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        So who needs an architectural display case or drawer case and how are they different from my finished casework?  Well, the finished stuff is just that, -it's finished.  Put one of these cases in your home and you are done with it.  This is not to say that it is not a beautiful addition to your home -an elegant piece of furniture.  You can fiddle about with the stuff you put into it, but other then moving it from the bookcase in your study to the top of the TV in the family room, it's pretty much done and done.  For some people this is altogether sufficient and a good thing, but for some people, not nearly enough fun.

custom built desk

        An architectural display case or drawer case, on the other hand, is just a little bit more elaborate and wonderfully adaptable.  Think of them as a cross between your kitchen cabinets and building blocks for big kids, -building blocks that are carefully sized to compliment each other and fit neatly into your home.  (Check out my Slide Show to see how this might unfold.)  This casework is like your kitchen cabinets but there are a lot more drawers and the drawers are smaller.  (We are putting away your precious collectables after all, not your pots and pans.)  Just like your kitchen cabinets, they will support countertops and desks. But unlike your kitchen cabinets, they are fairly easy to install and probably stronger then your cabinets.  



Selecting a Display Case or Drawer Case Here is how it works:

Cube drawer case    The basic unit is a cube case -16 inches on a side (actually 15 3/4").  

Then, to grow the potential of these cases, there is a cases that are the same height, but twice as wide -an drawer case, extra wide drawer case   and another case, extra tall drawer case that is the same width, but twice as high -the drawer case.  To round it out, there are a pair of cases that that sort of fit in between.  These are the drawer case and the drawer case.    tall drawer case     wide drawer case   

Finally there are two at the opposite ends of the scale -the drawer case case that is as high as the HIGH and as wide as the WIDE case.  large case   At the other end -there is the smallest case, the drawer case,  (half as high as the TALL case -but as wide as the CUBE, TALL, and EXTRA TALL) that holds either a single file drawer for your papers file drawer, or a number of regular drawers. small drawer case

Now, (if you are still with me), comes the fun part, -fitting them together to serve your needs and fit your home.  For example, do you want to be able to show your guests your collection?  How about some end tables?  end table    

coffee table Or put two CUBES side-by-side in front of your couch and a nice piece of wood on top, and you have a table to hold your collection, coffee, and snooty art books.     

Or do you need a custom built desk?easy desk    desk


Do you have a good spacious workbench for your hobby? custom built work bench

Maybe you have this closet......closet

But perhaps the best use for these cases is to simply fit them into you home wherever and however.

In the bedroom....bed-side table                In the kitchen..... kitchen           In the living room....TV stand


Your house was almost assuredly build with things 16 inches apart.  Maybe 24 inches, but more likely the lumber that is in your walls, under your feet, and over your head is a bunch of variously sized boards 16 inches apart.   You will notice that all of the above are either 16 or 24 inches wide, -or 32 inches wide, but this is just 2 times 16.  This is so they can fit into your home, and be firmly bolted to your walls.  This in turn allows you to stack them up into stout and safe cabinets and counters.  As to safety, -you MUST do things right if you do built-ins and/or stack things up to any height.  Have a look at Making Desks and Work Surfaces with Modular Drawer Cases.   If you have any doubt about your own abilities, check out Hiring Carpenters and Other Useful Things.


To resume, the very best difference between your kitchen cabinets and my drawer cases is that you can swap the drawers around and change drawer sizes as your collection grows and changes.

SELECTING DRAWERS is the next step:

      drawer case

For example, lets suppose you collect those little pins that they sell or give away at tennis tournaments.  A case with 10 shallow drawers would serve your needs very well indeed.  (This case is the 16 inch 'cube.')

      drawer case

But now you decide you want to collect tennis balls as well.  You can pull out 4 shallow drawers and replace them with 2 medium drawers.  

      drawer case

Taken a step farther, you now decide you want to pilfer shoes from master players and add them to your collection.  (Don't know why you would want to do so, but you get the idea.)  So now you pull out a medium drawer and a shallow one, replace the two of them with a single deep drawer, and you are all set.  What do you do with the drawers you removed?  




You start another case of course.  

And this, ladies and gentleman, is how Home Museums happen. 

    display case





All this means that if you collect the smallest items, you want lots of flat drawers.  For example, As many as ....

  10 #1 drawers fit into the CUBE drawer case,   WIDE drawer case, and    EXTRA WIDE drawer case cases, OR  15 drawers fit into the TALL drawer case and LARGE drawer case cases,  OR  a whopping 21 drawers for the EXTRA TALL drawer case case.  BUT, if you collect larger things -or variously sized things, you can mix and match to precisely fit your needs.  

Using the CUBE as an example, it can have ten #1 drawers  drawer case, OR it can have five #2 drawers drawer caseOR three #3 and one #1 drawers drawer case OR  it can even be like the SPECIALS above with one #3, two #2's, and three #1's drawer case AND  you can do it all with the same case, even after  it is installed as a desk, or counter, or whatever else you want.






As a final complication -and I think it's worthwhile complication- I also make drawers I call...


Basically, a Cheater is a drawer with an oversize drawer front or 'face" that covers the top of the case.   


Looks like this.   Notice that the desk top, (or counter top or bench top or whatever), in this picture is a solid slab, -for example a door blank and the top drawer's face is oversized to cover the case..  

Compare it to this side view, drawer casewhere the desk-top is a thinner material (3/4 inch) trimmed with solid wood edging.  This edging covers the top of the drawer case and so there is no need for special, "Cheater" drawer faces.


Cheaters also can cover the bottom of the case as well as the top.  If, for example, drawer caseyou put your case directly on the floor, you probably will not want to use a Cheater.  This is particularly so if you put if on carpet, -the drawer might not even open.



On the other hand, if you put the case (or cases) up on a simple toe-kick, drawer case   the problem of interference is eliminated and a Cheater is just the ticket.


A Paper Design Worksheet / Planning Tool:

Sometimes, simplest ways are the best.  What we have here is literally a 'cut and paste' worksheet.  There are both a template to easily lay out the walls in your room, and sheets that have scale elevations of each possible drawer or display case.  You make some measurements, sketch out your room, and cut out the appropriate cases.  Then comes the fun part -you can lay out a scale plan of what your Home-Museum could eventually look like.

      PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER:    Sort of a Do-It-Yourself reading list.
      Making Desks and Drawers with Modular Cases tools A soup-to-nuts explanation on how to actually go about building your own Home Museum. 

(It's a longish article, give it a minute to load.)


      Furniture and Built-In Ideas work bench No words, -just pictures to give you ideas for your own dream rooms.

(Use your Go-Back button to come back here.)


      Ergonomic Considerations for Installations desks

Do you have a body?  How does it seem to fit into the world?  These drawings show you how various bodies fit into various things like desks and such.


(This is a PDF so you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these drawings.)

      Fast and Easy Finishing Techniques   painting There are about a million ways to finish wood.  And some of the most beautiful are also the easiest. 


Drawer Cases



Display Cases



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