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How to Build a Custom Built-In Using Stock Shelving

This Old House general contractor Tom Silva transforms stock shelving into a custom built-in

In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva transforms stock shelving into a custom built-in.

Building a custom built-in

  1. Use a utility knife to slice through the existing paint and caulk along the top and bottom edges of the baseboard.
  2. Carefully pry the baseboard from the wall with two flat pry bars.
  3. Saw through the baseboard with the oscillating multitool fitted with a plunge-cut wood blade.
  4. Clamp and screw together two cabinets using the impact driver and 1¼-inchdecking screws.
  5. Set the extension-shelf units on top of the two cabinets, and secure them with the provided cam-screw fasteners.
  6. Measure and mark the stud locations on the wall, then set the cabinet assembly against the wall.
  7. Insert wood shims under the front of the cabinet and check for plumb with the 4-foot level.
  8. Fasten the cabinet bydriving screws through the cabinet back and into the wall studs. Repeat to install the other cabinet.
  9. Glue and nail ⅛-inch-thick pine filler strips (ripped from your 1x stock) to the upper edge of the cabinet. Secure the strips with glue and the pin nailer equipped with ¾-inch pins.
  10. Screw a 2x4 nailer to the ceiling directly above the cabinets.
  11. Cut a fascia from pine 1x8s to fit along the top of the cabinet. Nail the fascia to the cabinet and to the 2x4 nailer attached to the ceiling.
  12. Install crown molding along the ceiling and across the newly installed cabinets.
  13. Nail the new baseboard across the base of the cabinets.
  14. Build a pine-frame toekick to fill the space between two cabinets. Then cut a shelf to fit on top of the toekick. Adhere the shelf with construction adhesive only.
  15. Build and install a second pine frame and shelf to create a storage nook between the two cabinets.
  16. Scribe the 1x6 pine face frame to fit between the wall and cabinet. Bevel-cut the board along the scribed line with a circular saw.
  17. Nail the scribed face frame to the cabinets.
  18. Cut and install the remaining face frames to the cabinets.
  19. Finish the cabinets with a coat of semigloss acrylic latex paint.