Need input on closet design

wghatcher

Greg
Senior User
About a year ago the wife and I talked about upgrading the closet, and after looking at designs and prices I made that comment “I should be able to build this for a lot less”. Well, when recently talking about starting another project, I got the “Where are those closet cabinets that you are supposed to build?” So I guess I better do that first. So some questions for those of you who may have built such a project or just have a lot more experience than I do.

1. Do you agree that 1/2 ply should be plenty strong for this project?

2. The wide side of our closet is 100 inches across, and the design she wants includes three connecting modules. Is it better to build three stand alone modules and connect them in the closet at final assembly or Do I save some wood and use the center module as a side piece for the two outer modules? I am thinking option 2 saves a little wood, but might lead to a number of other issues in trying to construct.

3. The closet currently has base moldings. Which option is better for working around the molding?
A. Mount the bottom unit on walls above base molding
B. Notch the bottom unit to fit around the molding
C. Remove the base molding - Would likely need to reinstall in at least some places. Also, concerns about damaging floor or drywall

4. Best solution for adding hardwood edging to the plywood. Is their a better option than buying hardwood and milling down to size. I want something better than the iron on edging.

5. Any recommendations on painting (White) versus finishing the wood (probably a light to clear finish on birch plywood)?

Hoping for some advice to get me started on the right track
 

Graywolf

Board of Directors, Vice President
Richard
Corporate Member
Your finish choice is a matter of personal taste, so that’s your business. The Constrution should be out of 3/4” stock not 1/2”. Having built a few I can tell you 1/2” is nice but not going to cut it long term. You just need to mill down the edge banding, it will turn out much nicer in the long run. Just my two pennies. Good luck and post pictures of your project. I’m sure you will do a great job!
 

Roy G

Roy
Senior User
Greg, on Steve Ramsey's Youtube channel, he has recently redone his closet. He put in three base cabinets and made them separately with some wiggle room, since closets are notoriously not square. This may be similar to your ideas.

Roy G
 

wghatcher

Greg
Senior User
Richard and Roy: Thanks for the replies. Richard, thanks for sharing your experience on 1/2 and 3/4. Not worth saving a few bucks if it will not last.

Roy, I will check out the videos. Good point on things not being square.
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
I would definitely remove the base molding and reinstall it where necessary. I think it's both easier and will look better. You may want to use some 1/4 plywood or something on the wall as you pry on the molding and you should run a utility knife along the molding/wall interface since it is probably caulked. I like to start with a stiff putty knife before using a pry bar.

I would build the units of 3/4 plywood but you might be able to skip the center cabinet by using the sides of the other two for it, especially if you put on a face frame which could eliminate your need for edging the plywood.

I once pre-finished plywood with oil based poly. I rolled it on. It dries slowly, however so it takes awhile. I believe you can also buy pre-finished plywood. Could save a bunch of time. You should talk to your wife about clear finish versus paint.

I believe the Next Level Carpentry you tube channel had a piece or pieces where he is building closet units. You might look for it for ideas.
 

Cuprousworks

Mike
User
It's been a while since I built closets, but for plywood I found water based poly was the best finish, as long as you lightly sand and recoat shelves to get them smooth. Still not as smooth as melamine, but some prefer wood. Poly dries hard and doesn't have a residual odor. If you're going to paint I would look to a urethane enamel or similar coating that won't remain tacky like trim latex paint. But if it's paint I would revisit melamine.

One additional tip - I covered the wall with 4x8 x 1/4" aromatic chip board. Goes up quick, then easy to build shelves and poles over it. Found it at Lowes, not too expensive (remember, this was 25 years ago) and nice scent for quite a while. They also have fragrant cedar tongue and groove for wall covering. I used it for trim around shelves, and trimmed out some melamine shelves with it. Brittle with a finish nailer but great finish. That closet was wife's main regret leaving that house...
 

Skymaster

Jack
Senior User
since this is what I do, here is my 2 cents, IMHO pay the freight and use pre finished 3/4 ply.I use Maple Pre finished, anything else is maintenance,especially paint.
do not know what equipment you have, you might just toss this around. 3 base units, all drawer units, keeps everything clean and dust free, double pole. low one for pants and shirts, the high one for dresses etc.Buy from a good lumber/cabinet supplier NOT the junk in the box stores.YES more cost up front BUT 1000% less aggravation and problems fighting poor quality material. If you go drawers use 1/2 double side pre finished. It is a UV finish that you can literally wash with lacquer thinner. That totally eliminates the need to finish,plus much much better finish than can be done by yourself and in the over all much much better
 

wghatcher

Greg
Senior User
since this is what I do, here is my 2 cents, IMHO pay the freight and use pre finished 3/4 ply.I use Maple Pre finished, anything else is maintenance,especially paint.
do not know what equipment you have, you might just toss this around. 3 base units, all drawer units, keeps everything clean and dust free, double pole. low one for pants and shirts, the high one for dresses etc.Buy from a good lumber/cabinet supplier NOT the junk in the box stores.YES more cost up front BUT 1000% less aggravation and problems fighting poor quality material. If you go drawers use 1/2 double side pre finished. It is a UV finish that you can literally wash with lacquer thinner. That totally eliminates the need to finish,plus much much better finish than can be done by yourself and in the over all much much better
What source would you recommend for the pre-finished ply? I agree that if I don’t need to finish it is worth paying a little more
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
3 base units, all drawer units, keeps everything clean and dust free, double pole. low one for pants and shirts, the high one for dresses etc.
I'm confused about what the OP wants and what Skymaster is suggesting that he build. Maybe something like this modular design?



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Skymaster

Jack
Senior User
What source would you recommend for the pre-finished ply? I agree that if I don’t need to finish it is worth paying a little more
Hood supply off 70 going toward clayton, mc keown supply, google pre finished plywood. I believe there is a hardwood supplier right on forum who may have it also
 

Skymaster

Jack
Senior User
Jeff you have it. The design is rubber, ie pole in center and units on sides ,few ways to do it, tho this setup gives you a His and Hers
 

Skymaster

Jack
Senior User
Wurth is another supplier. If you decide to do some shelves,make them adjustable,trust me on this :cool:, again double sided 3/4 prefin.Earlier yuo asked about edges, I use edgebanding,also solid just buy some soft maple, rip strips, Poly them glue em on wally! Easiest is to put a centered tongue bouts 1/4" on shelf and 1/4 groove on back of maple edging, self centers glue em on AFTER finishing fergetted DONT finish the backs, need raw for glue
 
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