Building Kitchen Cabinets

I'm looking at building my own kitchen cabinets but would like some information about doing this.
Any sites you can recommend? Or books?
thanks, Brian
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I'm doing the same thing. "Building Traditional Kitchen Cabinets" by Jim Tolpin is a very good resource.
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Google rec.woodworking
On Mon, 11 Apr 2005 07:42:19 -0500, "Jim Ranieri" <nah,> wrote:

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Tech-Home writes:

Build some for the garage first for practice. Then you'll do a better job where fit and finish are more important.
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A cupboard is a box. Boxes are simple to make. Drawers are hard. I get along fine with no drawers in my kitchen. Doors are hard. Buy them from a custom door shop. Or make simple plywood doors. So make some boxes. Install them on the wall if uppers or on a 2X4 frame if lowers. Add face frames. Cover exposed ends with prefinished paneling.
A house full of cupboards is a lot of plywood. Bring the plywood home in a pickup. Slide each sheet out the truck onto some saw horses and cut it up using a cutting list, straight edge and circular saw. Many pieces will be similiar so pile the pieces in stacks. Assemble the boxes. Air tools are nice.
Fine craftmanship is not neccessary. No need to make small ones. I usually make one cupboard that fits the entire wall/space.
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I would not recommend this as your first project in cabinet construction. It can be a big job and the end product is usually in a place of high visisbility. On the other hand, if you have experience in woodworking for other kinds of furniture grade projects, then you should be OK. The joinery and finishing is pretty standard. Getting drawers that hold up and fit well is probably the most challenging part.

Try the rec.woodworking newsgroup. For books, I recommend The Complete Illustrated Guide to Furniture and Cabinet Construction by Andy Rae. This is part of a series by Taunton Press that I like.
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Tech-Home wrote:

Yep.
http://www.cabparts.com/main.html for the cabinet boxes. I'd go with the 32mm system. Faceframes take up too much room and are a waste of cabinet space.
There are tons of place online that will sell you doors and drawer fronts custom made to your specifications - species, size, style, prefinished or ready for you to finish. When you do your search look for kitchen cabinet refacing suppliers.
I've never used this company, but I like their online quote form for drawers: http://www.quickdrawer.com/default.asp
R
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Woodworkers Supply offers classes on building them. You even build a sample to keep.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
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"Making Kitchen Cabinets" a foolproof system.. Taunton Press 1998 By Paul Levine
On our last house, I got bids from 13.5K to 15K for the cabinets.. 27 cabinets and 32 drawers I said WTH, bought the book and built the whole works with raised panel oak doors and European 35mm Blum hinges for under 4 grand and that included buying a new table saw. The secret is to just build the cases and order the doors. I got them from Decor-a tive Specialties out of California for $ 1400. (27cabinets) I could barely buy the OAK for that. They were around $ 10.50 SF then in 1999. Probably closer to $ 15 now but they did a nice job. I had to get them thru a local dealer so picked a small cabinet shop who marked them up very little. For the drawer sides and backs, I used 9 ply 1/2" Baltic birch which is very solid and easy to work with. It comes in strange 5'X5' sheets The drawer fronts were cut from 1x5, 1x6 1x8 and 1x10 Oak from Home Depot..cut square and then ran the edges thru the router table for some definition. Got some very nice Copper hardware knobs and pulls (AZ the "Copper state) Amerock brand from the same hardware place. HD couldnt touch them for quality and price..Lowes carries a lot better selection of better quality hardware BTW. I used Blum 22" drawer sliders bought by the case (of 25 pair) from a local hardware distributor that were quality made in Germany or such for about half the price of the Taiwan Liberty brand stocked by HDepot. For the cases, I used 3/4" oak A2 plywood instead of melamine. For support, I built the upper wall cabinets with oak face frame (cut from 1x3 oak) and the lower base cabinets, I built Euro style with no face frames. The doors were ordered with close edge tolerance so the 1'4" reveal was the same on both upper and lower cabinets. Got many compliments on them. The built up countertops were done with 2" bevelled oak front edge trim cut and stained to match the finish of the cabinets. The 4' X 6' island top was done in granite since we saved so much on the cabinets. BTW, I had just retired so I had plenty of time to finish the job. We were building the whole house which we contracted out the heavy stuff but did all the inside work other than hanging the sheetrock, ourselves. good Luck
Rudy
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Shouldnt type in the dark..should be 1/4" reveal
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I haven't seen that one... My favorite is "Building Kitchen Cabinets" by Udo Schmidt, Taunton Press 2003.

I built our own cabinets last year, using 3/4" birch plywood for the cases and #2 pine for the face frames. We were going for a "rustic" appearance without looking cheap. The cabinets turned out great! Much nicer than we were expecting.
I bought 1x6 and larger boards and ripped them into 2" strips. With careful selection, I ended up with mostly clear lumber for the doors and face frames, though I did try to leave a few tight knots to enhance the rustic appearance.
The cases themselves were fairly easy. Basically just a box. I used 3/4" birch plywood for the case, except for exposed sides where I glued up pine panels. For exposed sides on upper cabinets I simply used 1x12's cut to size. I assembled the face frames using pocket screws (Kreg Jig) which makes the frames very strong and easy to assemble.
The drawers were made of birch plywood. 3/4" ply for the front and back, 1/2" ply for the sides, and 1/4" ply for the bottoms. I found the 3/4" front/backs stronger and easier to nail into than the 1/2 samples I tried. The applied drawer fronts were cut from 1x8 pine boards with a simple roundover on the edges with a router. The lower drawer fronts had to be 13" high so I just used pocket screws to edge join a couple of 1x8's and then cut the front to size. I used 3/4 extension 22" blum slides I ordered from Rockler.
The doors were definitely the most labor intensive to build, despite being a simple shaker style. I built the frame with the same 2" strips I made the face frames with. I made the center panels from 1x6 T&G pine we had left over from another project. I ripped the tongues and grooves off, glued and clamped them into panels, then run them through the planer and cut to size. Then the door was assembled and spent time in the clamps as well. Very time consuming. We used simple wood knobs on the doors and drawers to coordinate with the rustic cabin look.
For the finish I applied MinWax wood preconditioner, then Minwax "Windsor Oak" gel stain, then two coats of oil based satin polyurethane. The finished result is very warm and attractive. We love it.
If I had to do it again, the only thing I would do differently is stain the door panels before assembling the doors. After we moved into the house and fired up the woodstove a few times, the door panels shrunk a little and left unstained edges around some of the door panels. It's not bad and most people probably wouldn't even notice, but as the builder it bugs me... :)

We built our own house too, except we did all of the work ourselves. Formed and poured the foundation, framed the structure, plumbing, electrical, insulation, sheetrock, cabinets, tiling, finish work, etc. Took almost 2 years of full time work, but a very satisfying accomplishment.
In addition to the kitchen cabinets, I also built cabinets for the bathrooms, a built-in dresser and closet system for our master closet, amoires and a window seat (w/drawers) for my daughters bedroom, and a variety of shelves and whatnot. All made with the same birch and pine frame construction.
Anthony
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wrote:

All you have to do is watch Norm. The trick to cabinets is tools. You have primative tools, you get primative cabinets, unless you have lifetime skills. On the other hand, if you are looking for an excuse to buy some cool tools and you are willing to make some firewood a handy guy can make cabinets at about the cost of a kitchen decorator. ... but you get to keep the tools ;-)
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wrote:

COOL ! Thanks for that Rico.
Any idea how their prices would compare to pre-builts?

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No matter how good the tools, if you don't know how to use them or don't have the skills, you will not get good results. Making the boxes is not all that difficult, but precision fit and nice doors takes practice and the right touch of the hands.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/




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I had a lot of hand tools but when I decided to build the cabinets, I decided I "needed" to buy a Delta 36-800 Unisaw as a retirement gift to myself. With the biesemeyer fence, it cuts accurate to a 16th and the 52" side extension and 36" (x 72") rear extension table makes easy work of cutting whole 4 x 8 sheets. Got a lot of 12,24 and 36" clamps too. Did the laundry room and other bath cabs first for practice..the kitchen and ensuite came next, then the biggie:
A corner, 7' high built-in with cabinet above, BI microwave slot, 30" BI wall oven, then a pot drawer at the bottom. They all came out really well so I'd have to put the Unisaw in the "great tool" category.
Rudy
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And the 3 way adjustable Blum hinges really help
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I've built cabinets in the past using nothing more than a circular saw, hammer, and nails. They still turned out nice, but it's a lot more work.
A tablesaw, pocket hole jig, and a router make the job much easier and more accurate.

Lucky... :) I wish I could have justified the cost of a new tablesaw, but it was just not in our budget when we built our cabinets.
I built all of our cabinets using a 20+ year old Craftsman tablesaw I inherited from my Dad. Direct drive, underpowered, small top, and a horrible fence. :) After building one cabinet, I did splurge for a Mule "Accufence" (about $180) and upgraded my saw. It made all the difference allowing my little old saw to provide halfway decent cuts.

Before I built our cabinets, I built a mobile shop cart on wheels that matched the height of my tablesaw. The top is about 30" x 80" which will easily support a full sheet of plywood. I just wheel it behind the tablesaw when I need outfeed support. It works great and makes a nice worktable for assembling face frames and whatnot as well.
While I can easily rip full sheets of plywood on my little saw, I wouldn't even attempt crosscutting a full sheet. Instead I use a simple straight edge "saw board" and a circular saw. Much safer and just as accurate as my tablesaw.

I agree, you can never have enough clamps...
I only have eight 48" bar clamps, and they were almost always filled up with doors or panels of some sort. The 48" length did allow me to clamp two doors at once, which helped.

I started with a small bathroom cabinet too. It was small, but had a drawer and two doors, so it was a good practice project. After building that cabinet, I did decide to change the way I built the doors for the remaining cabinets.

Sounds impressive. Congrats! My most complicated cabinet was the built-in dresser in our master closet. It had 12 drawers and the face frame had to be scribe fitted between two walls of the niche it fits in. Unlike the kitchen and bath cabinets, this one has a wood top that had to be scribe fitted to all three surrounding walls. It was a challenging project, but it turned out great.
Anthony
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