Materials

We made our cabinets out of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) because it's strong and inexpensive. MDF paints like a dream, but you could also use a clear finish or no finish at all on these cabinets.

Although MDF comes in 49-in. x 97-in. sheets, the cabinets are designed so you could also use fir or birch plywood in normal 4x8 sheets without changing any dimensions,

MDF is not a perfect material, however. It's heavy, for one thing, so get help if you're going to install these cabinets on a wall. Attach them very securely to studs using 3-in. drywall screws. The drawer unit should not be hung from a wall at all. It's simply too heavy.

The other drawback to MDF is that it only holds screws well when they are correctly installed. The screws can't be too close to ail edge, or they'll split the material (see Oops!, at right.) You must drill good pilot and clearance holes (Fig. B) or ihe screws will snap or fail to hold. And finally, coarse-thread utility or deck screws will hold better than fine-thread dry-wall screws.

ATTACH CLEATS FOR THE SHELVES, using a piece of scrap to align them.This may not be the prettiest shelf support in the world, but it's strong, cheap and completely adjustable.

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