Budget Tools for DIY Cabinet - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-27-2008, 03:25 AM Thread Starter
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Budget Tools for DIY Cabinet

Hi DIY Gurus,

I would like to know what affordable tools are necessary to have when planning to build a simple "butt joint" cabinet ala ADA style?

Here's my issue. Where I live, Retail Hardware's do not provide "table saw" cutting services. Therefore, it is hard(almost impossible) to have a perpendicular 90 degrees cut piece of 1"x3" hardwood to make a proper "butt join" using wood glue and screws(drilled).

Please try not suggest a table saw as I would need a routing table of sorts and that would be costly.

Thanks in advance for your time and feedback!

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Fred
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-27-2008, 03:40 AM
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I am not sure exactly what you are asking. Anyway, I hope this might help.

You say you have access to a router table? If so, you can use a router to square up any edges that might not be exactly straight.

A hand held circular saw with a shooting board (a simple to make jig; ask if you are not familiar with that term) can make pretty straight cuts.

As far as making the butt joints themselves, if you do not want visible screw holes, I would suggest looking at a pocket hole jig. Or perhaps even a biscuit joiner (more expensive than the PHJ, but perhaps more useful if you plan on making more items in the future).
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-27-2008, 04:06 AM Thread Starter
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I am not sure exactly what you are asking. Anyway, I hope this might help.

You say you have access to a router table? If so, you can use a router to square up any edges that might not be exactly straight.
Many thanks for the reply. Sorry for the confusing statement. I do not have a router table. So my exact question rephrased would be "What budget powertools can a first time woodworker obtain in order to make a simple cabinet? And would the tools suggested, make perfect straight cuts for a simple butt join?"

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A hand held circular saw with a shooting board (a simple to make jig; ask if you are not familiar with that term) can make pretty straight cuts.
I am not familiar with this, if you could provide a link with pictures, that would be very much appreciated.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-27-2008, 04:40 AM
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You can make a pretty good cut using a quick square(if you don't know google it) as a guide. Hold the square on the board to be cut and run the foot of the saw along the blade of the square. If you can't find a square you can make a guide that will do the same.
Jart had some good ideas for joinery but are they available to you and within your budget? Butt joints alone are pretty weak and screws are ok for holding things together while the glue dries. Good old mortise and tenon works well but are difficult, you could look at dowels, half-lap joints. Goolgle these things and look at some pictures and see what you can figure out? good luck!!
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-27-2008, 10:55 AM
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I use either a miter box and hand saw or a straight strip of wood and a couple of clamps and my circular saw to get a straight cut (I am looking to get a table saw soon).

With the wood strip and clamps, you just have to measure the offset of the blade to the line where you want to cut to use the wood to guide the saw. I use a straight 6 or 8' piece of 1x2. It may take a little fiddling at first until to get the correct distance to clamp the wood. This method is good for ripping ply.

The miter box works good for cuts on the type of 1"x3" stock you are talking about.

I built my stand and canopy with this method.

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-27-2008, 03:24 PM
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Most lumber yards will cut to your specifications. Buy a sheet of 1/2 MDF and give them a cut list. Be sure they know that you will be assembling a cabinet from the cut pieces and they will take extra care.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-27-2008, 04:26 PM
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I really like using a biscuit joiner or dowels to attach the face of the cabinet. It's near impossible to hide finish nails if you go that route. The dowels shouldn't be too pricey. All you need is a decent drill and a dowel jig.

You could try clamping a straight edge to the boards to guide a circular saw if you don't have access to a table saw.


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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-27-2008, 05:25 PM
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A circular saw and a square will be helpful for basic woodworking. Here is a link. Be sure and read both pages. http://www.popularmechanics.com/home...s/1303011.html

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-27-2008, 06:53 PM
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As others have suggested, you can use a circular saw and a straight edge and get decent results! Although, I like the shooting board as when you lay the jig on your piece of wood, you know exactly where your cut is going to be made.

I found a video of such a jig on the internet.
http://www.taunton.com/finehomebuild...-tablesaw.aspx

Basically the jig is just one piece of wood screwed on top of another. The top piece serves as the edge guide for the saw, so the edge of the top piece must be perfectly straight! After securing the two pieces, the saw is then used to trim off the excess on the bottom board. You now have a jig that will provide accurate cuts. But I should add, it will only work with YOUR circular saw and the blade that you use to cut the jig.

This is difficult to explain (although the jig is very simple), so I would suggest watch the video, then come back and read my post.

To keep costs down, and if you are dead set on hiding all your screw holes, I might also suggest another method of joinery. You can buy a set of bits to use with your drill that will serve as countersinks and plug cutters. So, when you drill your screw holes, countersink them. Then cut plugs out of a scrap piece of wood, and use the plugs (and glue) to fill your countersunk holes. Once the plugs are sanded, it is very hard to see them. Or, for a different look, you can cut your plugs out of a wood that is very different from the wood you are using for the main part of the assembly.

Other suggestions you have received are very good.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-27-2008, 08:17 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the guides guys. Will do some reading. The "wooden plank clamp guide" method is way cool. Maybe I will try just that. As for the joints, I guess I will stick to the butt join being a newbie. Will post my re-designed Sketch up drawing soon, for fellow newbies alike to digest!
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-27-2008, 08:24 PM
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DON"T use MDF or particle board where water is present! It turns into a sponge when it contacts water. Many cheap stands and furniture are made with them but they won't last long. Do it right the first time!
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-27-2008, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plaakapong View Post
DON"T use MDF or particle board where water is present! It turns into a sponge when it contacts water. Many cheap stands and furniture are made with them but they won't last long. Do it right the first time!
When treated correctly (sealed) it can work with good results. BUT why have the worry of something happening maybe? I agree with you on the don't use particle board or MDF.

Also, does anyone near you do woodworking or have the tools sitting around their garage? Maybe they would be willing to lend them to you or do it with you/for you. It shouldn't take too long to get a few cuts. (unless you have a father with the attitude that if its 1 millionth of a nanometer off it still needs work...)

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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-27-2008, 10:09 PM
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What size tank are you planning on building? Length, width, height?

I am thinking you could probably get by with a circular saw, some clamps, and some hand tools like a miter box. You could build a very decent stand with those tools.

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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-27-2008, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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Its different here, we dont have home woodworking garages like you guys do in the States. People here are lazy I would say. So the only option is to go to a cabinetry workshop in which a cutting of woodplanks will cost you close to 2USD per measurement.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-27-2008, 10:16 PM
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Its different here, we dont have home woodworking garages like you guys do in the States. People here are lazy I would say. So the only option is to go to a cabinetry workshop in which a cutting of woodplanks will cost you close to 2USD per measurement.
So what are you saying? You don't have a place to put this together, or you don't have any tools to work on this project? Or something else? LOL

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