building studio cabinets

If you have read my Sawdust Diary from last week you know I am coming terribly close to finishing the built-in cabinets in my new my studio with my DIY coach Sandra from Sawdust Girl.  She has been so amazing coaching me through each step of the way, not without some snags of course.  The final and most difficult step in the whole process is building the doors.  She always told me this would be the most challenging part and even said she would come out here and help me if I got stuck.


If you want to see the 4 choices of door designs that Sandra created for me you can check out my options on her site.  While I already made my decision which door I wanted you can still chime in on what you would choose.  When she sent over the plans with words like mortise, tenon, and dado I kind of freaked a little bit.

Okay it was more like meltdown city. After working on this project for over two months I so desperately want to be done and for it to be fully functional. I am OVER this project and just want to be DONE! Sandra tells me it is like birthing a baby and I won’t remember the pain when it is all done. I will keep you posted on that line of thought.

I knew the doors were going to kick my butt. However, seeing the plans in living color made it more concrete.  So I broke my DIY-for-life covenant and grabbed a lifeline.  It was the phone-a-friend lifeline.  I called my friend Rex from Carpentry Plus.  I actually met his beautiful wife Tracy through blogging and became fast friends since we both love being creative.  Anywho, Rex is a carpenter who specializes in built-ins.  If you have a project and you are in the Indianapolis area I HIGHLY recommend him.  Actually I don’t really recommend him until after he helps me install the doors.  So don’t call him yet.  I need him the first part of next week, thankyouverymuch. Smile


He willingly bailed me out and we built the doors together.  It took us 8 hours but they are done and all I have to do is fill, caulk, prime and paint them this weekend and then they will be ready to hang.  I am so close I can taste it!!!


I also wanted to tell you about my new favorite tool.  Have you heard of the Rip-Cut from Kreg Jig?  If table saws intimidate you when you are ripping boards down then check out the Rip-Cut.  It retails for about $45 (it looks like the  Rip-Cut is on sale for $32.11 at Amazon!) and you attach it to your circular saw and adjust it to the width you want and rip your boards (up to 24â€).  So easy and way worth the small investment.  I find myself pulling this out all the time when building lately.  Here is a picture of me ripping the beadboard panels for the insets in the door with the Rip Cut.

Ok before everyone calls me out…Two seconds after I snapped this picture I put a breathing mask on. Doh! I totally forgot when I started.  One quick cut and I grabbed a mask, the dust is BRUTAL!  When working with MDF wear a mask, umkay?


So do you think I am a wimp or a DIY phony for calling Rex?  Welp it is what it is and all I know is that this reveal is going to be happening on Sawdust Girl in the next 2 weeks and I couldn’t be more excited.

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  1. So.. kind of funny… I came over here because I thought your post said My name is Beckie, and I am a DIY Pony. I galloped over here and see no ponies, no hay, no neighs. Just you and your saw-and yes while I do think that is sexy, and glad to hear you jumped on that mask.. will you ride a pony in your next post for me? 😉 Great post girl! You know I love ya! -Jen

  2. Wow–they look great! Nothing wrong with using all your resources! I bet we all wish we had a pro carpenter friend:) Just curious now that you are done, how do you think you would have done on the doors doing it on your own? Doors intimidate me!

  3. I in no way think you are a phony! The fact that you can run any kind of saw at all without cutting your fingers off impresses the heck out of me. By the way, I’m redoing a dresser for a client and she just sent me the example picture of how she wants it done and it is the picture of your coral dresser. I laughed and told her I was very familiar with that dresser! I hope mine turns out half as good as yours! Good luck Beckie! I hope to meet you at Haven this summer!

  4. Oh my word, I think you are super courageous and daring to tackle something this big. Love the doors and I definitley think it is ok to call for reinforcements. Can’t wait to see it all done. Hugs, Marty

  5. Well I think you are great to take on the challenge! I probably would have caved long before now! I am sure Sandra is great to work with though. She is a sweetheart. You are going to be beaming when you are finished. I can’t wait to see.

  6. DIY Phony and your name are never to be said in the same sentence! EVER!! You have done such an amazing job. Don’t beat yourself up over asking for help! I think when we are willing to ask for help we learn even more sometimes. I know what you mean about being “over” a project. You just want to fast forward and be done with it all. It almost becomes a dreaded thing while you are in the thick of it. Anyway – you are awesome & I can’t wait to see the finished product. *hugs!*

  7. Thanks for being real and not acting like you know everything there is to know… That’s inspiring to someone like me who has been following all kinds of blogs and just needs a little umps to get started on a first project. Appreciate you!

  8. haha. girl… you’re right close to me. i should have YOU come now to Grand Rapids and coach ME…

    Love what you’re doing. I’m so intimidated by the power tools. I’m okay with say… a screwdriver… I tend to give my poor hubbs sketches on napkins or the water bill or the clean corner of a kleenex and let HIM build it out for me.

    heh. which MIGHT explain why not so much is getting past the but-it’s-only-snotty-on-this-one-corner kleenex stage?


  9. Not at all! You were still there learning and that is the important thing. I can’t wait to see everything put together. I am in love with the table you showed us a few days ago. You may have already mentioned, but what room are you building this in? Was it an old dining room? It is going to be worth every drop of sweat I am sure!


  10. There is nothing phony about your DIY project, so I would say you have graduated to a DIY girl. As for the doors, I would have done the same thing if I had the opportunity. Congrats.

  11. Oh, good grief, you’re no phony, you’re a wise lady who knows when to call in the big guns. Me? My tummy kinda’ feels funny just thinking about trying what you’ve done. Yikes! I need chocolate….

  12. Of course I think you made the right choice by calling my husband in to help. 😉 Seriously, though you are NO phony! He said you were right there for every step. I’m sure if this was the only thing you had going on and time wasn’t an issue you could have and would have done it ALL!!! I’m looking forward to seeing it completed and can’t imagine all the wonders that you will create in your fabulous studio!!! btw, thanks for saying I’m beautiful! 🙂

  13. Read the title and thought “yah, right!” And still think it, btw. Knowing when you have had enough and doing something about it is incredibily reassuring. Makes me trust your blog even more. Even if I’m not “allowed” to handle power tools–talk about Hubs craziness! ;D Looking forward to seeing the completed job!!

  14. DIY Phony? NOOOO Way!!! I loved this post and can’t wait to see the finished project. Quick question for ya though. I bought my Kreg Rip Cut about 3 weeks ago and am ready to rip some plywood for a project. You know how safety videos always mention two hands on a circular saw? However, that can’t be done with the Rip Cut. You have had no problems with one hand on the Rip Cut and the other on the circular saw? I’m pretty nervous about that, and it’s probably why I’m stalling starting a new project.

  15. You may think you are a phony, but I think you’re the real deal. Anyone who can build what you’ve built is not a phony! And asking for help is a good thing…if you aren’t comfortable, better to be safe than sorry! Looking forward to your reveal.
    But, wow, you are going to be busy! Working on this and Creating with the Stars, when do you find the time?
    Debbie 🙂

  16. I love the doors you chose, and they look FANTASTIC so far. I’m excited for you – this room is going to be amazing!

  17. You have done a great job Beckie! It is not bad to ask for help sometimes, when we really need it, because like this we make also other people feel useful! Well, at least this is how I feel when somebody asks for my help…..!I wait to see your studio complete!

  18. Phony! Ha! You are anything but a phony! Awesome, amazing, creative….I am super impressed with this project, you are my hero! And I am so jealous, I want a rip cut!

  19. (No to the Phony question – anything that requires anything more than a hand tool is beyond me 🙂 … but had to tell you I almost laughed out loud at this line – loved it!: “Actually I don’t really recommend him until after he helps me install the doors. So don’t call him yet. I need him the first part of next week, thankyouverymuch” … these personal touches are what makes this blog fun to read!

  20. Oh Goodness, No…no one faults you for calling for reinforcements! It’s not like you were sitting in a movie theatre eating buttered popcorn and wearing 3-D glasses while your friend was building your cabinet doors. I would think it was kind of fun to have some side-by-side help for a couple of days. One question. Now that you’ve had “lessons”, could you build cabinet doors in the future by yourself? See….totally worth it!!! Looking forward to the final reveal.

  21. Awwww thanks Karen. And thank you for taking the time to comment and interact with me on my comments. It is a rate thing these days and i treasure them.

  22. How is it going Becky? I just got the Kreg Rip cut (per Sandra’s recommendation) and I remembered you used it to but your bead board panel so I came to see your set up. I have to laugh (with you) in the photo isn’t MDF dust the worst? I cannot wait for the big reveal, you are keeping me motivated!

  23. DIY Phony? Of course NOT! You have done an amazing job! I’m also building a couple of bookcases and guess what? I cheated on the doors! I re-purposed some from a vanity. I’m scare to build doors, not there yet!
    I can’t wait for reveal time!

  24. You will love it! Yes MDF dust is terrible. Even if I didn’t want to wear a mask (don’t worry i did) you can’t handle it without one. Egads!

  25. Hi Beckie! So glad I found this site. Is there a tutorial on how to make the cabinet doors?
    I can’t seem to find one. please link me up. (: I am so ready to start building something!!
    Your project is GREAT! thank you so much.

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