leveling kitchen base cabinet question

I started installing my kitchen cabinets. . The wall cabinets are up. Now I'm stating on the base cabinets. It's one row of cabinets 11 feet long wall to wall. My question is how do you shim up the first cabinet in the corner? I can't get a shim under there while the cabinet is in place, so I have to remove the cabinet, put a shim in the corner, and place the cabinet again to test. Is there a technique thats easier? I thought if I place a shim from the top on the adjacent wall, that would keep the cabinet raised, then I would drill through the top cabinet rail. Any advice appreciated.
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On Thu, 29 Nov 2007 01:49:25 -0800 (PST), Mikepier

Find the highest spot on the floor along the whole line of cabinets. Measure up from there the proper cabinet height (usually 34.5") and mark the wall. Keep in mind that the highest spot may not be right along the wall but out under the front of the cabinet or anywhere in between. Then extend a level line along the whole row and around the corner(s). Slide that first cabinet in place. The lines will give you an idea of how much it needs to be shimmed and where. It will still take some trial and error to get that first one right, but not as much.
If I read you right, you're proposing using a temporary shim up top just to get the cabinet plumb and level enough to fasten to the wall. You really want the shims under the cabinet where needed to support the weight; just depending on fasteners through the top rail to hold it plumb and level is not enough.
Often when cabinets go wall to wall you need a filler strip to get the dimensions to work out. Even if you don't, sizing the row of cabinets 2-3 inches smaller than the total opening and then using a filler makes fitting a lot easier, since it gives you a little wiggle room. By splitting the filler and putting half at each end, it gives you a small gap to work the rear shim into place. Also provides more clearance for doors to open and drawers to slide without hitting the side walls.
Of course the easiest way is to spring for cabinets that have built-in levelers that are adjustable through the cabinet bottom, but I guess that advice is moot at this point.
HTH,
Paul F.
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wrote:

I am watching Mike's progress with interest since it appears he is about 2 months ahead of a very similiar job at my house. My kitchen has 2 walls for cabs...the main one also about 11'-12' long.
What is the easiest way to find the high point in a space that long since (as you correctly point out) it may not be along the back wall but up front, in the middle, etc. Do you draw a level reference line on the back wall, use a string level in the front and middle and just measure everywhere to find any "humps" in the floor?
--Jeff
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You can put a 2 foot level on the floor perpendicular to the wall, every foot or so. Since the cabinets are 2 feet deep, the 2 foot level works good. For me the floor sloped down away from the wall, so I knew the highest point was going to be on the wall.
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Use a straight 10' 2x4 with a four foot level taped to the top, or you can use a laser or water level and a tape measure to measure down from the level line.
The leveling legs are the easiest thing to use. If you haven't ordered/built your cabinets yet, I'd make them without bases and toe kicks and use the leveling legs.
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Oh I so disagree about using cabinets with leveling legs. I did about 30 feet of cabinets once where leveling legs were used. Spent hours and hours and hours face down on the floor reaching under the cabinets twisting this leg or that leg while my wife was up above staring at a level giving me directions. Repeated this procedure every 18 inches or so (width of the cabinets). Most miserable experience of my life.
Next time I did a similar job I simply built a 2"x4" base upon the floor and leveled it with shims. No wife involvement with this one. Took a little less than one hours. Placed the cabinets on top of the frame/base and walked away proudly.
BTW, not only were the leveling legs a pain in the ass, but, the toe-kick boards were supposed to clip onto the legs. Most of them didn't line up. Some only missed (not in the same vertical plane) by about 1/16 of an inch but enough to make it look ugly. NEVER, NEVER AGAIN!!!!
BTW#2, these were purchased at a home store (now long closed) who ordered them from some cabinet maker in Oregon. A sleek Wilsonart European look that looked dated within months after installation. I take the blame for that decision.
Ivan Vegvary
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Please include attribution when quoting. Thanks.

Well than, you've had a pretty easy life! There are numerous leveling legs on the market, and numerous ways to simplify leveling. Some of the legs utilize a hole in the floor of the cabinet (gets covered with a flat plastic plug) that allows an Allen wrench to be inserted to adjust the leg. But a far easier way is to use a ledger board at the back of the cabinet. Then you have excellent support at low expense and only have to adjust the front leveling legs.

I like the improved access of the leveling legs. I'm always running something or other under the cabinets.

Vertical plane? I've never seen clip-on kicks that didn't line up up- and-down. The in-and-out can be tweaked with a few layers of tape if needed.

Well, I'm sure not taking the blame on that one! I get blamed for enough things as it is. ;)
R
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<snip>

Lot's of ways to skin this one. A laser is the easiest, but lacking that, I usually use 4' and 2' levels to draw a level line along the back and side walls about 30" up from the floor. Then I tack a string line from end to end about 2' from the back wall, where the cabinet fronts will go. Measure from floor to line at several spots to get an idea where you stand. Then measure from the back line to the floor at several spots as well. Once you know the highest spot at the front and back, a few spot checks with the level will identify the odd hump somewhere in between. Usually the floor sags and the high spot is close to the wall, but sometimes, depending on how the framing underneath runs, there is a hump somewhere else. Humps don't matter unless they are the highest spot. Pick the highest spot, a draw a new line 34.5 plus an 1/8 over that and extend it around. You can skip the 1/8, but I like the extra wiggle room.
Some people draw the first level line only 1 or 2 inches up from the floor because then you can usually spot the high spot by eye using the string.
Once you've drawn the final line, if you really want to be sure, slide the cabinets in and make sure neither the front or back edges is higher than the line. Use a level or replace the string line to check the front edges. This is a lot of extra work and chance to damage the cabs, so I skip this step. So far I've been lucky.
HTH,
Paul
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wrote:

I beleive leveling legs can be retrofitted to most cabinet styles. Would save a ton of headaches getting things installed correctly.
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