the dimensions from the wall over to the back of the cabinets.  For example working on the left cabinet measuring the distance from the left edge to the right to find where the outlet is going to start I had to measure from the right to the left to transfer it over to the back of the cabinet.  It was really awkward.  My Dad has always told me that I have no common sense and I really can’t argue with him.  I took some extra time on this step so I can get it right.  It wouldn’t have been good to have a hole on the wrong side of the back of the cabinet haha.  A last check that I did before cutting out the holes was setting the cabinets back where they will go and getting a sanity check of whether or not the cut holes are in the right place.  I don’t know if it’s me or the jigsaw that I have that makes it really difficult for me, so instead of using my jigsaw I used a multi tool with a wood cutter attachment. It worked well for me so I’m going with it… haha.  I was able to get the notches cut out without having to recut the back of the cabinet which I was pretty pleased with.  The only thing that I messed up was that when I was notching out the hole for the conduit I didn’t accommodate the depth of the back wall into how deep into the shelf I needed to make room; so I’ll have a ~3/4″ extra wide hole for the pipe, but oh well.  I learned.  Here’s a picture of the notched cabinets in place before stain and seal:

I laid out some plastic sheeting for the stain and seal, but I learned from staining my office tables that my garage is extra sharp from the seal that we did so I now put cardboard on top of the plastic sheeting.  Then I have my mini sawhorses on top of the cardboard and set the cabinets on them.  I’m still really surprised at how useful the mini sawhorses have been.  I sanded only a tiny bit, but I used the shop vac and tack cloth to make sure the cabinets are clean and ready for the stain.  Even though I never fully liked the black and brown combination I’m still sticking with it haha.  the cabinets themselves I stained with Ebony Minwax and the Cabinet faces I stained with Red Oak Minwax.  On pine especially I make sure to use Minwax Prestain; it helps a ton.  I just use a cloth and wipe it on.  I’m not good at painting, but I do find stain to be particularly forgiving with being able to blend it and make it a uniform color.  I also used a small brush to really get the stain into the corners.  (I didn’t bother with trying to stain inside the pocket holes though.).  I also gave each piece 2 coats of Minwax Polyurethane each.  It took forever.  Patience I keep telling myself.  (It still doesn’t work though…)

After the poly was dried I needed to add the hinges.  When I was working on the hinges for the bottom cabinet faces I accidentally used a long screw on the cabinet face and it was too long and drilled through to the front of the cabinet face.  I was pretty upset and fortunately I remembered that this time.  I made it an extra point to separate the screws from each other.  The hinge mounts to the cabinet face with 3 short screws and it mounts to the cabinet carcass with 2 longer screws.  I separated them and literally took them to the cabinet frame as to not accidentally use the long screws on the cabinet face.

I used my square to align the hinge with the rails (crossbars) of the cabinet face.  I used a hinge drill bit to center the pilot hole in the mount for the hinge.  These drill bits are super handy.  Just make sure to engage the spring plunge every so often to clear out the remnants.  After the pilot hole I screwed in the hinges themselves.

To connect the cabinet faces to the carcass to I used a scrap piece to set the cabinet faces on top of to dictate the height and then clamped the hinges onto the carcass.  This is doubly beneficial to make sure the cabinet faces are in the right place and also to engage the hinges; otherwise they’d drift on you.  When you just rest the hinge on the frame it would still be tilted, but when you engage the hinge it flattens out and will stay where it’s at.  I think it’s because of the spring that helps the hinge auto-shut after a certain close angle.

I felt a great sense of relief after I had the cabinet faces up.  As I took a step back and was first able to check  it out I was really excited.  I also had some good country music up load and I was having a good ol’ time in the garage.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

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