Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: West coast of the east coast of the USA.
I use story sticks. I built a library system floor to ceiling, wall to wall and only used a tape for rough measurements.
It's really simple. To get the measurements for the outlets and the window along the wall I took two pieces of wood (sticks really) that when pushed against the wall overlapped in the middle. In this case I put a screw through them but mostly just use a spring clamp to hold them together. Anyhow it's jammed between the walls. I draw a line as a reference so I can line it up in the shop later. Then I mark every obstruction along the wall on the sticks and label them. Turn the sticks 90 degrees and put it from ceiling to floor and add the reference mark. Mark the heights of every obstruction that needs accounting for. No need to remember measurements you've got it all.
Now when I build the cabinets I mark everything onto the story sticks again. The width of the face frame. How deep the rabbet is for the shelf in the side panels. How much of a reveal I want on the inside of the frame to the inside of the cabinet. The dado and reveals are measured using a set of brass bars. 1/8, 1/4, 3/16, 1/2.
For the width of the face frame wood itself I just look at it and decide what is pleasing to my eye then cut one as a sample. That sample is saved and used to reset the saw anytime I need a face frame cut. The front of the shelves have a front frame also that is a little narrower than the face frame itself. Again another sample.
The story sick has everything on it you need to build the project and is a true 2 d representation. After I built all the cabinets I laid them out in the shop. It matched perfectly. When I installed them it fit like a glove.
BTW I use those same brass bars for tool setup. Consistency is key. You can't get that with a flexible tape measure.
For the height of the shelf I used what i was going to put on them as a measure. Brought a stick to them and marked it. Whether it was my collection of AFI magazines or my cheap stereo.
There are very few fasteners in the system. Most are to build the face frame and to install it to the carcass. All the cabinets are held together with good, tight joinery and good wood glue. And I know for a fact it will withstand falling over. Stupid stupid error on my part. Had the lowers and uppers all setup in the garage. And forgot about it. Right up until the point the garage door opened.
One other thing. The side of the cabinet that shows actually has an inside and outside to it separated by scraps of plywood to give it thickness. That is the main thing that set the reveal on the inside. It was all accounted for on the story sticks. Those sticks are my bible for building this and with those I can build it again to the same exact measurements. And it will fit exactly the same every time.
Also with the sticks the top rail of every cabinet lines up perfectly. And there was never a doubt since it was all done with the same stick.
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Last edited by GraphicGr8s; 11-10-2012 at 10:27 PM.