I’m partnering with Black & Decker to showcase the MATRIX, its newest cordless 20v max drill/driver with a unique line of attachments that’s more adaptable than any other multi-tool that I’ve had the pleasure of owning.
I made a not so brilliant purchase on Fab.com last summer. It was a whole embarrassing case of mis-communication, as I thought these rad dark gray powder-coated doors actually came with a large storage unit. Imagine my surprise and disappointment when the doors arrived in a mysteriously flat package, with no beautiful birch surround, and actually, quite to different specs than I expected in terms of size. They’re big. A set of two doors. Fab quickly apologized and changed the product description used on its website to properly reflect what it was that they were selling, but at the time–and which still may be the case–they didn’t accept returns or refunds. I guess I was the silly one to assume that a whole “designer-brand” storage unit would sell for $62. Whompity-whomp-whomp, Fab fail, Emily fail.
The intention all along had been to buy a storage unit that would sit above our bathroom toilet, so when the plan with this Fab unit fell through and I instead bought this bathroom vanity that was much better suited for the space, I held on to the metal doors with a non-descript plan of making something with them someday.
They moved with us to the new house safely, and when the opportunity arose with Black & Decker to make something, they stood out in my mind as a great candidate, and great reason to put them to use. A contemporary storage unit would be the perfect addition for this new home, and god knows we have plenty of wall space to fill.
One goal I was challenged with was to use the MATRIX drill and its Quick Connect System™ of attachments to facilitate the entire project, and I succeeded:
- I used the trim saw attachment to cut the board to length
- And the router attachment (with my own 1/4″ bit) to create grooves in the lumber for the doors to fit within.
- The detail sander attachment to smooth out the edges of the cut lumber
- And the drill attachment which comes with the tool itself (and my own 3/8″ bit) to create pilot holes for wood joiners
- I also used my own clamps, wood glue, and polyacrylic, and purchased a new router bit and 11-feet of premium poplar 1×12 lumber for the project
I started by measuring out the metal panels I already owned, and figured out the dimensions I needed. The whole unit would end up being 43″x15″, and the trim saw, though not adjustable for cut depth like a circular saw, adequately cut through the 3/4″ board.
I could vouch for the lightness of the product at this point – between the slim battery pack and lightweight attachments, it’s easily a lot lighter than the other cordless drill that I’m used to using during projects while still having a good oomph in terms of power.
My intention with the doors was to have them sliding in tracks. This could be done any number of ways, with a dado blade on a table saw, a circular saw against a guide set to a shallow depth, or a plunge router with a guide, so use what you have access to, but I used the router attachment to made two parallel guides evenly throughout all four sides so that the doors would inset flush. I bought a 1/8″ straight bit attachment for this part–the MATRIX router component accommodates single-wrench bits–and clamped a guide squarely to the poplar boards as I routed along them.
To avoid having the router cuts showing on the ends of the cabinets, I chose to use the drill bit to pre-form a pilot hole of sorts that I could plunge the router into, rather than push the router in through the wood from the outer board edge.
With the routed channels complete, I plotted a way to assemble the four sides. Instead of using wood screws, I chose to use wood joiners using a 3/8″ bit and 3/8″ dowels cut to 3/4″ pieces so that I could achieve a clean, outer finish. This would be made a little easier if the MATRIX had a biscuit cutting attachment, but I met the challenge using a wood punch to mark pilot spots for the drill bit, and carefully measured each peg placement (18 in all) to ensure that the boards and pegs would line up perfectly.
After the pegs were marked, I used the sander attachment to smooth down the whole piece.
Before I actually assembled the unit, I gave it two coats of clear semi-gloss water-based polyacrylic, and let it dry overnight. That wood. Those parallel guides for the doors. I was feeling so good about this project. That’s not foreshadowing, this project was coming together perfectly from beginning to end.
At this point with the aligning of the peg joiners and the carefully aligned tracks, it felt a lot like assembling anything IKEA. I used wood glue to secure the pegs into the holes, installing the short sides into the base, and then aligning the top and securing it into the remaining pegs with more wood glue. It came together square without a lot of effort, but I still monitored its angle as it was assembled and clamped during the day. Keeping it square was important, obviously, because the doors wouldn’t slide or fit into their grooves correctly if it was even a few degrees off.
I employed every last clamp that we had to make sure the glue-coated edges had tight contact while it dried. In this view from the back, note that I didn’t add a back panel. As it came together and saw the scale, I decided that it would eventually be the perfect addition to our living room, a new cabinet to hang on the wall beneath our wall-mounted TV. That is, someday, you know, when we have a TV hooked up. It’s gotta happen soon since fall shows are starting up again, no pressure.
You can see in this photo how I added to the corners once it was dry with 45-degree angle reinforcements on the inside (each is flush to the back of the boards and secured with more 4 wood joiners). When we install, we can drill through it to install this baby to the wall directly. They’ll also help to keep the unit square if someone were to be leaning against it. They are wide enough to support an anchor bolt, or a good drywall screw directly into a stud.
See why I actually think it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever made? Wood stickers aside, I mean. Looks store-bought.
I’m obsessed with it. And considering I made it all with the $62 doors, $40 in poplar wood, and the MATRIX tools, I’m really proud that it’ll be something that’s in our home for a long time.