Construction of a Steel Cupboard

Construction of a Steel Cupboard

A cupboard is a set of shelves with a door or doors in front either built into the wall of a room or as a separate piece of furniture, there are so many kinds of cupboard such as office cupboard, laboratory cupboard kitchen cupboard, linen cupboard, etc. Cupboard is generally used for storing materials in the laboratory, offices, kitchen and homes such as books, foodstuffs, cloths, files, dishes, audio and video cassettes, glassware, chemical reagents, etc. cupboard can be made with different types of materials such as steel, wood, glass, and some other kinds of metals.

In the constructional project, steel as a material of construction has a lot of advantages over wood. It is not attacked by termites or insect and lasts longer (i.e. are durable) than that of wood that is commonly used. Steel cupboard is usually a rectangular piece of steel fabricated for the purpose of storage. Since steel cupboard cannot be broken. Since steel cupboard, then the material kept inside it is preserved. Though metals are known to corrode of which the primary causative agents are air, moisture and some chemicals but when the cupboard is not exposed to moisture by adopting preventive measure like organic coating (i.e. painting) to increase its resistance to corrosion.

During the construction of the cupboard, the research considerations were the material availability, its durability, quality affordability and the maintenance and replacement of the parts of the cupboard or the shelf. Hence, a research was carried out on the Engineering property of the material of construction. Steel used for the construction is environmental friendly, hazardous and resistant to insect attacks. This is the area in which the cost of production was made, by adopting some amendment with the aim to achieve the steel cupboard; in such a way that it becomes a modern steel cupboard of a standard size which can contain quite some number of materials like books, files and some laboratory materials.

The research was done also, so as to obtain the greatest design with the desired structural material for the cupboard to maintain its quality for a long period of time without having any fault or damage, hence, it is important to produce facility hence, it is last longer and the quality been of a great importance in the construction of the steel cupboard.

The various parts were arranged and shaped, connected in such a way that it will provide an efficient and economical solution to the construction problems. The cost was also considered so much because the cost usually involves quality of the material. But in designs and construction, it is possible to produce a quality steel cupboard with reduced or less cost. And the labour cost of fabricating the material was involved too, during the construction. The steel cupboard was fixed with rollers stands and stoppers for stability at any point it is kept and for easy mobility, which was solidly welded. All these factors were taken into consideration so as to produce a quality and durable steel cupboard that is affordable. The cupboard was constructed to the test of maintenance and durability.


It was in 1812, when the Britain government wanted the local church records to be kept, presumably because they are important documentary source for historical research and completion of vital statistics, as well as documents with legal significance. So, in accordance with that law, various storage facilities were produced mostly with wood as the construction material. From the wooden containers to shelved pieces of construction, the cupboard was formed. Some laws were passed as regards to its maintenance, protection and conservation: they are;

  1. Every register book or record to which the schedule applies shall be kept in a rust-proofed, vented steel cupboard, the door of which is fitted with a multilevel lock and the cupboard shall be kept in the appropriate parish church or other place of public worship.
  2. The relative humidity and temperature in a such a cupboard shall be checked at least once a week by means of hygrometer and a maximum-minimum thermometer, each of which shall be kept in the cupboard.
  3. The difference between the maximum and minimum temperatures in the cupboard during any week shall not be allowed to exceed ten-degree celcius (100c).

G. Grawford and sons (2-4-6. New Mount St., Strafford, London) was among the first companies that started producing cupboard and still designs the old methods of constructing the ancient cupboards. The cupboards are now called “Parish Cupboard”, presumably because the cupboards originated from the church. It is still designed to meet the specification of the church. It has storage space in the inner wooden cupboard, which in turn is completely enclosed in a coated steel cupboard that is rust – proofed on the cut-edges. A dial hygrometer and a dial maximum-minimum thermometer are screwed to the inside of one of the doors of the inner cupboard. There are screened slots for air movement in and out of the cupboard.

The wood, some of which is mahogany, appears to be finished but is described as “unsealed” except for two-thirds of the outer surface of both ends is coated with fire retardant paint. The company gave guidelines for the preservation of the materials. There should be room for the cupboard to be at least six foot, preferably, away from walls. It should be on a stand so that it is about a foot off the floor with air space under it and not near hot water pipes or electric fires; and many others.


          There are two types of cupboard namely;

(a). Wooden cupboard

(b). Metal cupboard.

The wooden cupboard is a cupboard made of wood, specially, of hardwood gotten from mahogany.

The metal cupboard is simply a cupboard made of metal and specifically of steel usually carbon steel.


          As known, a cupboard has shelves on which the materials to be stored are kept; with wood, a bulky cross-section is necessary to sustain a tensile load, consequently, steel with its corresponding small cross-section, will generally be used instead.

Wood has an excellent strength-weight ratio and when considered in the context, some types can compete with steel. In compression and bending, provided there is no bulk disadvantage, wood may be preferable, as indeed it is for domestic building.

Steel is subject to corrosion by fairly simple chemical attack or action in the presence of moisture but wood, which is obtained from a living organism, is attacked by other living organisms – insects and fungi. Normally, when a tree dies, it is in the course of time, reduced to its original chemical ingredients or components by scavengers of the forest-boring insects, fungi and bacteria.

It is in the area of preservation that steel has more advantages than wood. As known, insects and fungus attack wood a lot, that was the reason the 19th century church workers desired a cupboard made of steel and this breakthrough came in 1856 when Henry Bessemer introduced the mass production of steel. Although, wood is hygroscopic, hence it absorbs moisture as a function of humidity of the surrounding environment or atmosphere, because of this, most woods when they are wet, exhibit a net increase in density.

With wood, nails and screws are mostly used to fasten joints together, but with steel as the constructional material, the joints are welded together and this brings abut a very unlikely that a steel cupboard can disassemble on its own due to weakening over a long period of time. But with a wooden cupboard, the joints can weaken possibly due to prolonged use over a long period of time; and can easily lose holdings of itself and breakdown or disassemble on its own.

Generally, steel is the best material of construction for a cupboard as in this project, with the steel cupboard, much equipment or laboratory wares can be kept in it as it will be able to contain much load, as even one of the properties of steel is strength and durability.

The ability of steel to, withstand inelastic deformation without fracture also permits it to sustain local yielding during fabrication. This allows it to be bent, sheared, punched and hammered with apparent damage. The development of the Bessemer converter in 1856 and the open-Heart Furnace in 1867 introduced structural steel. That brought about equipment and materials being made of steel many of them originated from wood such as the cupboard.

In a competitive world, with increasing costs of materials and labour, the search for greatest design economics consistent with safety and the desired life of the structure is important. Production of steel cupboard has become very competitive over the last few years. Companies have provided efficient methods of its construction even with complex one that involve glass. Having in mind not only the cost per gram of the material itself but also the labour cost of fabrication.

Minimum weight is often a design goal in construction of the cupboard. However, if simplicity of fabrication is sacrificed to achieve minimum weight, the overall cost may be increased. Since steel is a metal, question of deterioration during the life structure, variation of material properties and many other factors were considered. And that was why adequate spraying and painting of the cupboard was done.


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This article was extracted from a Project Research Work Topic


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Construction of a Steel Cupboard

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