This bathroom storage hamper and litter box is made almost entirely from reclaimed materials. The main frame is made from salvaged pine which used to live as wall paneling in a church on Cape Cod. The weaved panels are created from PVC sheet packing material that was pulled from the trash at a lumber yard and is formed to the weaved pattern. Legs are from mahogany deck balusters that were salved from the trash.
The side sections are for storage (cat litter, laundry detergent) and the center is a litter box. All compartments are accessible both through the top and through the front.
Music by Sam Brockington: https://soundcloud.com/sam-brockington/sea-anemone
I start by cutting the pine paneling down to length for all of the pieces of the face frames and the doors.
These piece are then all cut down to the final width – all of the pieces are 2″ wide except for the top and bottom of the cabinet panels are 3″ wide.
For the front face frame, I use pocket holes to fasten it together. I drill them out using a pocket hole jig.
The stiles and rails for the face frame are then glued and screwed together.
For the other 3 panels and the 2 doors I use tongue and groove joints. I cut a 1/4″ groove on one side of all of the pieces. The tongues on the end of the pieces will fit in here, but the panels will fit in here too.
The tongues are also cut to size on the table saw using the miter gauge referenced against the fence for the depth. One run through at the correct depth and then little bites get the rest of the material off.
For the back panels, I just use 1/4″ luan plywood since this won’t be seen. I also use the same material for the bottom panel of the cabinet.
The tongue and groove joints are glued and plywood is inserted, then the whole panel is clamped together.
The rest of the panels are going to receive my weaved pattern. This is achieved through cutting the big sheet of 1/8″ thick PVC into a bunch of 1/2″ wide strips.
This fettuccine is then cut to length on the miter saw. These are cut to the size of the opening +1″ because the groove is 1/2″ deep on either side.
For each of the panels, one side is clamped in place temporarily. The long pieces are put in place and then each of the shorter pieces is weaved on the longer pieces with an alternating pattern.
The final piece is the hardest! But so far this thing hasn’t explode, so that’s good news.
Now is the point that I realize I have to now fit the final piece of the panel on over the weave…somehow.
Once I got into a rhythm it actually wasn’t that bad. I just started at one side and pushed each piece into the groove as I went to the other side.
Once that is all together I take it apart again 🙂
This time I take the shorter pieces off to apply the glue and then quickly put them back on.
All the panels are glued and clamped and then set to dry.
Those are set for the night and then unclamped and both faces of the panels are sanded down smooth.
On the bottom inside face of each of the panels I cut a 1/4″ groove that will hold the bottom panel in place.
For the legs, I pull out some mahogany balusters from my dwindling trash mahogany pile. 4 of them are cut to length on the miter saw.
I mark and predrill holes that I will use to fasten the legs to the panels. I use a counterstink bit so I can plug the holes later.
I also cut a 1/4″ groove in the legs, but do this on the miter saw. I cut to a depth where it won’t show through on the sides that are exposed following assembly.
I use some small scraps of the PVC plastic as spacers when fastening the panels to the legs.
The panel sits on top of the spacers leaving them set 1/8″ in from the face of the legs and each is glued and fastened with 2 screws.
I then assemble these side panels with the large back panel and front face frame with the bottom also in place. Then everything is glued and screwed together.
Once the whole unit is assembled, I cut some mahogany plugs and glue and hammer them into the holes.
These plugs are then cut flush and sanded smooth.
For the door panels, I mark out on them where I the hole needs to be for the European hinges. These are drilled out with a forstner bit and then the hinges are screwed into the doors.
The doors are then screwed into place on the cabinet face frame.
For the divider panels on the inside, I decided to cut some 3/4″ plywood down for this. These are cut to size on the table saw and I glue a pine nosing strip on the top edge. Blue tape is used to clamp these in place.
When the nosing is dry, it is sanded smooth. I attached each of these panels by gluing it and simply clamping it in place.
I want a litter box in the center section, but wanted to build one to fit so it is tight to all sides of the cabinet. I decided to use the same PVC sheet material for this and cut it down to size on the table saw.
To fasten everything together I use PVC cement and apply it to the joint, then hold the joint in place for about 30 seconds until it is dry enough to hold it in place.
While the litter box is set to dry fully, I cut some more 3/4″ plywood to use as the 3 lids on the cabinet.
I cut down some mahogany from the same reclaimed balusters to use as nosing on the panels to do the same contrasting that the legs are doing on the main cabinet.
Miters are cut on the nosing pieces to fit around the perimeter then they are glued and clamped in place with tape.
I put all of the top panels in place and space them evenly around the perimeter, then use pencil to mark the inside around the boarder.
I then cut some mahogany and cut it to size to screw and brad nail in place along these lines that I drew.
I wanted some handholds in the panels to grab them and lift them off so nothing protruded from these lids. I popped them on the CNC quickly and cut out a rectangular hole.
Each of the corners is then squared off with a chisel.
I use the same mahogany nosing and install this around the boarder of the hole by gluing it in place and the pressure is enough to clamp it.
The boarder of all of the weaved panels is protected with tape during the finishing. Once the linseed oil has dried, I then use paste wax as a top coat and then buff it with a rag.
Cat tax! Tested and approved 😀