Scott Holson

Design Opinions requested

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I'm planning on making cabinet to hold board games and electronics, and I don't trust my design sense. I wonder if anyone would be interested in looking over this cabinet and making suggestions about what I can add, or did add that doesn't make sense, or what I should add/change to improve the design.

Upper cabinet hinges up and back, 
Middle cabinet doors hinge out
Lower doors hinge out but have a game board storage area attached to the door. I've added a few pics.

Rough dimensions are 51" wide x 15" deep x 45" high
All doors, sides, back will be baltic birch
All banding will be Red Birch (matches a set of shelves I build earlier)
Although not shown in the image, I will add a power strip on one or both sides of the upper cabinet (not sure yet if I need two)

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Scott

Cabinet with doors closed.JPG

Cabinet with doors open.JPG

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I shouldn’t be one answering this as I know absolutely nothing about design but my eyes say nthere’s something wrong and I think it’s the fact that the rails and stiles are different widths on the top two and the bottom one. I get the fact that you’re matching them on the inside stiles but I think it would look better if the outside stiles and all of the rails were the same width. JMO. Otherwise, neat design. 

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Hi Scott,

I'm not a design expert either but I'm a serious amateur photographer and I try to apply some of my composition skills/rules to what I design. My first thought when I looked at it was "wow, that's busy". There''s a lot going on there. As much as the phrase "Less is more" annoys me, it's true. This feels very broken-up to me.

It might help to use miters on the doors and the four outside corners of the trim.

Try using full length vertical trim on the outsides and break up the center one instead. so the horizontal trim would run from the inside edge of the left vertical all the way through to the inside edge of the right vertical (excepting of course the top which obviously has to be separated). I'm thinking this would help tie things together and make it look less like two separate units.

Maybe consider continuous side panels.

Hope that helps.

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I agree with @badbitbucket about "too busy," and I think the issue with the rails and stiles that Coop raised is a part of that.  A couple of thoughts:

  • You might make the middle set of doors look like the top cabinet, and have the doors swing up and slide into the cabinet.  Hardware something like this would work:  https://www.wwhardware.com/kv-8050-up-and-under-inset-flipper-door-slides-kv8050pez (just an example - I don't know if these are good ones or not).  That would cut down on the number of stiles in the design.
  • If you go that route with the middle doors, I think you could then make all of the rails and stiles the same width.  If you want to clean it up further, you could eliminate the faux stile in the middle of the bottom doors.
  • I think the idea of making the horizontal members comprising the carcases run all the way across the width of the cabinet makes sense.

A few other thoughts:

  • I think there may be a clearance issue with the game board storage box, as drawn.  If the outside of the box is as close to the edge of the door as it appears, I don't think it will clear the side of the carcase when you open/close. You could set it in a bit from the edge of the door, or maybe you could angle the side of the storage box. You might want to check the size of some of the games you'll want to store there, to make sure they'll fit.
  • Related to that, it seems to me that the narrow shelf at the back of the lower cabinet will be nearly useless - narrow, low and hard to reach.  Maybe you could make the game board storage larger, to use up more of the depth of the cabinet.  Clearance issue is still there.
  • I'm guessing that the top cabinet will probably remain open when you're using the equipment stored there.  You'll need to think about proper hardware to hold the top open.  I also wonder if it would make sense to hinge the fronts on the top, so that they could swing down flat to the top, when it's open.

Looks like a neat project - hope this helps.

Gary

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If you want to reinforce the feel that these are separate items stacked, the different rails and stile widths amplify that.  If you want the feel of a whole unit with multiple features, I would make the R&S the same, or very close dimensions.  Maybe stepped by a small percentage on the upper but, not the large difference you show. Again, depending on what you are trying to "say". JMHO.

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This piece has very specific requirements, so some typical design rules may have to be ignored. 

Regarding the game board / box storage in the lower case, you can eliminate the clearance issue mentioned by @G Ragatz by making it as a shallow drawer with a tall drawer front, rather than a swinging door. In that case, I suggest eliminating the narrow shelf in the back, or incorporate that storage nook into the back of the drawer. With full- or over-extension drawer slides, it will be much easier to access.

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1 hour ago, wtnhighlander said:

Regarding the game board / box storage in the lower case, you can eliminate the clearance issue mentioned by @G Ragatz by making it as a shallow drawer with a tall drawer front, rather than a swinging door. In that case, I suggest eliminating the narrow shelf in the back, or incorporate that storage nook into the back of the drawer. With full- or over-extension drawer slides, it will be much easier to access.

I like that suggestion much better than my own!

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If possible I would make it 20" deep. I would simplify the design by having drawers above and 4 doors below. The layout of drawers would be influenced by the items to store.

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Hard to tell from the sketch, but the top and middle sections are seperated by a shelf, yes? What is the specific requirement that leads you to raise the upper false door with the top, rather than separating them?

In regards to folding that false door up under the top, consider it carefully. Double movements like that are difficult to keep aligned under frequent use. One way to do it, without resorting to complicated lid-stay hardware, would be to embed magnets in the top edge of the false door, and mating magnets in the bottom surface of the lid. Simple hinges behind the false door allow it to fold against the lid, but the magnets will snap it rigidly into place when closing up. Perhaps a weaker magnetic catch could keep the door flat against the lid while opened.

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Hey @wtnhighlander

Great idea about the magnet for the false door. I wasn't necessarily planning that false door to fold inward when the top swung up, it was a suggestion by Gary. I haven't really given the idea full consideration yet, but I will. 

Regarding the requirement to raise the false door in the first place. My plan includes plugging things in for charging and generally having my hands access the contents of those top shelves. I thought it would be unique, and also handy to not have to reach down whenever I accessed that shelf. Instead I'd be reaching across. I like the idea because if I leave the false door in place, that cabinet feels like a well and I'm not sure I'd like that. Until I lock the design, I'm open to changing it if the whole concepts becomes problematic.

Scott

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What is the purpose of the flip top? What electronics need this sort of access?

I built something like that on a small box. One problem is the top piece can warp, or just change seasonally, resulting in the joint between the top and false drawer front not always being a true 90 degrees. When that happens, you’ll have trouble keeping the two halves nicely aligned, as they may not move/warp to the same extent.

It also means you can’t store anything on top of the unit. Many cabinets look nice with a vase or similar accent object on top. 

If you want to procceed with this direction, I’d suggest removing the middle joint and making the top one single piece, rather than two distinct halves. 

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20" depth allows you to make useful drawers. I also see no need or purpose or benefit for a hinged top. I think drawers will provide for your needs.

Scott, please explain your knowledge and experience on woodworking. Knowing your skill level and about the tools you have will allow better suggestions for your design. Thanks.

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