vr ulff itay hose of you who share my disdain for spending hours setting up a tool to make just one cut for just one project, take heart. You can make lots of different projects based on the same basic box. This means that while you're set up for it, you can cut out parts for several carcases at once and stockpile the pieces until you're ready to build another project. By adding a door here, a drawer there or a shelf someplace else, you can turn this basic box into a bookcase, a wall cabinet, a stereo cabinet—all sorts of different pieces.
This technique of designing several pieces around one box—I call it the "universal carcase"—is well-known to professional cabinetmakers. Rather than go through a costly setup for just one cabinet, they build several at a time, embellishing the basic box with moldings, doors, shelves, etc., to make several different designs. While this technique is widely used in the furniture industry, I came across the idea pretty much by accident. I made three wall shelves like the one shown here. One sold quickly, while the other two hung upside down in my shop for a couple of years. I'd look at them occasionally as I went by, and one day I realized those wall shelves might make a good bookcase and might even make a good cupboard, if I added a door.
In fact, that carcase has been the foundation for about half-a-dozen cabinet designs so far and will probably yield half-a-dozen more before I start repeating my-
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