Category Archives: Cabinets

Kitchen Renovation by Alvin – My Windsor Project Contest Entry

Kitchen Renovation: re-surface some existing cabinets and built some new ones to change the kitchen configuration.  Cabinets and crown moulding done in Cherry.  Added soft close hinges to upper cabinets.  New glass backslash, new granite countertops, new lighting and new flooring throughout.

Before: Light Oak Cabinets

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After: Medium Cherry Cabinets
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Bathroom Vanity by Al – 2014 My Windsor Project Contest Entry

medCabClosed3420smThe follow pictures and edited description was submitted by Al from North Vancouver, BC:
I’d like to thank George at the Windsor Plywood North Vancouver store for cutting all that Maple and Birch for me, for my medicine cabinet in December.

I finally finished it last weekend. The weather was horrible for drying of stain and lacquer. We bought a framed mirror and medicine cabinet from restoration hardware, as the last items for our bathroom reno. As the last items, the size was limited and also the colour had to match. Both items arrived damaged and we sent both back. The second set, the cracked mirror was now replaced and we hung that. However the medicine cabinet had the same problem, all 3 hinges had pulled out.

I will refer to the ‘box’ and the ‘door’. The box is the main rectangular area where items are placed, and the door is a frame that has a mirror in it that pivots off the door.

Problems with the cabinet:
• The box was made of particle board – so it wouldn’t hold a screw.
• The outside measurement of the frame was 1″ larger than the outside measurement of the box – the door had a slight overhang all the way around, so it is not flush and you can’t see the box.
• The cabinet weighs 65 pounds has a mirror on the back of the inside of the box and the door has a mirror on both sides (heavy).
• The cabinet is shipped on the bottom side, and the door is attached. This means that all 65 pounds are put on the bottom of the door, this pushes up on the hinges as all 65 pounds are on the door, plus the shipping box was badly damaged.

This product was doomed.

We kept the mirror, returned the cabinet again, and I embarked on my first cabinet and went to your shop in North Vancouver, BC.

After figuring out what I was going to do and some rushed measurements, I wanted to start asap so the new bathroom wasn’t going to look unfinished for too long. I bought a Kreg Jig to make the box and was looking for some advice while buying wood.

George recommended Maple for strength and Birch for the larger pieces as they stain in a similar way.

I measured as best I could and George made all my cuts for me around Dec 27th, which was great.

It is raining and I don’t have a workshop, I have a small table I setup in the alley and a 7″ tile saw that I have squeezed a 7.25″ wood blade into.

The measurements and cuts were pretty much spot on. Except for a couple of my blunders.

I wanted about 5″ of space so we used 1″ x 6″ Maple for the box which was put together with pocket screws and sanded prior to assembly. The wood was slightly warped, so getting that last screw in proved difficult.

I then attached the .5″ plywood into the back after sanding. I put some holes in the side panels for shelves, put some pocket hole filler notches to cover the holes, they were also Maple.

I then put the shelves on, and they were totally short by about 2″. This was an afterthought and the last cut we made. I probably missed the thickness of the box or something, there was some spare plywood left and I hadn’t thought well enough about their size, so the measurements I gave George were incorrect, I did think of them on the spot.

I did have some plywood left and cut it to size. However I ripped up the wood with my saw blade, mainly because it had too few teeth.

Making the door was difficult. The hinges I bought required to overlap on the frame, so I had to trim bait off the size of the frame, but it went together well, only one broken screw on the Maple. I also got the exact size based on a mirror i bought. I cut the mirror and got 90% of it done when it split twice; I and to buy another one and had adjusted my door size prior to assembly.

Not having a router I had a small router bit on my rotary tool, which was not easy, but it worked.

I started staining the back and oiling it to test it out. Then I did several coats of stain and danish oil. Then I covered the stain with lacquer and oil with tong oil. Both were wet sanded by hand. Oh, and all screws were turned by hand to get a feel for the screws to not break them. The only 600 grain I could find was a metal sandpaper and when it got wet the green paper backing was leaving a green smear, so I had to get different paper. Eventually it worked but I did have some scars on the wood I didn’t notice until later when I had set the box down in the alley on some rocks. I did remove all glue on the frame so it stained nicely but the scaring was invisible to me until lacquering… oh well!

I came back for some Maple veneer which I applied to the shelves and two end cuts. I had some 1″ x 2″ Maple pieces I also bought as a shelf support, which will be used by the hanger to screw into for better strength. More broken screws… had me figure out the pilot holes in Maple had to be bigger and I also dipped the middle part of the screw in water and dishwasher soap (but not the top as that was going into plywood.)

Due to the reduced size of the frame because of the hinges, I now had to trim the 1/8″ plywood that was to be the back of the door, I needed to take an inch off. The experience with ripping the shelves caused me some stress. I found a 150 tooth saw blade on sale, I scored both sides with a strong knife and I covered both sides with masking tape and redrew the line on both sides. I put it through my little saw slowly and it didn’t split any ends at all, whew!

I wanted to use nice gold brass screws to attach the backing to match the colour. Used some #8 and #6s (size). I broke 3.

I managed to use the frame trim to put on the back at the bottom to ensure the box hangs level as the French cleat hanger in the back pushed the top of the box outward and I didn’t think my wife would appreciate a 2.5 month long box build to dump all of her makeup into the toilet. 🙂

Anyway the thing is done and I am quite happy with the results. I had a bit of stain overlap, the hinges aren’t mounted perfectly, but work well, there are no fancy wood joints, just well hidden pocket screws, and the thing has a mirror, only weighs 45 pounds and obviously didn’t have to ship it. I got a good grain showing on the inside that was not dark… I didn’t want the wood hidden. I have a correct blade now and understand fragility of top layers of plywood, and have a better appreciation for good clamps. The one thing that really bugged me was I stained the inside of the door so that the mirror would not reflect anything on the edges, but the $8.00 glue purchased from a big box store wasn’t transparent and it showed the white grrrrr! So there is some reflection.

I think I need to go with an even thicker brass screw next time. I had #9, #10, #11 and #12, but they were steel intended for the hanger on the back and were also too long to use on the door. 1.25″, door is .75″ + 1/8″.

Thanks to George for helping me with the proper wood, sizing, cutting, great measurement and advice on wood and staining. And for all that cutting he did, as I don’t have a chop saw and the table is pretty small for plywood. It was my 3rd wood object, my first cabinet with complicated measurements (a lot of little details), so thank you.

I have attached some pictures you can use if you like it. My labour on it was pretty long, I think the cost was a little more than the one we purchased…. the wood was 1/2 but the metal pieces screws and all the various stains and oils in their weird quantities that I had to use put it over the one we had purchased but it is a better size.

The next one will probably be an open long shelf, as the measurements are very unique. No door this time!

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Moulding Winner of My Windsor Project Contest

Congratulations to:
Louwren from Grande Prairie, AB

My wife and I were not able to find an adequate entertainment centre to organize our TV, audio/video components, movies and games so I decided to try my hand at building a custom piece.  My previous experience with woodworking/construction was building a fence and framing the basement in a previous house we owned; items that didn’t require a lot of finesse in the build.  This was my first attempt at constructing a piece that needed to look nice!  After spending numerous hours viewing YouTube videos and creating a plan for the entertainment centre I started the build.

As you can see from the photos, the new entertainment centre is a built-in located in our family room and replaces our old Ikea TV stand, and provides additional storage and display space.  The new entertainment centre uses the following materials from Windsor Plywood in Grande Prairie:

· Birch ¾ Plywood – used to create the carcass of the cabinets and shelves

· Birch ½ plywood – used to build the drawers

· Maple boards – used to create the face frames and the storage doors frames

·  Beaded Wainscott – used for the background on the left and right shelving units, and the front of the storage doors

· Crown Molding – used along the top of the entertainment centre

·  Hinges – for the storage doors

· Money spent on these materials was $1,489.29

The entertainment centre was primed and painted with white melamine paint; the baseboard from the wall was used to wrap around the base of the entertainment centre.  Another feature of the entertainment centre is that I installed ABS piping under the left and right shelving units which opens up to the bottom shelve on the centre piece.  This allows speaker wire and the internet cable to be installed easily and makes wires readily available to the audio/video components without having to drill holes in the sides of centre (except for the outer sides of the unit).

Considering this was my first project of this type and scope it turned out very well.  (Even my wife would agree!)



Winners-with-Darlene-of-GP-Photo-800Store employee Darlene, gives the prize to Louwrens and his son Tayben. Great job!

Laundry Room Makeover

4This project was submitted by Angelo to the 2008 Great Canadian Contest
Well, it was time for the old laundry room to make way for a whole new look.

Thanks to the wide choice of Windsor plywoods, veneers and mouldings (not to mention some nifty tiling work), I was able to transform my laundry room into something worth getting dirty for!

Using plywood and 2×4 I raised the floor about 4.5″ to create a custom-built pedestal for the washer/dryer. I then decided to add some more countertop workspace by again framing with 2×4 and plywood for a custom-built tumbled marble countertop.

The floor was tiled with granite and natural stone and a mosaic was framed in the center by the stone. The walls were troweled on and hand-polished with a “Venetian Plaster” (shiny marble-looking plaster) then stenciled with a leaf pattern in gold paint.

Wood veneers and mouldings were added to the cabinetry and door to add even more decorative elements. There’s also a pull-out ironing board center (not shown in photos) which was veneered/stained to match cabinetry.

Don’t forget to enter the My Windsor Project Contest. Entries must be received by email or mail by September 30th, 2014. Click here for more information.



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Entertainment Center Made from Bird’s Eye Maple and Walnut


Bird’s Eye Maple and Walnut Entertainment Center by Dave of Deer Park.
The entertainment center was constructed from Dark Walnut with the Birds Eye figured Maple and a mix of common Maple. The center top is removable for access to the components.
Washington. Materials purchased from Windsor Plywood Spokane, Washington.


Removeable top made from Walnut


Sample of Birds eye maple Bird’s Eye has a distinctive pattern that resembles tiny,
swirling eyes disrupting the smooth lines of grain. It is somewhat reminiscent of a burl, but it is quite different: the small knots that make the burl are missing. Sourced from Wikipedia

Giant Hardwood Trees Brought Up from the Bottom of the Panama Canal (See Video)

In 1913, while building the Panama Canal, Theodore Roosevelt created what was then the world’s largest man-made lake (Gutan Lake) by damming the Chagres River and flooding an old growth jungle the size of Montreal. Ninety-seven years later, using submersible hydraulic chain saws lubricated with vegetable oil, these perfectly preserved tropical hardwood trees are being harvested from that underwater jungle.

Canal_Zapatero_screenThe Species: Canal Zapatero (Hieronima alchorneoides)

Appearance: Heartwood is dark reddish brown. Sapwood is mild reddish brown. Medium but pronounced grain pattern, usually straight or interlocked. Moderate lustre. Overall rich and warm. Very consistent color and grain.

Species Characteristics: Very hard and durable. Naturally resistant to decay, funguses and termite attack. Odourless and tasteless.

Uses: High quality furniture, veneers, wall panelling and general carpentry and millwork. Well suited for indoor and outdoor use. Very hard and very suitable for solid or engineered flooring or decking.

Work Properties: Canal Zapatero is easy to saw and work with hand tools, good to moderately good to plane, excellent for turning, mortising, boring, moulding and sanding. Nailing is difficulty and pre drilling is recommended. It finishes very well. Two or three coats of sealer are recommended. Because of the woods natural beauty it is recommended to use a transparent finish.

Hardness: Janka hardness – 1700. Excellent in high traffic areas.

Go to and find a location nearest to you.


Solid Maple Wardrobe Unit

Wardrobe Unit- Pat Bowes

Wardrobe Unit- Pat Bowes



Name: Pat Bowes
Location: Calgary, AB
Windsor Store: Calgary N., AB

Description: This panelled wardrobe unit is constructed from maple solid and double sided panel stock and includes raised panel doors with inlayed cedar crosses. The doors are mounted on slides which permit them to be recessed back into the unit when opened. The drawers are constructed of unfinished cedar with maple fronts. The top of and centre table areas of the unit are constructed of 1” by 6” laminated solid maple. Maple crown moulding is used about the top to add character. All wood for this unit was purchased from Calgary North Windsor Plywood location.

How to Build Custom Kitchen Cabinets

Canply_Kitchen_CabinetsHow to Build Custom Kitchen Cabinets

Click here to download the step by step instructions PDF (3.9mb)

Three styles of kitchen cabinets made from strong and easily handled fir plywood.
Cabinet (1) stores your canned goods in an orderly and space saving fashion.

(2) Is a typical overhead cabinet with dimensions variable to fit any kitchen. The sink cabinet

(C) is a convenient sink work center.

How to Buy Plywood

In the bill of materials, CANPLY EXTERIOR fir plywood with two faces of highest appearance (Good Two Sides grade) is specified where both sides of the panel will be seen on the finished job. Faces of this grade, which may contain carefully made repairs, are smooth and easy to pain. Select plywood with uniform grain pattern and coloration if you intend to use a light stain finish.

Where only one side of the panel will be seen once the project is completed, Good One Side grade is specified for economy.

Medium Density Overlaid (MDO) plywood (plywood with a resin impregnated fiber overlay) may be used as an alternative to Good Two Sides when an extremely high quality paint finish is desired. MDO plywood is not suitable for a stain finish.


Douglas fir plywood stamped CANPLY EXTERIOR is made by member mills of the Canadian Plywood Association. It is bonded with 100% waterproof glue and may be used indoors out. Look for the edge mark CANPLY EXTERIOR on every piece of plywood you buy.

How to Work with Fir Plywood

CANPLY EXTERIOR fir plywood is manufactured in large sized panels, which simplify every building step for you. Laying out the parts for cutting is the only step required before starting actual construction. Be sure to allow for saw kerfs between adjacent pieces.


Use an 8 to 10 pt. Crosscut for hand sawing. Support panel firmly with good face up. For curves use a fine toothed coping saw. For inside cuts, start hole with a drill; then use coping or keyhole saw. For power sawing, a combination blade gives best results. With first cuts, reduce panel to pieces small enough for easy handling. Use of scrap lumber underneath panel prevents splinting on back. Plan to cut matching parts with the same setting. Curved cuts may be made with a jigsaw, band saw, or saber saw.


Support plywood firmly. For larger holes use brace and bit. When point appears through plywood, reverse and complete hole from back. When drilling, finish slowly to avoid splintering.


Remember, edge grain of plywood runs in alternate directions so plane from ends toward center. Use shallow set blade.


CANPLY EXTERIOR fir plywood is manufactured – a big time saver – so minimum surface sanding is necessary. Most sanding should be confined to panel edges. Use 80 or finer sand paper before sealer of flat undercoat is applied. After sealing, use 120 sand paper in direction of grain only.


Glue may be used on panel edges and faces. Apply glue to clean surfaces. Press firmly together until “bead” appears. Maintain pressure with clamps, nails or screws to allow glue to set. For exterior exposure use resorcinol type waterproof glues. Gluing is recommended for strongest permanent fastening.


Nail size is determined by the thickness of plywood used, as follows:



Substitute casing for finishing nails is needed. For exterior work always use corrosion resistant nails.

Other Fasteners

Screws, bolts, and other special fastenings may be used. Always pre drill for screws and bolts (see “DRILLING” above). Minimum screw sizes are as follows:



How To Finish Fir Plywood

For best results always use quality finishes, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Whenever practicable, fill the plywood edge grain before painting. Natural finishes do not withstand weathering and are not recommended for plywood outdoors.

Exterior Finishing

Paint Prime the panels carefully, front and back, with oil base house paint undercoat. See that the primer and subsequent coats seal the edge grain. A three-coat finish with an intermediate coat of primer mixed with half and half with the finish color will look the best. For the final coat apply the paint as it comes from the can.

When painting plywood doors, give the front and back the same number of coats.

Choose bright colored exterior sash and trim enamel for a high gloss finish on toys, patio furnishings, etc.

Stain finishes are available which have considerable hiding power but do not conceal the texture of the plywood grain. Creosote base stains penetrate deep into the plywood, producing rich lively colors that ehnance grain beauty. Both creosote and non-creosote stains are highly recommended for exterior finishing of CANPLY EXTERIOR fir plywood. Apply according to manufacture’s directions.

Interior Finishing

When it comes to finishing indoor projects, give your own taste full sway. Fir plywood can be painted to harmonize with your decorative theme, or stain to bring out the full beauty of the wood grain. Extra care in surface preparation and application will give you a more attractive and durable finish. Clean all surfaces perfectly and fill nails holes and blemishes with wood filler. Sand lightly between coats.

Paint or Enamel

Conventional wall and woodwork paints and enamels may be used. (For surfaces, which will be cleaned frequently, use washable paints or enamels). First, brush on flat paint or enamel undercoat. Thin if desired. Second, apply second coat of undercoat, tinted to shade of finish coat. (Note: For gloss finish mix equal parts flat undercoat and gloss enamel for second coat). Third apply final coat as it comes from the can. (A two-step finish without second undercoat may be also used).

Interesting textured surfaces may be obtained by priming as above, followed by heavy coat of stippling paint. Use brush, roller or sponge to texture. When using water-thinned paint, first seal plywood with clear resin sealer, shellac of flat white oil paint. Then paint according to directions on can for sealed surface.

Natural Finishes

For an easy, inexpensive “blond” finish, fist apply coat of interior white undercoat thinned so grain pattern shows through. (Tint if you desire color). Second, apply clear shellac, flat varnish or lacquer. Attractive and economical on coat stain waxes are also available in various colors. If you prefer a dark stain, first apply coat clear resin sealer to subdue grain contrast.

Here’s a four-step system you can use to get a luxurious light stain glaze: First apply white undercoat thinned with equal parts of turpentine or paint thinner. Wipe or dry brush for more grain show though. Second, apply one coat thinned white shellac or clean resin sealer. Third, to provide color apply interior undercoat or enamel thinned as in step one. Choose any color you want for this coat. Wipe or dry brush to proper color tone. Fourth, one coat flat varnish. Steel wool for added luster.

Walnut Spice Cabinet and Jewelry Box

Walnut Spice box

Walnut Spice Cabinet and Jewelry Box by John Milne – Windsor Plywood Vernon. Made from Walnut shorts. Each box is 19 1/2” high, 16” wide, 11 1/2” deep. Face has been book matched from a solid piece. The back can be removed to access a secret compartment and a slot at top for important papers. Approximately 100 man hours went into this project.

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