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DIY projects

#2 Fitted wardrobe framework

The framework is not something that’s worth rushing as if it’s not square or flimsy, you’ll regret it forevermore. I found CLS studwork to be ideal for a sturdy frame. But before buying and cutting the framework to size, the area needs to be prepped.


#1 | Prepping the area

Our wardrobe would be filling a space to the side of a chimney breast. The back wall was a bright purple and there was skirting and picture rail that would have to be adjusted before any framework could go in. Regardless of what colour the walls are, I’d recommend painting the interior of the wardrobe white as you’ll want as much light in there as possible.

Area painted, floor varnished

As for the skirting and picture rail, I wanted to leave it in place where possible so I just removed areas that I knew would interfere with the wardrobe. I didn’t have the proper tools for this job so made do with a chisel which took a while but the results were decent. Remember that you can fill small gaps with caulk so there’s no need for perfection with this job.

#2 | Cutting and securing framework

Once the area is ready, you can begin cutting your framework to size. I was lucky enough to be able to borrow my Dad’s mitre saw but a good wood saw will do the same job, just a little slower. Always sand cut edges with a fine grit paper before securing them.

J Leaf Snr enjoying his mitre saw

A good place to start is the front bottom cross-section. Work out the exact positioning, get it level using packers and secure it robustly. As I secured this section to our wooden floor, I used long wood screws to drive down into the floorboards and joists. Remember to screw pilot holes and countersink the screws so they look tidy and don’t interfere with doors closing. Don’t worry about the packers causing ugly gaps as these can be hidden when you’re applying finishing touches.

That bottom cross section is now the reference point for the rest of the framework. Next, I put the uprights in place, remembering to pay very close attention to getting them level so that the framework was as square as possible to accommodate the doors. If you don’t get the framework square, making the doors will be a ‘mare and it’ll look well dodgy. The uprights were against a brick wall so I used frame fixers to secure these which worked a dream.

After your bottom and uprights are in place, the top cross-section and any other framework elements can be secured in place. When joining two bits of framework at a right angle, cut the wood at a 45 degree angle ie: a mitre joint. If you don’t have a mitre saw to do this, you can get a mitre box v. cheaply and use a wood saw.

You may need to fix sides/partitions in place before finishing the framework

To secure one bit of a framework to another, a combination of metal brackets and fixit blocks do the trick. Be careful not to go overboard as A) you don’t want these to get in the way of the doors and B) they don’t look great.

Fixit blocks work great but aren’t the prettiest

Once that’s all done, you should have a really strong framework ready to support shelves and doors. Next up, getting shelves in.

Equipment

  • Paint roller
  • Paint brush
  • Spirit level (at least 60cm)
  • Tape measure
  • Metal ruler
  • Chisel
  • Hammer
  • Mitre saw or mitre box + wood saw
  • Combi drill with bits including countersink bit
  • Impact driver or screwdriver with bits
  • Finishing sander or sanding block with fine sandpaper
  • Pencil
  • Gimlet

Materials

  • CLS timber (38mm x 89mm x 2400mm lengths)
  • White emulsion
  • Packers
  • Wood screws
  • Frame fixers
  • Flat and right angle metal brackets
  • Fixit blocks

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