Build a Vanity Cabinet
Add a handcrafted touch to any bathroom
Synopsis: This vanity has great proportions and simple lines, with a mirrored door that is simple to make. All the joinery is cut at the tablesaw using a dado set. The door is assembled with slip tenons, and the frame is rabbeted before assembly to ensure a perfectly square recess for the mirror. The cove molding for the cornice is cut at the tablesaw and assembled before it is attached to the cabinet. Non-mortise hinges add to the look and the simplicity of assembly.
Size: 6 in. deep by 20-1/4 in. wide by 29 in. tall
Browsing at a country flea market one weekend, I came across a vendor selling interesting architectural pieces. There were fireplace mantels, stained-glass panels, doors, and some odd lengths of ornate moldings. What really caught my eye, though, was a bathroom wall cabinet of Victorian vintage. It was simple and graceful, with a soaring cornice and nearly perfect proportions. Miraculously, it still wore its original finish. Over the years the cabinet had developed a deep, rusty color and a wonderful patina, punctuated by a brass Victorian cupboard latch. This was a piece worth copying.
I took some measurements, snapped a few photos, and then returned to my shop to draw up plans for a similar piece. This cabinet is the result. I made it out of quartersawn white oak. The ray-fleck grain patterns give a nice flair to the simple lines of the cabinet. What’s really nifty is how the mirrored door is made. I assembled the parts with slip tenons—nothing revolutionary—but before cutting the joinery, I rabbeted the pieces for the mirror. This method creates half-lap joints and a perfectly square recess for the mirror without any need for chisel work in the corners. This piece is a popular class at my school, and I understand…
Get the Full-Size Plan
CAD-drawn plans and a cutlist for this project are available in the Fine Woodworking store.