Do you have an ugly water tap and hose pipe ruining the look of your designer roof terrace or patio? On the one hand you like having it there because it’s more handy than refilling a watering can. But on the other it’s unsightly. You’d like a means of concealing it in such a way that it remains accessible. So that when you’ve done your watering you can tuck it neatly away until the next time. This week I’ve been commissioned to build a sort of attractive looking cupboard that does just this, with enough space to store a few small garden tools like a trowel, gloves, scissors etc.

I began by roughly sketching out an idea with the essential dimensions – you’d hardly call it a set of plans. Then I cut 4 wooden slats and glued two together along the length forming an L shape. I repeated this with the other two and had what would eventually become the corners of the face frame.

Since I wanted the whole face of the cupboard to be flush I opted to join the top and bottom cross braces using modified half laps. There are many different techniques to achieve this, perhaps the easiest being pocket holes but unfortunately I don’t have a jig. The stock I chose for the cross pieces were the pallet runners which had some nice nail holes left from disassembly.

It was then time to glue and clamp up a bunch of boards to make panels for the top and door. I made sure to cut them all under sized because I knew that later I wanted to add a border or trim with mitered corners. The border is mainly for aesthetic reasons but it also covers up any exposed end grain.

The back needed to left open for the tap and hose. To achieve this I built a simple frame, again using half laps that I cut on the table saw. For the two long sides I ripped a pallet runner in half. Then I hand planed some other stock I had for the two cross pieces to roughly the same dimensions, so that the half laps would seat perfectly. Easier said than done. My joints are strong but visually they are far from perfect. Luckily they won’t ever be seen. 

The sides are made up of slats varying in tones cut to the desired length and held in place with screws. Very simple. The L shaped legs hide any screws because the side slats are fixed from the inside, out.  
Before assembly I made sure to sand well. I think in the end I went up to 180 grit because I was going for a rustic look. 

I applied 3 coats of water based varnish, sanding in between coats and this really brought the grain to life. The cupboard will of course be outside so I wanted to try and prevent any rain getting in. I fixed the top in place with some small shop bought brackets and immediately the cupboard became rigid with no racking whatsoever. I wanted it to sit slightly off the ground, again to keep it out of the rain so I installed some simple levelling feet by drilling a hole in each corner and whacking in a T-nut, then screwing in the feet.

I purchased some simple black hinges to attach the door, and was surprised that the door actually opens and closes. Nice. 
(Yes, I know, I'm wearing fur-lined crocs :D ).

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