Small bathroom cabinet – free standing sink base

a simple design for a small bathroom vanity cabinet

The last challenge accepted was to build a small bathroom vanity cabinet: a free standing base for a sink, with accents made out of ash wood. The legs of this cabinet are actually two wooden frames that also have a decorative role: they are installed on the outside of the cabinet.

You can also see the simple folding towel rack, which was made out of laminated ash wood and match the cabinet.

If you prefer a video, you can watch the entire process on our YouTube channel:

How we build a simple free standing bathroom vanity cabinet

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The ash wood legs

For these two decorative frames we used laminated ash wood. Both the wood laminating process and the homemade double C clamps for laminated timber beams are described with a lot of details in their posts.

1. I used two laminated ash wood boards. I planed them and I squared two faces. Then I planed the other two faces using the Metabo thicknesser. I wanted to get them to the sizes of 3.2 cm by 3.2 cm in section.

2. I cut 8 pieces: 4 pieces at a length equal to the depth of the cabinet and 4 pieces at a length equal to the height of the cabinet + 10 centimeters.

these are the ash wood pieces used to build the small bathroom vanity legs
The ash wood pieces of laminated boards used for the frames

3. We wanted to use box joints for the 2 frames, because these joints are decorative, practical and easy to make. But most of all they are very strong. So, I drew a line at 3.2 cm from the edge of one plank (3.2 cm is the thickness of the laminated planks). This mark helped us to know for sure when to stop the cut.

I marked the ends of one piece of laminated ash plank to build the frames for the cabinet
Marking the ends of the laminated ash planks

4. I made the first cut and I stopped at the marked line.

the distance between the the bandsaw blade and the bandsaw guide is equal to the third part of the laminated ash plank
The first cut

5. To make repetitive cuts at the exact same length, I secured a wooden block with a clamp to the guide of the band saw. We needed more identical cuts, so using this wood block helped us save time. We no longer had to mark each piece nor be careful not to exceed the lines when cutting.

I secured the wood block with a C clamp, in order to make repetitive cuts for some box joints
Securing the wood block

6. I turned the board and I made another cut, identical to the first one: the same distance to the guide and the same depth (due to the wooden block). I repeated the process until I cut all the four longer planks. The idea was not to move the position of the bandsaw fence.

i turned the laminated ash plank and I made the second cut needed for cutout the ends
The second cut

7. I adjusted the position of the fence for cutting the ends of the short boards. I did all of them in a very short time. Now, I was able to completely give up the bandsaw guide to cut out the ends of the planks.

I used the same piece of wood block to cut the ends of the short laminated wood planks
Cutting the ends of the short planks

8. I made several cuts in the middle of the previous 2 cuts (in the ends of the longer planks), so that we can more easily do the cutouts for the box joints.

making several cuts with the bandsaw to make our work easier when making the cutouts for the box joints frames
Several central cuts to lighten the cutouts

9. I finished the central cutouts using a chisel (for the longer laminated planks) and the sides cutouts using the bandsaw (for the shorter ones).

we made all the cutouts so we can build the box joint frames for our small bathroom vanity
The laminated planks are ready for gluing

10. I did a first test to see if the boards fit. After that I sanded the inside faces with 150 grit sandpaper. Due to their position, after gluing they would be harder to sand.

we sanded with 150 grit sandpaper one face of each laminated plank used for the box joint frames
Sanding one face of each laminated plank

11. I applied water based PVA adhesive to all of the mating surfaces and I tightened the box joint frames very well, taking care to keep the 90 degrees angle. The angle can be easily checked by measuring the diagonals (they must be equal).

I tightened very well the box joint ash wood frames using a lot of F clamps
Tightening the box joint ash wood frames

12. After the glue dried, I sanded the wood frames with 150 grit sandpaper using the belt sander. I filled the remaining small holes with wood putty. When the putty dried, I sanded again the surfaces with fine sandpaper. At the end I hand sanded the inside sharp edges and I beveled the outside sharp edges.

I sanded all the faces of the box joints frames, I beveled the outside edges and I hand sanded the inside sharp edges
Sanding the box joint ash wood frames

The small bathroom vanity cabinet made out of MDF

For building the small cabinet for the washbasin we used 18 mm thick MDF.

1. I cut the board to the needed sizes:

we cut all the MDF boards to the needed dimensions before started to build the small bathroom cabinet
Cutting the MDF boards

2. I gave the shape of the cabinet following our usual steps when building all kind of MDF furniture:

  • I drilled the holes for joining the MDF boards on corners
  • I countersink the holes to hide the screw heads
  • I applied the water based PVA adhesive
  • I tightened the boards with screws
I built the MDF cabinet using the water based PVA adhesive and screws
Building the small MDF cabinet

3. I marked the area on the top MDF board which needed to be cut out. The cutout was needed for the pipes.

I drew the lines in order to cu out the top MDF board of the small bathroom cabinet
The lines for cutting out the top MDF board

4. I secured 3 scraps of MDF boards with clamps to get a template for making the cutout with a straight pattern router bit

I secured 3 MDF boards to build a template for making the cutout for the pipes
Preparing the cut out

5. I made the cut using the router with a top bearing router bit.

we made the cutout for hiding the pipes system
Cutting the top of the small bathroom cabinet

This is the cutout routed for allowing the drain pipe to pass through the small bathroom cabinet.

the cutout made using the router
The cutout needed for passing the drain pipes

6. I cut 2 pieces of 18 mm thick MDF for the doors.

I cut two MDF boards to build the doors for the small bathroom vanity
The MDF boards needed for the cabinet doors

7. I made a test assembly of the cabinet, together with the two ash wood frames (used as legs for the cabinet).

we verified that everything matches to start finishing all the elements of the cabinet
First cabinet assembly

This is the final shape of the small bathroom vanity:

this is the shape of the small bathroom cabinet
The final shape of the small bathroom cabinet

8. At the same time I drilled the hinge holes, I installed them on the cabinet walls and I installed the MDF doors.

we installed the hinges and the doors, on the small bathroom cabinet walls
Installing the small doors

9. After finishing assembling the cabinet, we realized that it needs a small strip of MDF on the back for additional strength:

i increased the strength of the small bathroom cabinet by using a strip of MDF
Increasing the strength of the cabinet using an MDF strip

10. I will briefly show you the final finish, because the finishing process and the painting process is the same and is described with more details in older posts. Before applying the water based primer and the paint:

  • I sanded the edges of the cabinet doors, until the surface became smooth, without any saw marks
  • I hand sanded the sharp edges with 120 grit sandpaper
  • I filled the holes with two-parts putty, I sanded all the faces with 150 grit sandpaper and I slightly rounded rounded the edges by hand with 120 grit sandpaper
we sanded the edges of the doors using the belt sander with 150 grit sandpaper
Sanded the edges of the cabinet doors

At the end I applied a layer of water-based primer on all the elements of the project. After the primer dried, I sanded all the surfaces with 320 grit sandpaper. After wiping the dust I applied two layers of:

  • water based varnish on the two box joints frames
we used water based varnish for the box joints frames
The box joint frames are varnished
  • water based paint on the small cabinet and its doors
we painted the small bathroom vanity with white water based paint
The small cabinet painted with white water based paint
we painted the cabinet doors with white water based paint
The bathroom cabinet doors painted with white water based paint

After the varnish and the white paint dried, I assembled the small bathroom vanity cabinet again. The project was done:

the way the small bathroom cabinet looks after assembling the doors and the ash wood legs
The small cabinet after assembling
the final result: white and ash wood bathroom cabinet
The small bathroom vanity cabinet
the ash wood frames used as legs for the small bathroom vanity cabinet
Detail of the box joint ash wood frames
the way the ash wood legs look
The ash wood legs

We received the photos with the cabinet installed:

this is our simple free standing cabinet after we installed it on its position
Simple free standing bathroom sink cabinet
the simple white free standing bathroom cabinet arrived at its destionation
The small free standing cabinet on its place

See other designs of bathroom sink cabinets:

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