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Old 10-18-2012, 08:47 PM   #1
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building and mounting a custom cabinet


I want to build a custom cabinet and mount it securely on the wall in the bathroom. The desired cabinet dimensions are 22" width x 32" high x 9" deep and I would like to use the scrap 3/4" plywood I have laying around. I can only locate one stud in the area I wish to mount this cabinet and its a little left of the center. Also the bathroom wall itself consist of 3/8" plywood and 1/8 panel board so hopefully that helps with the lack of studs issue.

With the details listed above, how can I build this custom cabinet and securely mount it to this bathroom wall?

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Old 10-18-2012, 08:55 PM   #2
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building and mounting a custom cabinet


build the box first, then install some 2 1/2" cleats at the top and bottom of the box that are securely fastened through the sides of the unit then your back. these cleats are what you drive the screws through to anchor it to the wall.

this is more than enough to hold a small cabinet on the wall

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Old 10-18-2012, 09:54 PM   #3
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building and mounting a custom cabinet


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Originally Posted by woodworkbykirk View Post
build the box first, then install some 2 1/2" cleats at the top and bottom of the box that are securely fastened through hte sides of the unit then your back. these cleats are what you drive the screws through to anchorit to the wall.

this is more than enough to hold a small cabinet on the wall
Okay. So...:

- can I make the cleats from the plywood I have or do I need some other material?
- I'm essentially cutting two 2 1/2" x 3/4" x 22" pieces for the cleats?
- do the cleats fasten to the back of the exterior of the cabinet or flush where it's interior walls meets the bathroom wall?
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:50 AM   #4
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building and mounting a custom cabinet


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Originally Posted by anuvanoob View Post
Okay. So...:

- can I make the cleats from the plywood I have or do I need some other material?
- I'm essentially cutting two 2 1/2" x 3/4" x 22" pieces for the cleats?
- do the cleats fasten to the back of the exterior of the cabinet or flush where it's interior walls meets the bathroom wall?

I'd recommend a 1x4 as the cleat, plywood would work though. If you look at other cabinets in your house or any house you will see the cleat in most of them. The backside of the cleat lines up with the backside of the cabinet (so when the cabinet mounts to the wall the back of the cleat rests against the wall surface) and the cleat sticks into the cabinet by however thick the cleat is. Another way is to use 3/4" inch plywood to build the back of the cabinet and just screw through that anywhere into the wall to hold up the cab.
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:51 AM   #5
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building and mounting a custom cabinet


Only time you would need cleats is if the back of the cabinet is 1/4 plywood.
If your building the whole thing out of 3/4" that's more then enough meat to act as a cleat.
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Old 10-19-2012, 10:25 AM   #6
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I'll just repeat, cleats are inside cabinet, back side of cleat flat against inside of back.

With 3" screw at top into stud, and couple of shorter screws into wood wall, it should be secure. A 3" screws into stud, at bottom, will releave any leverage force on shorter screws. Maybe one mid way between it and top will be more than enough support.

I've used plywood for cleats for years, no problems. Use plenty of glue on ends and along top, fasten securly thru side and top of cabinet.
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Old 10-19-2012, 12:37 PM   #7
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building and mounting a custom cabinet


can anyone provide pictures or maybe a how to/DIY article or video?
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Old 10-19-2012, 03:13 PM   #8
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building and mounting a custom cabinet


What I did for the wall box on the left (approx. the same dimensions as yours, 24-square) is put the two screws into the stud (hidden behind the shelves) and another two into the drywall using anchors. Frankly, the two screws into the studs holds the box, but the other two don't hurt anything.

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Old 10-19-2012, 10:01 PM   #9
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Attached is what I built as per everyone's suggestion. The bottom cleat is 2 1/4" but the top is a little taller (I got lazy, didn't feel like cutting it to exact size). Is it correct? If not, how do I fix it?
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building and mounting a custom cabinet-20121019_171044.jpg  
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Old 10-20-2012, 08:54 AM   #10
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it looks fine, usually though the panel goes behind the cleats and is tack nailed to the back of the cabinet. with the panel mounted inside you will lose 3/4" inside space but it is not much...

just like the 2 cleats you have, you could cut two more cleats that go on the sides to give the panel a nailer where it is nothing to nail to now.

Last edited by hand drive; 10-20-2012 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 10-20-2012, 09:04 AM   #11
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It helps to understand the forces on a cabinet.....

The attachment at the top is mainly there to keep the top from rocking forward....

If you attach anchor the cabinet at the bottom...it carries the shear load and most of the weight....the top just holds it agains the wall.

A cleat will do this...but I think it's more work than needed.

I build my cabinets with so the bottom has a nice strong strip that is about 1.5" below the bottom shelf....I will us 1/4" recessed screws to catch a stud....then at the top...I just run a #10 screw into a studd through the top 1x4.

Now....with that said....

I try to adjust the widths of my cabinets so that I can catch at least 2 studs....when possible.

Click on the link in my signature for some pics of the cabinets I made for my garage....
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Old 10-20-2012, 10:11 AM   #12
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building and mounting a custom cabinet


That back panel was suppost to be attached all around the ends of the plywood on the back side. The way it is now it's not supported on the sides and may start to bow in or out.
Only other way is if you dadoed groves in the side pieces for it to slide into.
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Old 10-20-2012, 11:00 AM   #13
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Cabinet looks good, don't tear it apart. I was gonna suggest you put top and bottom between sides to hide edges, but you figured that out yourself. Usually the back is flush to back edge of sides, usually in a dado to hide its edges, but no biggy. Just add a couple of vertical strips, same material and width as cleats, along outside edge of back, glue and fasten thru sides, then thru back to verticals.

Measure and drill pilot holes for 3 to 3 1/2" screws into studs thru horizontal cleats, pilots for 1 1/2 to 2' screws in corners of horizontals to hold sides to wall. Pre-drilling makes it easier to hold cabinet level and in place while hanging. Unless you fill cabinet with gold ingots, it isn't gonna fall. Since walls are wood I don't think you will need anchors, mollys or toggles.

Sand, prime, and paint, or what ever finish, B4 you hang it, lots easier. Don't forget to seal with a couple of coats on back.

BTW what is finish? How are you going to conceal exposed edges of plywood? And what are going to do about shelves? Doors? That small a cabinet you can probably just nail shelves in from sides and back ( which could keep back from bowing, maybe no vertical strips on back needed.) Adjustable shelves?

Once you get this thing done, you can remodel kitchen. Or come help with mine, after 30 years of doing other people's I am finally doing mine. I'll teach you all you need to know about cabinets. Mostly how you hold 8 foot long wall cabinets up while I screw them in.
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Last edited by notmrjohn; 10-20-2012 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 10-21-2012, 11:18 PM   #14
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Just add a couple of vertical strips, same material and width as cleats, along outside edge of back, glue and fasten thru sides, then thru back to verticals.
Why? Wouldn't this look ugly sitting on the side of the cabinet like that?
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Old 10-21-2012, 11:28 PM   #15
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They go inside the back area not on the outside of the cabinet.

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