Fishing for Outdoor Barbeque Cabinets – Part 3

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outdoor cabinetsFinishing this article this month seemed like the smart thing to do as it goes hand in hand with finishing your project as well. Plus we get a little continuity going here which makes my wife very happy. Making my wife happy  means I am happy. ‘Nuff said.

Preparation for Outdoor Cabinet Building

Let’s assume most of us can’t afford the high cost of solid PVC to make our cabinets.  I told my wife it was either use PVC or save up for her next diamond. Apparently to her, “next” inferred that the previous diamond I had given her actually counted, so she said use cardboard. Always marry a woman with a sense of humor. Whatever you choose to make your cabinets with, paint the living sh… out of them. But before you do, use a waterproof glue like Titebond III like paint, and paint all exposed edges of your boxes. Mix in a little water to thin it down a bit, use a little 1” throw-away brush, and coat all the raw edges. Now you’re ready to paint everything. Use a good oil-based primer and paint anything on the outside that doesn’t move. Top, sides, back, and bottom – let her rip. Hit the bottom especially hard and you’ll be rewarded later. There’s an analogy in here somewhere but I wish to remain happy. ‘Nuff said.

Installation of Outdoor Cabinets

USE CONCRETE TOE KICKS!!! I can’t stress this enough. It’s your only hope of having cabinets that will last any decent amount of time. When you get married, what happens? You cement your relationship, that’s what. Now isn’t this really just a metaphor for concrete toe kicks? C’mon man, of course it is.

Now before you set your cabinets on the out-of-level concrete toe kicks (the only way to avoid this is to form it yourself and be there when they pour), go to your sheet metal guy and get some scrap stainless if you can. If not, then some galvanized sheet metal will do. Lay these pieces down first, before you set your boxes. Use a little dab of Henry’s so they don’t slide around. Let them overhang the kick, and they will help deflect the water from the wash down given by the If You Grow It We Will Come mow and blow experts.

Next, put a two by four ledger on the wall. So easy to use a masonry bit and some tap cons while standing up, instead of being contorted inside the cabinets trying to drill into masonry or rock. Screw all your boxes together, and to the ledger, with stainless steel screws. The hinges, pullouts, and whatever else you use can always be replaced, but use stainless for your assembly screws.

Use the Right Hardware for Outdoor Cabinets

As I alluded to above, you can always replace your hardware. Sugatsune makes a stainless hinge but it doesn’t have soft close, and what does a hinge cost anyway? Three bucks will get you a cool self-closing hinge with soft close from Blum. Let’s say you have a 12’ run of cabs with all doors. That’s like twenty hinges you might replace in five years. Do the math and it’s not much. Plus, you have the newest  hardware on the market every five years. The same goes with the chrome pullouts and whatever else you decide to throw in behind your doors.

Under the sink is always the nastiest place in any cabinet be it indoors or out. Get a piece of stainless cut to fit loosely in the bottom of the sink cabinet. Every so often just empty your cabinet, pull out the stainless and hose it off. Ok, a little solvent might come in handy, and who doesn’t like the smell of acetone/lacquer thinner in the morning?

Outdoor Cabinetry Doors

Here’s the final piece of the puzzle. What material do you use to make the doors? Some options are stainless steel, solid wood, and paint. Now I know I mentioned last month that I could make some awesome stainless doors, but let’s not forget what got me into this mess anyway. The wine. Wine is stupid. If I had just stuck to beer and maybe a shot or two, I might not be in this mess. But I digress. I recommend paint. If it’s good enough for the rest of your house, why not the cabinet doors? If you keep up on maintenance, they’ll last as long as your house.

Yes, you can order stainless  but you’ll never get to hear those melodic sweet words wafting through a relaxing Friday evening as a relaxing weekend is almost upon you, “Honey, we need to paint the outdoor cabinet doors. Something cheerful and bright.” Wouldn’t wanta miss that, now would ya?

burmese teak
Click here to order, Marc!

As for solid doors, teak is awesome. Speaking of awesome, Marc Lyman, our illustrious leader and guru, will probably be sending me a coupla hundred board feet of FSC certified plantation grown Burmese teak just for product evaluation. You know, so I can pass my knowledge onto you. This man is a saint! So good luck and go for it, Marc!  You rock so hard!

“Honey, did you see the Lewis’ new trellis? It’s nice, don’t you think?”  (Stall, don’t take the bait, pretend you didn’t hear, maybe it will pass…..Yeah, right.)

“No honey, I didn’t. But what’s really nice is saving up for that new diamond!”

Oh, yeah…

Photo of author

About Brad

Brad Baker is Vice President of Operations at Miller Woodworking in the Los Angeles area, designers and builders of custom cabinetry and interior millwork for the rich and famous. They make the impossible, and their work has been featured in fancy schmantsy architectural glossies more than a few times. All that high end creative stuff aside, he maintains a strong spiritual belief that the real sign of a good woodworker is all 10 fingers. He and his wife Ann Baker co-write for HomeFixated. Ann is CEO of Publicity Pros, a firm that provides “All Things Publicity” services and training for small businesses. She’s a hopeless nerd who revels in anything and everything having to do with the technology of attracting attention. And, no joke, she loves to bake.

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