How to Make a Corner Cabinet

How to make a matching pair of corner cabinets with removable glass doors. A simplified woodworking project with tongue and groove joinery, face frame, flush glass doors with removable back panel and easy to make drawers. These two cabinets were made specifically for my music room to hold up my PA speakers. One cabinet has glass doors with a removable back panel and the other cabinet was made to hold my rack mountable music gear.

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how to make a corner cabinet

Cutting plywood on tablesaw

Step 1: Cutting Cabinet Shell

Cut to width and length the 5 boards that will make up the cabinet.

Cutting dado on table saw

Step 2: Cutting Dados

On the two side pieces you’ll want to cut three dados to accept the center pieces. You’ll want to set the width of your dado to the exact thickness of your plywood. It’s recommended to cut the dados in scrap wood to test fit the pieces.

glue up cabinet

Step 3: Glue Up Cabinet

Next you’ll glue up the five boards with some yellow glue and clamps. Make sure everything is square as you tighten the clamps.

ripping plywood on tablesaw

Step 4: Cutting Face Frame

The face frame will cover the exposed edge of the plywood cabinet and give us something to attach the doors to. Start by cutting to width and length the five pieces that’ll make up the face frame.

pocket hole screw faceframe

Step 5: Assembling Face Frame

Now you can glue and screw your face frame together. I prefer using pocket hole screws on the back of the frame. It makes for quick work and the pocket holes will not bee seen since the backside of the frame will be glued to the cabinet.

Gluing on faceframe

Step 6: Gluing on Face Frame

Next you can glue the face frame right to the cabinet. If you use plenty of glue and clamp it correctly you wont need any other reinforcements. Some woodworkers like to add biscuits or pocket hole screws but in my experience it’s not necessary.

flush trim faceframe

Step 7: Flush Trim Face Frame

Using a flush trim bit with the bearing on the bottom, clean up the overhang of the face frame. The bearing will ride along the cabinet while the bit only removes material from the face frame and leaves a near perfect surface.

Ripping walnut on tablesaw

Step 8: Cutting Pieces for Doors and Drawers

Cut all the door and drawer parts to width and length out of solid walnut.

Cut groove on tablesaw

Step 9: Cutting Grooves

All 12 pieces will receive a 1/4″ deep and 1/4″ wide groove cut right down the center. This will accept the tongues on the mating pieces as well as the door glass and drawer panel.

Cutting tongue on tablesaw

Step 10: Cutting Tongues

All the rails will have a 1/4″ tongue that will fit into the mating groove. Cut this in some scrap to test the fit.

gluing up drawer

gluing up doors

Step 11: Gluing Up Doors And Drawer

Next you can glue up the drawer and the doors. For the drawer you will need to cut a 1/4″ sheet of plywood down to fit. You can leave the door panels empty for now.

rabbeting doors

Step 12: Routing Rabbet for Glass

With a rabbeting bit mounted in your router you can then route a rabbet on the backside of your door panels to accept the glass.

cutting drawers on tablesaw

Step 13: Cutting The Drawer

Cut the drawer pieces from 3/4″ plywood with a 1/4″ groove cut into to accept a sheet of plywood for the bottom. The width of your drawer needs to be 1″ smaller than the opening of the face frame. This will allow for 1/2″ thick drawer slide on each side. The bottom panel measurement is approximate and should be cut to fit.

assembling drawer

Step 14: Assembling the Drawer

Now you can glue and clamp the drawer together using wood glue. Once the glue dries you can then add some screws into the sides for reinforcement.

Installing door hinges

Step 15: Installing Hinges

Now you can attach the doors to the cabinet with the hinges of your choice. There are many types of hinges and for this project I chose to use brass butt hinges. You can watch a video on how to install butt hinges here.

drawer slides

Step 16: Installing Drawer Slides

Before installing the drawers you will need to build-out the insides of the cabinet so your drawer slides are flush with the face frame. I used some 2×4 lumber and planed them down, glued them to the sides and mounted my drawer slides.

installing drawer face

Step 17: Installing Drawer Face

Then you’ll add some wood glue to the back of the drawer. A good tip is to add some hot glue into the corners as a temporary clamp. Also it’s a good idea to use a deck of playing cards to ensure an even gap all the way around. Once the hot glue cures you can open the drawer and add some clamps.

edge banding

Step 18: Making the Top

Next you’ll cut the top out of Baltic birch plywood. The corners can easily be cut off at the bandsaw. To cover the edges of the plywood you can purchase edge banding or make your own like I did. I cut some very thin strips of walnut on the tablesaw and just glued and taped into place. To attach it to the cabinet, just pre-drill and screw it down from underneath.

tacking on cabinet back

Step 19: Attaching the Back

Now you can tack on the back of the cabinet with some brad nails.

adding glass to doors

Step 20: Adding Glass to the Doors

The door panels can be whatever you like! I had my local glass supplier cut some glass to size and I have it backed with these 1/4″ plywood panels. Everything is held into place with window screen clips.

cabinet feet

Step 21: Cabinet Feet

The last steps are to add feet, a finish and some shelf pin removable shelves. The feet are just some walnut scraps I glued into place and for the most part are not visible but I like how it “lifts” the cabinet off the ground. I used one coat of boiled linseed oil followed by 3 coats of satin polyurethane.

how to make a corner cabinet how to make a corner cabinet


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