Clubhouse Furniture

It may not be every kid’s dream to have a playhouse, but it is for many, and what better than having one fully furbished! A wooden stove and sink make great additions for hours of imaginative play, and quality, handmade wooden furniture beats modern commercial plastic junk every day of the week.

These designs use standard pine stock available from all hardware stores, and can be made without needing a vast array of tools. You can easily customize the designs to suit the range of tools that you have, and your skill level. A table mounted router is not critical, but it certainly will make the job much easier.

There are common elements to both units, and so you will find that it is much easier to make both at the same time, rather than making one after the other. No doubt, once you finish these units, you will have requests by other children (or their parents) for more of these, but at the very least, I would expect an invite to a (playhouse) dinner!

The basic construction principle is frame and panel, and is joined together using your favourite technique. I used biscuit joints throughout my version, but you could use dowels, pocket holes, or even butt joints reinforced with wood screws. The raised panels themselves can be made with specialist rail & stile router bits, or more simply with a half-lap frame, or even a mitered frame.

Exploded CAD view of sink

CAD view of Sink Unit

To start, create the side walls, using 42x19mm pine, and 90x19mm pine for the base. The panel is cut from a sheet of 6mm plywood. The panel is fitted by rebating a 10mm groove all round the frame, and the panel is cut 20mm oversize, so it fills the rebate completely. The back of each unit is made the same way, sized to match the unit. I made the sink unit wider, so I could fit 2 smaller doors, rather than a single large door. As I decided to decorate each door with a 3D pattern (the Dolphin, from Carb-i-tool), this dictated the minimum width of each door, and therefore the width of the cabinet overall.

Detail of Door

The front of the unit is a pine frame, made in pretty much the same way as the side and rear panels, but without the insert. The doors were then attached to the front using self-closing hinges. This meant the doors would not tend to swing out on their own accord, and I didn’t have to add extra hardware to keep the doors shut. The doors themselves are a mini version of the side panels, with commercially produced wooden knobs.

The stove is a little different, as there is no frame for the front. Instead it has the control panel at the top, and a baseboard holding the sides together. Wooden wheels are used as dials (made using the Carb-i-tool wheel cutter, but you could also use a holecutter equally as well), and another is cut down to provide a latch to hold the oven door shut. The lower panel has a 45 degree taper, matching a 45 degree taper in the bottom of the oven door.

The oven door is made by joining two boards together (using either biscuits or dowels), then the oven window is cut out with a jigsaw. You could, if you chose, make a replaceable insert to fit behind the oven window, and on this glue pictures of what is currently cooking, so the child can change the picture, depending on the meal. The handle is easily cut with the jigsaw, and attached by glue and screws. The 45 degree taper on the lower panel and the door is very important. Firstly, so the oven door can open (very important), and secondly for strength. When the oven door is fully opened, the tapers meet, providing extra support for the hinges. When the child then climbs on top of the door to clean the oven, it helps to stop the hinges from breaking off.

Stove Unit

Oven Detail

The floor is made of 19mm pine, for the extra strength needed if the unit is used in a game of hide & seek! Under the floor are support uprights, to transfer any weight directly to the ground. You can leave the bottom of the units flush with the ground, or use a jigsaw to cut a bit of a decorative lower edge.

The top of the stove and sink are made with either 19mm pine, (which needs to be joined to get the required width), or 12-15mm plywood. In the photos, the sink is pine, the stove is ply. The stove elements are made using a jigsaw and a home made circle cutting jig (simply a board with a nail that the jigsaw is affixed to). You could also do this with a router, a scrollsaw, or ideally, a bandsaw.

Sink Unit CAD

For the sink unit, an opening is cut with a jigsaw for the sink itself. The taps are again made with a wheel cutter or holecutter, and the faucet cut with a jigsaw.

Sink Unit

Sink Cupboard

The sink itself is a real feature of the entire set. You could buy a plastic container to be used as the sink, or you could do what I have done here, and make your own. It is made by cutting a number of U shapes (these do not have to be accurate at this stage), which are glued together to obtain the required width of the sink. If you were really keen, you could use a different wood for every second U shape which would produce a stunning effect. Once the shapes are glued together, you need a bandsaw to cut out the inside of the sink. If you do not have a bandsaw, you need to cut the U shapes very accurately so you are able to avoid this step. Next, glue the front and back onto the sink, and when dry, cut the outside of the sink shape. That is it to get this stunning sink. If you intend to let the sink be filled, you need to use a waterproof glue, and provide some form of drainage, and to seal the sink so water cannot rot it.

Exploded CAD View of Sink Design

Depending on access to the individual components, I round all corners off to remove sharp edges, and potential splinters. The finish is a matter of personal preference. In this case, I left the cabinets unfinished, so the parents of the child they were for could choose whether to paint, stain and varnish, poly, or leave as raw timber.

All in all, it is a very satisfying project, that is not particularly difficult, and can be made in a weekend.

8 Responses

  1. […] close to writing an article for it.  Had a pretty fair showing in it last year (article reprinted here for those who haven’t delved into the earlier posts on this blog). (3rd image down on […]

  2. […] Lots of ideas running around my head so far, and it may be quite different from what I came up with 2 years ago (2 years ago […]

  3. […] interesting designs in there, and a kitchen set that looks quite similar to my original one (not saying either copied the other – it is a pretty logical design, and both look good […]

  4. A pal encoraged me to check out this website, brill post, fanstatic read… keep up the cool work!

  5. Really Good Articles/posts that you have on this site. Thanks

  6. Well am DONKEY MILLS.l will like to no if

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    also send me the cost of the units.l will also like

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    payment method if you accept credit cards

    okay.it very urgent please

    so l wish to hear from you soon.or can contact

    me on my cell phone for

    more business okay(+44) 7031747799.Thanks

    • I’m going to leave this comment here – it is obviously spam, and is typical of the sort of emails I get on a daily basis from the wankers of the world.

      What is sad is the number of businesses that actually fall for this sort of phishing scam – recently, for some reason I was included as a cc on one of these emails sent to a number of businesses, and the number of them that responded as if it was legitimate was staggering.

      I don’t know what annoys me more – the fact the world is full of dickheads prepared to run these (and other) scams, or the fact that there are so many people out there who cannot see through such a lame facade that makes these scammers’ endeavours worthwhile.

  7. No Kidding. I just received this;

    Well am DONKEY MILLS. l will like to know if l can Ship in stock some of the Foot tapes l will need need 100 pcs of the Foot tapes so l will like to know the price list and also send me the cost of the units. l will also like to know about your payment method if you accept credit cards okay.it very urgent please so l wish to hear from you soon. Thanks Mills

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