I needed something to fill this empty space in my kitchen and the Clara Buffet was perfect! For this project, I chose to use oak, a red stain with brown and black accents, and brushed nickel hardware.
As always, thank you to TDC for the great plans and thanks for reading! Also, check out my blog post (link below) for a lot more build pictures and thoughts on each building step!
Here are images of the piece mostly assembled without the doors or drawers. As you can see, everything has already been finished to avoid tight corners. Drilling the space for the door hinges…this was nerve racking! As you can see I taped around the area to avoid any damage to the rest of the finish. This plus the flange on the hinge hid any defects. You can see the gusset I added to the top inside edge of the side panels (see modifications section). This is what I secured the top with on the edges and it worked great.
Lumber was right over $200. Hardware, drawer slides, hinges, and staining materials were probably another $150 bringing the total to $350. Still a steep discount to the original!
This is hard to estimate, but I'd say 20+ hours because of all the finishing work. Actual cutting and assembly of the piece was MUCH short and could probably be done in a weekend.
I made a few modifications to the plans for multiple reasons:
First, I eliminated the top set of shelves since they really only serve to enclose the space where the drawers go. Instead I used 1×2's to mimic the front edge of where the top shelves would have been. This provided rigidity to the piece and kept the look the same.
Second, I had to slice off 3/4″ from the indicated depth for the main shelves in the plans. Reason being, the plans call for the shelves to be set back this distance so that the doors can close but all four shelf pieces are dimensioned for the entire depth of the cabinet on the cut sheet.
The plans call for 4×4's on the legs but I chose to try and recreate the original legs as closely as possible utilizing hardwood. This was for asthetics only and the original plans could be used with no issues here.
I realized during assembly that I had not predrilled vertical pocket holes in the side panels to attach the top. Fortunately I had two 3/4″ wide pieces of stained/finished plywood that I had sliced off the back of the shevles. I used these as gussets on the top inside edge of the side panels to secure the top from beneath which worked great.
As mentioned before, I used oak for almost every piece in the project besides the back for which I used birch plywood, the drawer boxes which are pine, and a couple of non-visible cross braces which are also pine.
Oak is a different animal working with but I really enjoyed the results. Make sure your cordless drills have good batteries! This stuff will eat up a battery real quick!
The finish here was not difficult, but takes time. It consisted of red gel stain, brown glaze, black glaze, and final lacquer with sanding sealer sprayed on between each step. All stains and glazes were brushed on and wiped off.
I chose to prefinish all the individual pieces before assembly to avoid difficulties with tight corners. This had advantages and disadvantages; The former being that we achieved a very uniform and professional finish on the entire piece. Disadvantages to this technique include difficulties surrounding utilization of pocket hole plugs (see my blog), needing a very large space in order to stage all the pieces while drying, and needing to be careful during assembly.