Sports Hutch: Project Plans

If you or your kids are involved in sports, you probably need a way to corral the gear involved. This hutch is an attractive project that brings order to chaos.

The cabinet has lots of room for lots of stuff. It's super easy to build and finish and can be mounted to a wall in an entryway or mudroom. The oak stain and satin polyurethane finish are extremely durable and long-lasting to withstand the rigors of everyday use.

All of the materials you need are available at local home-improvement centers. I used preassembled red oak panels and other dimensioned red oak boards, which greatly reduced my work. The materials cost $280, and I spent 10 hours over four days building and finishing the cabinet.

Construction Notes
Almost all of the parts are joined with pocket screws. If you’re not familiar with this joinery method, here's how it works: You drill angled holes in the backs of workpieces using a pocket-hole drill guide and then drive special pocket-hole screws through the angled holes and into the adjoining workpiece. It's simple and fast, and the parts can be disassembled if necessary.

In addition to a pocket-hole drill guide, you'll need a table saw, an orbital sander and a few bar and pipe clamps to complete the project. A router is nice for cutting the rabbets for the back, but you could cut those joints on a table saw.

It’s much easier to finish the parts before assembly. Applying the finish with the parts laid horizontally will help to eliminate runs and sags, but you still need work carefully when applying the polyurethane to the vertical edges. Watch for runs down the unfinished edges — they tend to roll over to the other side and make a real mess.

Build, Finish, Assemble
Cut all of the pieces to size (see cutting list in the PDF below). Miter the ends of the crown pieces (H and I). Rout the back rabbets (photo 1). Drill the pocket-screw holes (photo 2). Drill the screw holes in the cubby section top and bottom pieces (B) for the dividers (C) and the screw holes in the sides (A) for attaching the top. Also predrill the screw holes for the coat hooks in the upper cross brace (D). Glue and nail or glue and clamp the shelf edges (F) to the angled shelves (B). Now finish sand all the parts, and use sandpaper to ease all exposed sharp edges.

Rout the rabbets in the rear edges of the sides (A). Use a straight router bit and an edge guide. Make the cuts 1/2 in. deep x 1/4 in. wide, and cut from end to end.

Drill the pocket-screw holes in the undersides of four of the shelves (B), the top side of the cubby shelf (B) and the backs of the cross braces (D) and toe kick (E).

Wipe on one or two coats of stain to the exposed surfaces of all parts. Two coats will make the color more even and darker if that's what you want. Now apply the finish (photo 3). The unexposed solid-wood surfaces only need one coat of finish to seal them. There's no need to seal the back of the back (G).

After applying the stain with a rag and letting it dry for a couple of days, brush on three coats of polyurethane. Smooth the finish between coats using 220-grit sandpaper.

Assemble the upper cubby section. Set it faceup on 1/4-in. spacers and attach one side (photo 4). Attach the center shelf (photo 5) and then the cross braces (D), the toe kick (E) and the three angled shelves to the side. Align the angled shelves flush with the front and rabbeted edges of the sides; then finish the assembly (photo 6).

Screw one side to the assembled cubby section. Clamp every joint you screw together; otherwise the parts may wander and not align correctly. Drill pilot holes for the non-pocket-hole screws.

Flip the partially assembled hutch up on its side and add the center horizontal shelf. Carefully handle the parts so you don’t damage the finish. It can take a few weeks for the finish to fully cure.

Screw the other side panel in place and nail the back and crown pieces on. Fill the crown nail holes using a Blend-Fil pencil. Attach the coat hooks, and secure the hutch to a wall.

The hutch must be secured to a wall. You can mount a cleat to the wall at the height of the coat hooks, remove the two end coat hooks and screw behind them into the wall cleat, or you can secure two metal L-brackets to the rear of the hutch top and to the wall. All that’s left is to gather up your gear and stow it inside.