Tuesday, February 25, 2014

......something something.....of mice and men.....something something.

Yeah, so about that....

I know I promised that the next post would involve some actual work....but the truth is, I was traveling back to Michigan for the weekend, and I never managed to get anything together for part 2 of the closet build.  What I did get, however, is overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done on my rental house before I can manage to get it sold......along with a list of things that need to be done at my other house.  But being home 4 days a month doesn't really allow for much of that to get done, and the piles of snow aren't encouraging either.

So, as a buffer.....today I'm going to talk about what tools we're going to need to get this closet going.  Just for clarification, these images are not my own.....most are stock images obtained via Google.

First things first.....you're going to need a circular saw.  These come in a wide array of sizes and power ratings.  You don't have to spend a ton of money on a saw, but as my grandfather always told me: "Good tools are a good investment."  I've got a cheapo Skil brand 7-1/4" saw that's been sitting around the garage forever, so that's what I'm using.

Since I don't have a nice table saw (or any table saw for that matter), ripping down 8' long sheets of plywood is going to be tough.  My lines need to be very straight, as the edges of my cabinets will be visible in some places.  To make this job easier, I picked up a product called Rip-Cut by Kreg Tool.  It's essentially an adjustable fence that attaches to your circular saw, allowing you to make long cuts without having to follow a line.  It takes a few minutes to set up properly for your specific saw.  Once the setup is complete, you just set the pointer at the width of cut you want, and let it...um...rip....so to speak.  They retail for about $35 and I think I picked mine up a bit cheaper on Amazon.com.  This is a great product, that while not perfect, I still highly recommend.

This should probably go without saying, but you're going to need a tape measure and carpenter's square....as well as a pencil for marking measurement lines.  You'll also want to pick up some good wood glue.  I recommend Elmer's.

For this particular project, I decided to use pocket-hole joinery.  While not as pretty as some traditional joinery methods (dovetails, box joints, etc.), it allows for very easy construction, and very tight joints.  Pocket-holes are also much easier to make for the novice wood worker.  When it comes to pocket-hole joinery, few companies offer more options or better products than Kreg Tool.  Pictured here, is their K4 Master System.  I borrowed one from my friend Shannon, and once I drilled a few holes, I decided I liked the product enough to buy my own.  They make several options, ranging in price from about $20 to around $150 for their manual systems.  There are also several automatic systems for production cabinet making.....but the average home builder would never need anything like this.  I think I picked up their K4 (retail $149) for around $115 on Amazon.  Again....while pricey, I highly recommend this product for anyone who ever intends to build a few sturdy cabinets.  If for whatever reason you decide after building a few boxes, that you'll never use it again....you can still get most of your money back by selling it to someone else.

So....that's all for now.  There are a few other tools I picked up along the way, and we'll discuss those in later posts.  Next post we'll talk about cut lists and how to make the most of your material by reducing waste.  Leave any questions or comments below.  We'd love to hear from you.


  1. I've looked at the Kreg tool for awhile nice to hear its as good as it says

  2. That Shannon guy sounds like a swell dude. :) Good stuff, my friend...keep it coming.

  3. I will add one other comment about "cheapo" saws...most entry and mid-level saws, are created equal. I own a worm saw, but I do a lot more continuous cutting and such. For DIY'ers - save some money on the saw and spend a bit more on decent blades, designed for specific types of cuts and materials. Saws don't save blades, but blades do save saws.

  4. Are you planning on selling the house this summer??? This snow is really a PITA. Looking forward to seeing a before and after photo of your master closet.

  5. The rental house went up for sale last summer, but the market sucks in the area right now, and after doing a walk-thru this weekend, it's obvious that a lot of stuff needs done before it will sell anyway.