Level bases, modular construction, and scribing to walls are keys to success
Synopsis: Built-in furniture adds value and personality to a home. However, it is also a unique form of woodworking, encompassing furniture making, cabinetry, and finish carpentry. Built-ins require careful advance planning. The article includes techniques for building modular cases, scribed edges, and reveals to conceal seams and joints. From leveling the base to installing molding, OMalley details the steps that will result in a beautiful custom piece in your home.
From Fine Woodworking #166
When designing and building the more utilitarian pieces for your home—entertainment centers, bookcases, corner hutches—you’ll inevitably consider the question: Should I make it freestanding or built-in? The answer involves both aesthetics (which will look better?) and economics (do you want to spend all of that time and effort on a project you’ll have to leave behind if you move?). Sooner or later, you’re likely to tackle a built-in.
Over the last few years I’ve earned an increasing portion of my income from wood working, and the majority of it has been from built-in projects. Built-ins are popular with homeowners for two important reasons: First, they add value, becoming a permanent, hand-crafted part of a home. Second, you can buy a piece of furniture at a store, but you can’t buy a built-in.
Built-ins are a unique form of woodworking, sharing elements of furniture, cabinetry, and finish carpentry. Because the built-in is permanently attached to one or more of the walls, the floor, or the ceiling of a room, the design goal must be to make the built-in appear as an integral part of the room. That means matching and integrating the room’s features, especially moldings, into the design. But a built-in also can stand out as a bold counterpoint to the design features of a room.
Either way, a…