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No. 36 (September 1961)
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In homes with larger families, there is a lot of work for the handyman. Wardrobes, bunks and many other things need to be made and many make them in their evenings and weekends. Te Ao Hou has therefore asked Mr K. Harrison, a teacher of woodwork in a Maori District High School, to describe some carpentry jobs that will interest Maori family men. As he also conducts evening classes for adults, he should know the problems the amateur meets with. We should be glad if readers would give us suggestions for future articles in this series.


This wardrobe can be made at a night class, if you live near enough to a High School, or it can be made at home, if you have the necessary tools.

These tools would be: Hand-saw, plane, rule, square, chisel, hammer, punch, screw-driver, bradawl.

There are no fancy joints, and everything can be nailed or screwed. The dimensions, as given on the plan, are: Height 6ft plus 2 ¾in. for the base, width 3ft over all, depth about 20in. or whatever width a machine dressed 12in. board plus a dressed 9in. board will make. The width can be increased up to 4ft of desired, so that an 8ft ×4ft ×⅛in. sheet of hardboard will cover the back.

Materials required (all timber dressed 4 sides):

Sides: 2 pieces of 12in. ×1in. ×6ft 2 ¾in. long.

2 pieces of 9in. ×1in. ×6ft 2 ¾in. long.

Floor, Top, and top shelf: 3 pieces 12in. ×1in. ×2ft 10 ⅜in.

3 pieces 9in. ×1in. ×2ft 10 ⅜in.

Bottom shelf: 1 piece 12in. ×1in. ×2ft 10 ⅜in.

Facing pieces on each side of door:

2 pieces 6in. ×1in. ×6ft.

Frame under floor: 1 piece 3in. ×2in. ×2ft. 10 ⅜in.

3 pieces 19 ¼in.

Door: 1 piece core-board 6ft ×2ft ×⅞in.

Coat-hanger rail: 1 piece ⅞in. dowelling, or piece of ½in. pipe, 2ft 10 ¼in.

Slotted supports for rail: 2 pieces 4in. ×1in. ×6in. with slot to fit rail.

Back: 1 sheet hardboard, 8ft ×4ft ×⅛in.

Hinges: 3 ornamental hinges, or three 3-in butt hinges.

Catch: One ½in. ball catch.

D. moulding to cover join in side boards: 2 pieces 6ft 2 ¾in. long.

2 dozen corrugated fasteners, to join boards together.

Nails: 1lb. 2in. brads. ½lb. 1 ¼in. brads.


Roughly cut off boards for floor, top, top shelf and bottom shelf, 1in. longer than the finished size. Straighten the edges of these with the planer, if necessary. Now pin these together with corrugated fasteners, using a 12in. and a 9in. board for each of the floor, top, and top shelf parts, and a 12in. board for the bottom shelf.

These can now be cut off square and accurately to their exact length, 2ft 10 ⅜in. The best way is to cut one and then use it for a pattern for the others. Mark the top side and the front edge of these pieces, so that they will not get turned round.

Now you can fix the 3in. ×2in. pieces under the floor to raise it off the house floor so that the wardrobe door will not interfere with mats when it is opened. Cut a piece of 2in. ×3in. the same length as the floor and nail it on the under-side, 2in. back from the edge. Cut three short pieces of 3in. ×2in. and fix at right angles to the front one, one flush with each end, and one in the middle.

Next cut the boards for the sides, two pieces of 12in. and two pieces of 9in., an inch longer than necessary. Straighten these with a plane, if necessary, and pin together with corrugated fasteners, using six on each join. Drive three from each side so that the made up side will lie flatter than it would if the corrugated fasteners were all driven from one side.

These sides can now be cut exactly to length, 6ft 2 ¾in. Cut a piece out of the front bottom corner of each end to fit the toe space under the flood board.

Before nailing the side boards to the floor board, and the top shelf, nail cleats to the inside of the side boards to rest the top and bottom shelves on. These could be 1 ½ in. ×½in. ×19in. long (two pieces) for the top shelf, and 2 pieces 1 ½in. ×½in. ×11in. for the bottom shelf. Fasten these on with 1 ¼in. nails at the distances shown on the plan. Also fix on the cleats for the coat rail.

Now nail together the boards you prepared. Cut

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the sheet of hardboard to fit, and nail on to the back, using 1 ¼in. nails. This will square up the whole job.

Now straighten with a plane, the two 6in. pieces which will go on either side of the door. Cut off at 6ft long. Nail them up temporarily and try the door for width and adjust the position of the 6in. facing pieces to suit the door, leaving the thickness of a penny clearance on either side.

Hang the door with hinges you have chosen. A ½in. ball catch makes a good simple fastener. To fit this, bore a ½in. hole in the edge of the door and drive the ball catch into it with a piece of wood and a hammer. Screw the striking plate for the ball catch into position. Buy a cheap knob for the door.

It now remains to cover the joints in the two sides with the D moulding, using 1 ¼in. nails. Punch all nails and give job a good rubbing with sandpaper.

If you want a varnish finish, give the job a coat of raw linseed oil. Next day apply a coat of white polish. The next day give the job a light sandpapering. Fill nail holes with putty, stained to suit colour of timber, and give another coat of white polish. Next day give another light sandpapering, and finish off with a coat of clear varnish. You will now, I hope, have a wardrobe to be proud of and that will hold a lot of clothes, hats and shoes.

If you want to paint it, give the job two undercoats and one gloss finishing coat, lightly sandpapering between each, puttying the nail holes with ordinary white putty.

If you would like a 4ft wardrobe instead of a 3ft OBe, add 12in. to the length of the floor, top, and shelves, and use 12in. boards for each side of the door instead of 6in. boards.

The approximate cost of the materials for the job would be:

£7 for a 4ft-wide job.

£6/10/- for a 3ft-wide job.