Building a Lazy-Susan Cabinet
Revolving shelves on heavy-duty carousel hardware make the most of a kitchen corner.
Synopsis: This article explains how to build a lazy-Susan corner cabinet for the kitchen with melamine, plywood, solid-wood banding and sturdy ball-bearing hardware. The result, while relatively inexpensive, outperforms much of what’s commercially available and can be sized to fit any kitchen layout.
I have no idea who dreamed up the lazy Susan, but I bet a Hoosier had something to do with it. Indiana, after all, is the birthplace of the famed Hoosier cabinet, and Indiana is where I came across a lazy-Susan corner cabinet for the first time. I had just started working as a cabinetmaker, and I landed a kitchen remodeling job that included the removal of every cabinet but one, a corner cabinet that housed two lazy Susans. It was a primitive affair that probably had been built on site, but the owner loved it.
Made of standard lumberyard plywood, the cabinet took up a 36-in. sq. space with a cutout in the corner. Both the bottom and center shelves supported 32-in. rounds of plywood that revolved on low-profile bearings. Even though I’ve upgraded the materials and hardware, and added solid-wood edging to the carousels, my lazy Susan cabinets are virtually the same. There wasn’t much in that design to improve.
These cabinets hold a lot, and the 1,000-lb. capacity of the bearings means they work smoothly, even when the carousels are full of appliances or canned food. These cabinets eliminate wasted space in a corner, and they feature doors that open out of the way for easy access. Although I can buy factory-made lazy Susans, I think there are advantages to making these cabinets myself. My carousels are more attractive, operate more smoothly and are a lot stronger than those flimsy trays revolving around a center pole. I can make mine any size. The 12-in. bearings of galvanized steel I use are inexpensive (about $7 each) and readily available from woodworking-supply dealers and catalogs.
Start by cutting out pieces for the cabinet box
Although I stick with 3/4-in. melamine for the cabinet box, I use 3/4-in. hardwood plywood for the carousel pieces because it’s less likely to chip. To cut melamine cabinet pieces to size on a table saw, I use a Freud LU98, an 80-tooth blade with a triple-chip grind. For ripping plywood, I use a thin-kerf rip blade. I don’t get fancy with joinery on these cabinets. A simple dado joint cut on the table saw works fine. I use zero-clearance table-saw inserts with all these blades.
After squaring and cutting the top, the bottom and the shelf panels, I mark out 90° corner cuts on each piece. I start these cuts on a table saw, but I’m careful not to cut too far and finish the cuts with a jigsaw. Bosch makes a 4-in., 10-tpi jigsaw blade (model T101BR) with its teeth facing down instead of up as in a standard blade. It reduces splintering in wood and chipping in melamine.
To eliminate wasted interior space in the back of the cabinet and to make installation easier, I cut a 10-in. piece off the top, bottom and shelf pieces. This cut is easily done on the table saw with the points up against the fence.
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