How to Build a Kneewall Cabinet Part 2 of 2

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A kneewall is a short wall that meets the slope of the roofline in an upstairs room. By cutting a hole in a kneewall and installing a recessed cabinet, you can turn the wasted space behind it into a useful storage area.

 

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Overview

A kneewall is a short wall that meets the slope of the roofline in an upstairs room. By cutting a hole in a kneewall and installing a recessed cabinet, you can turn the wasted space behind it into a useful storage area.
Because the body (carcase) of a kneewall cabinet is not visible, it can be built using ordinary plywood and simple butt joints. The face frame and drawer faces, however, should be built with hardwood, and finished carefully.
The project shown here fits in a space that is 30" wide—the standard width of two adjacent stud cavities with a center stud removed. Before beginning work, check the spacing of studs and the location of electrical or plumbing lines behind your kneewall. Your kneewall may have a removable access panel, which makes it easy to check behind the wall.
You can make the cabinet wider or narrower to fit your wall stud spacing, but regardless of size, be sure to leave a few inches of space between the back of the cabinet and the rafters.
From: Complete Guide to Custom Shelves & Built-Ins, 978-1-58923-303-4

What You'll Need

Tools:

Circular saw or jig saw
Flat pry bar
Reciprocating saw
Drill
Tape measure
Bar or pipe clamps
Hammer
Nail set

Materials:

Drywall or deck screws (1", 2", 3")
Finish nails (1 1/2", 2", 3")
Wood glue
Finishing materials
Drawer hardware

Cutting List
Part
No.
Desc.
Size
Material

A

Header and sill
6 linear ft.
2 x 4s

B
2
Pedestals
14" x 15"
2 x 4s

C
2
Sides
19" x 28 1⁄2"
3⁄4" plywood

D
2
Top and bottom
19" x 30"
3⁄4" plywood

E
2
Shelves
19" x 28 1⁄2"
3⁄4" plywood

F
1
Back panel
30" x 30"
1⁄4" plywood

G

Face frame
11 linear ft.
1 x 4 oak

H

Shelf rails
5 linear ft.
1 x 2 oak

I

Drawers

 

Step 1

How to Build a Kneewall Cabinet - Step 8

Clamp and glue the shelves to the side panels to form butt joints. Reinforce the joints with 2" screws driven through the side panels and into the edges of shelves.


Step 2

How to Build a Kneewall Cabinet - Step 9

Clamp and glue the top and bottom panels to the side panels, then reinforce the joints with 2" screws.


Step 3

How to Build a Kneewall Cabinet - Step 10

Measure and cut 1/4" plywood panel to cover the back of the cabinet. Attach with 1" screws or wire nails driven through the back and into the side, top, and bottom panels.


Step 4

How to Build a Kneewall Cabinet - Step 11

Measure the width and height between the inside edges of the cabinet. Cut the rails to the width. Cut the stiles to the height plus 7". Clamp and glue rails between stiles, and reinforce joints by toenailing 3" finish nails through the rails and into the stiles.


Step 5

How to Build a Kneewall Cabinet - Step 12

Apply glue to the edges of the cabinet, then position the face frame over the cabinet so the inside edges of the face frame are flush with the top, bottom, and side panels. Attach the face frame by drilling pilot holes and driving 11/2" finish nails into the cabinet every 8". Use a nail set to countersink the nail heads.


Step 6

How to Build a Kneewall Cabinet - Step 13

Slide the cabinet into the opening so it rests on the pedestals and the face frame is against the wall surface.


Step 7

How to Build a Kneewall Cabinet - Step 14

Anchor the cabinet by drilling pilot holes and driving 3" finish nails through the face frame and into the wall framing members. Also, drive 3" finish nails through the bottom of the cabinet and into the sill.


Step 8

How to Build a Kneewall Cabinet - Step 15

Sand and finish the cabinet face frame, then build, finish, and install overlay drawers.


 
 

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