Project - Kitchen Sideboard

I have just completed making what constitutes my first commission: a sideboard. The client wanted something cheap, durable, functional yet nice looking for a kitchen. It was to have a drawer and two shelves below for storage, which is a common and practical requirement.

I decided to make it out of board given the cost consideration. Board is even cheaper than plywood but lends itself to sturdy construction. Unlike plywood it does not sag or bend. The downside to board is that it is not as strong as plywood and can rapidly deteriorate if exposed to humidity and water. Board therefore must be closed on its exposed edges and finished well to make it as damp proof as possible.

To simplify the construction process I decided to put together the sideboard with pocket-hole joinery. I had presumed that this would speed up the construction process but it did not as the hot season was particularly severe this year in Greater Noida; it hardly rained but the heat and humidity levels were high. I could rarely bring myself to the project and what should have taken a couple of weeks at most stretched to three months. The weather improved a week ago and I finally managed to complete the project.

The steps were as follows:

1. Design - made a rough sketch nothing fancy, just the rough dimensions and what kind of drawer, base and shutters it would have.

2. Cutting the parts to size. This oddly always is the most difficult part for me. For professionals, cutting parts to size accurately is second nature but not to most hobbyists. Sheet material like board which come in large sizes (usually eight by four feet) are best cut by panel saws but at home one must use what is at hand: a hand saw or at best a circular saw. I used a circular saw after carefully measuring each piece and even then there were some discrepancies which had to be fixed by a sharp hand plane. I cut the smaller pieces with a hand saw.

After cutting the pieces it is necessary to check that all of them are square and not slightly trapezoid. For this an accurate carpenters square is best for it is larger than the normal ones.  The pieces, especially the sides and the tops must be exactly equal and square for a proper fit.

Carcase put together with pocket-hole joinery

3. Constructing the carcase. The carcase is basically a box put together by pocket-hole screws; the resulting structure is rigid but will rack slightly at this stage.

For more details regarding pocket-hole joinery see my post titled "Saw Stand or Basic Cabinet Construction with Pocket-Hole Joinery".

In the photograph, notice the exposed edge of the board on the left show the strips of wood sandwiched between the outer veneers. Moisture gets in easily and over the years loosens the internal bond of even the best quality board. To prevent this from happening it is best to seal all edges with strips of wood glued on to the edges. This is better and longer lasting than the iron on edge banding available these days. Moreover, wooden edges can be planed to requirements.

Adding the Shelf Support

4. Adding shelf support. Before proceeding I thought it best to add the shelf supports at this stage. The supports, two long strips of wood ¾ inch square were glued and screwed onto the sides. I used a piece of plywood to ensure that the supports were at the same height on both sides.

Carcase complete with Divider, partition and back

5. Completing the Carcase. After adding the shelf supports, I added a sheet on top to divide the interior into two parts: one for the drawer and one for the main storage. The back went in next, put in place by glue and nails. Lastly, added a wooden divider with two rebates running down its sides to accommodate the shutters.

Leaving the Top for Later

6. Painting the Interior. It is best to paint the interior at this stage because once the shutters are added it becomes more difficult to do so. I also primed and put one coat on the exterior. For a more details on painting board or plywood see my blog post titled "Painting Plywood" (

Making the Drawer

7. Making the Drawer. I made the drawer using pocket-hole joinery and routed a ¼ inch slot for slipping in a 6mm plywood bottom which was then screwed on to the bottom of the back piece. I selected a piece of spruce that was lying around, moulded the edges with a router and attached it to the front of the drawer. Next attached a brass pull. The drawer required a bit of fussing but it was made to fit with the help of a hand plane. I must mention though that a wooden drawer can be made to fit much better than a plywood or board drawer.

Supports for the Carcase

8. Making the base. The weight of the sideboard rests on four hardwood squares. I drilled through the centre to screw them to the bottom after gluing them in place. These will have to be very sturdy. To make the base prettier, I made a simple base skirting and attached it with glue and screws.

Base Skirting (before the supports were attached)
With the Shutters and shelf installed

9. Making the shutters and shelf. For the shutters I used plain pieces of board with their edges covered with wood. The shutters were attached with piano hinges. The shelf was made with pieces of scrap ply and wooden strips since I had run out of board and it made no sense to buy another sheet just for the shelf.

10. Final finish. After all this did the final finishing on top, inside and all around. Added the shelf, pulls for the shutters and stepped back to admire.

For three months this project had sat in my tiny library workshop and now it was ready. It had cost a tad more than Rs 4,000. I hope my first client will be pleased.

Finished at Last!

Power Tools Used:
Circular Saw
Electric Drill

Hand Tools used:
Hand Saw
Hand Plane
Rebate Plane
Nail set
Paint Brushes
Carpenters Square
Combination Square
Measuring Tape
Kreg Pocket Hole Jig (Basic version)

Materials & Supplies:
Wood Primer
Piano Hinge
Pocket Hole Screws
Brad Nails
19 mm Board 1 sheet
Assorted pieces of wood

Indranil Banerjie
7 September 2014


  1. Very nicely done! Why the piano hinges as opposed to normal hinges?

    1. Thanks Vinay. I used the piano hinges because they were lying around unused for months. Also, regular butt hinges have to be installed in a mortise cut into the edges of the door. The wooden strips attached to the board door were thin and I would be exposing the wooden strips inside the board. THere is a slight gap between these wooden pieces inside the board and there was a possibility of the hinge screw slipping or not gripping properly. Piano hinges do not need to installed in a recess and have many screws; if one or two fail it does not matter.

  2. Hi Indranil, It good to see you in action. Product looks solid & interesting specially long floor interaction molding. and yes you are absolutely right, kind of cheap (not by price but by quality) board are available, one should always take special care while using regular butt hinges. as edge of available boards looks solid but generally it is hollow from few places inside. and the best part (it may be coincidence) the gap will come in the way when you are making something (has happens to me twice while making 2 blanket chest, each 4 ft long)

    Is that a matte finish you have used for paint?

    1. SKC: Yes, you are right about those gaps. I bought good quality board but still found gaps in places which makes everything a little unpredictable. On the other hand, I find board to be much more rigid than plywood and just the thing for many a projects where spending the extra buck on plywood does not make sense.


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