Building a China Cabinet Part One


White Farmhouse China Cabinet with Glass doors NJIn this series, I’ll post images and descriptions of the various steps involved in building the China Cabinet featured above this paragraph. I took pictures of many of the steps as I built the cabinet. However, I’m writing retrospectively. Please excuse any errors or omissions.

The Design-

My customers specified the size, and color of the cabinet. They also requested that the cabinet should have glass doors, and that the upper and lower portions of the cabinet be roughly the same size. I suggested that the upper portion should be slightly set back from the lower portion. This allows for the use of a waist molding, and a cleaner transition between the upper and lower cabinets. My customers agreed. Other decisions about moldings were left up to me. I’ll discuss the crown molding and the base molding in another post.

Wood China cabinet painted white side view

Building the Cabinet Boxes-

These cabinets have boxes made from maple plywood, and face frames made from Poplar. After I break the sheets of maple plywood down with my track saw, I cut them to their finished length on my table saw.

Sawstop sliding table

Cutting  Plywood China Cabinet parts on a Sawstop Table Saw

Next, I cut the dados for the shelves, tops and bottoms. I tried Veritas Dado Shims for the first time on this project, and I was pleased with the result.

Dado Blade and Dado Shims for Cabinet Making

Dados in Upper China Cabinet sides

Dado joinery China Cabinet Sides

Dado China Cabinet

Assembling the Cabinets, Face Frames, and Test Fitting.

After Cutting the dados in the sides of the upper and lower cabinets, I assemble the cabinets and install their backs. Next, I build the face frames. I use dominoes for the joints in the face frames. After attaching the face frames, I place the upper cabinet upon the lower cabinet. This allows me to verify that I haven’t made any mistakes concerning the offset between the upper and lower portions of the cabinet.

building cabinets from Plywood

building a china cabinet from plywood

In Part Two, I’ll discuss building the doors, and cutting the glass.

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