Learning how to build your own china cabinet is a great project for the intermediate-level carpenter. A china cabinet can add distinction and personality to any room while showcasing your favorite dinnerware or antiques. While store bought china cabinets are logistically simple, they can often be quite expensive and do not allow for the level of customization that can be achieved by doing the work yourself. If you are a handy person with the available tools, this intermediate-level home project will help you to add character and uniqueness to any room.
Step 1 – Choosing Your Wood
Hardwoods are a long lasting, beautiful material for your china cabinet project. While soft woods like pine are a more economical choice, they are also less durable and more prone to having knots and cracks that will mar the finish of your cabinet. Use a larger hardware store for the purchase of your wood, as they will be able to cut the lengths for your shelves and sides for you, in most cases. Choose a wood that will complement the existing furniture in the room you where you plan to put your new china cabinet.
Step 2 – Measuring the Wood
Determine the size that is best for your cabinet. Measure out a base and height. A good working size for a china cabinet is 2 feet deep by 4 feet wide, with a height of 5 feet. For this particular size of cabinet, you will need 2 2x5 hardwood panels for the sides, 1 4x5 plywood panel for the back, 2 2x4 panels for the top and bottom, doors for the front, and any decorative edging you would like to apply.
Step 3 – Assembling the Frame of Your China Cabinet
Create the frame for your china cabinet using furring strips. Use your measured and cut plywood for the back of the cabinet, and the hardwood panels for the rest. Pre-drill the holes using a recessed bit, so that you can use wood caps to hide the screws later. Remember that the most important aspect of any carpentry project is preparation. Lay out your tools and materials according to your desired measurements prior to beginning assembly. Use adjustable shelves for the interior of the cabinet.
Step 4 – Installing the Doors and Shelves
Install two sets of doors; glass paneled for the top, and solid for the bottom. Measure the cabinet top to bottom to be sure the door will meet properly. The glass doors should occupy approximately two-thirds of the cabinet's face. Install the doors by drilling holes for the hinge assembly according to the manufacturer's instructions, which will vary by the hinge type and designer. Carefully screw the assembled hinge into the holes, and swing the doors open and closed a few times to see if you have them level.
Step 5 – Putting the Finishing Touch on Your Cabinet
Now that you have finished assembling your china cabinet, you will want to apply a finish. Choose a finish that complements both the grain and quality of the wood and the decor of your room. Clear lacquers look beautiful on woods like cherry and oak. If you choose to stain the wood, make sure that you test the stain on a small section of wood or piece of scrap prior to applying your finish, just to be sure that it dries as you envision it.