Karl, Leon, others: Advice for hanging cabinets wanted.

Page 1 of 3  
I have a kitchen cabinet job coming up, just installing not building. I know how to hang cabinets and place base cabs, but it's always been just a few at a time and I could take my time, previously. I also have always worked alone.
So I'm looking for tips, pointers, advice, etc., for being more efficient at the job, tools that work, tools that are a waste of time/$$, techniques to use vs. techniques to avoid.
I'm entertaining the idea of hiring a helper, mainly for lifting and holding in place. I'm also entertaining the idea of buying/building some adjustable cabinet lifts to hold against the wall and steady for attaching. I'd rather invest in tools than pay a helper, but my mind's not made up yet.
I've seen techniques where cabinets are attached to each other, first on the floor, then listed into place on the wall as an attached group. Does this save time?
Go on, now... let 'er rip!
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/2/2015 5:59 PM, -MIKE- wrote:

First order of business is to get your blocking in the wall for the top of the base cabinets, and the top, and bottom, of the wall cabinets, similar to this:
https://picasaweb.google.com/111355467778981859077/KitchenInStrawBaleHome2009?noredirect=1#5405958261359111762
I use a laser level to establish the top line of the base cabinets, shim them to the line, then measure up from there for the bottom of the wall cabinets.
We usually install the base cabinets first.
At that point I joint a 2 x 4 perfectly flat, as long as necessary, attach/screw that to the wall, perfectly level, for your all cabinets to sit upon, thusly:
https://picasaweb.google.com/111355467778981859077/EWoodShopJigsFixturesMethods?noredirect=1#6223846730363468274
Personally, I would not waste money on a cabinet lift system of any kind, unless you're working alone.

We try to attach as long a run of cabinets together as possible (that two people can handle) prior to lifting them up on the aforementioned leveled 2 x 4's, simply because it saves time in shimming a run to the wall.
To do this, it is advantageous to have a flat surface to work from ... we usually use a sheet of plywood on the island cabinets, or a flat floor.
We then shim and screw the wall cabinets to the wall, starting at the top, making sure they are level in all planes.
Have a ton more photos if you think they would be helpful.
Ask away ...
--
eWoodShop: www.eWoodShop.com
Wood Shop: www.e-WoodShop.net
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/2/2015 6:36 PM, Swingman wrote:

Another example, clearly showing the top of base cabinet line we established FIRST.
(Leon completely lost his head that day):
https://picasaweb.google.com/111355467778981859077/EWoodShopEuropeanStyleKitchen201102?noredirect=1#5679345422630596018
That particular group of photos of that kitchen pretty well illustrates Leon's and my approach to installing a kitchen full of cabinets, which should give you a good idea of what to do for a lasting job.
BTW, ate Thanksgiving dinner at that home last week and the cabinets still look, and most importantly perform, like the day we finished ... and I looked very hard for anything that needed tweaking.
Ahem ... you will not find that solid of an installation in the $2m+ homes hereabouts ... I know because I'm called on constantly to make things, like doors and drawers, work again in what passes for cabinetry these days.
--
eWoodShop: www.eWoodShop.com
Wood Shop: www.e-WoodShop.net
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/2/15 6:48 PM, Swingman wrote:

That's an amazing set of cabinets! I notice you went with top first, then base on this job. That's what I've seen advised from most people. The other post you said you did the base, first.
What are *your* reasons for both?
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/2/2015 8:32 PM, -MIKE- wrote:

If you install the top cabinets first, the bottom cabinets are not in the way. ;~) Remember, the bottom cabinets stick out from the wall twice as far as the top cabinets.
BUT if the floor is unlevel putting the base cabinets in first, and level, assures you of how high the tops will be so that you can maintain a consistant distance between the top of the base and the bottom of the top cabinets.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/2/15 9:41 PM, Leon wrote:

That was my thinking!

I suppose one might run laser level down near the floor and find the low and high spots and make sure you adjust from there.
I ran into that problem with the last base cabinets I installed-- floor sloped in three directions!
Have you seen these? http://www.ez-level.com/HowToOrder.html I think they're awesome but at 30 bucks a pair, I can't afford to try them.
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/2/2015 8:32 PM, -MIKE- wrote:

The necessity for lining up wall and base cabinets is usually the deciding factor, but it is also a matter of preference.
I generally prefer to do the base cabinets first.
With the base cabinets, san toe kick and sitting on a pre-installed, level/plumb base, you have more wiggle room with lining wall and base cabinets to spec, so you can go either way.
When the toe kick is built-in to the base cabinets, and that run needs to be shimmed leveled and plumb, and since a good deal of the budget money in the form of expensive counter tops is going on top of them, it often pays to get the base cabinets set perfectly before putting in the wall cabinets ... hopefully, if you did precise measurement and built your cabinets accordingly, giving you some wiggle room with alignment with the wall cabinets.
--
eWoodShop: www.eWoodShop.com
Wood Shop: www.e-WoodShop.net
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Swingman wrote:

I enjoyed looking at all of your pictures. Beautiful work. BTW, what are the very vertical cabinet enclosures to the upper left (of Leon, in the first picture)? Googling around, I saw some similar cabinets that look like they were for "plates". Is that the case here (2 plates per enclosure?). All very fine, indeed (your experience shows!) Even your stacks of materials ready to install (cabinet shelves) leave a memorable impression--very neat! And one "senses" that they have all been cut to just the right size...and that they are even interchangeable! I assume they slide into a dado (or stopped dado)...they better be the right size, no? : )
Bill
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bill wrote:

I re-examined the pics to see (I think) that the answer to this question is no.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/2/2015 9:34 PM, Bill wrote:

That cabinet was custom made for two of these:
http://www.rev-a-shelf.com/popup.aspx?src=/xmlImportToWeb/images/full_size/448-TP-58-1.jpg
The vertical spaced area above is used for cookie sheets and similar oven pans.
--
eWoodShop: www.eWoodShop.com
Wood Shop: www.e-WoodShop.net
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Swingman wrote:

Thanks! Very fancy!

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/2/15 6:36 PM, Swingman wrote:

I wish!! Remodel, old cabinets are gone, I'm putting up the new ones. I'll check for blocking, man that would be awesome if someone had the forethought.

I've done that in the past, but I'm not sure If I can on this job as I don't know I need to leave the walls intact. I'll find out tomorrow. *Hopefully* they are repainting and I can screw a tuba4 to the wall and patch the holes.

I'm looking at something like the T-JAK support. In combination with the tuba4 support rail I think I could go it alone. It also looks like something I'd use for other things. But yeah, with a helper and the support rail I don't think I'd use it a second time.

I was thinking that would be the best way to screw them together. I'll definitely do that if I go the helper route.
Excellent advice all around, which is what I expected from you.
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/2/2015 8:28 PM, -MIKE- wrote:

In the normal course of events, the 2 x 4 is going in a spot where the future backsplash is going/being replaced, so there is no patching involved.
AAMOF, with drywall we always take that area under the wall cabinets to-the-studs and replace any drywall with cement board.
--
eWoodShop: www.eWoodShop.com
Wood Shop: www.e-WoodShop.net
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/2/2015 5:59 PM, -MIKE- wrote:

What Swingman said. ;~)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/2/15 9:35 PM, Leon wrote:

Lazy bastage! :-p
BTW, I did get a pair of these... http://www.fastcap.com/estore/pc/Upper-Hand-2pk-System-p42601.htm
I can think of a dozen times this year when I could've used them.
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/2/2015 10:12 PM, -MIKE- wrote:

I think it might be easier to learn to ride a unicycle. ;~)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 2 Dec 2015 17:59:06 -0600

pinch cleats might make it a one man job
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/3/15 1:37 PM, Electric Comet wrote:

French cleats are a great concept an I've made and used them, but I would never try them for more than a few cabinets.
The big downfall of the a cleat hanging system is the inability to shim. If you needed to shim the cabinet out from the wall at the top, it would raise the cabinet due to the bevel in the cleat. In order for the cabinet to come out, it has to also go up on the bevel.
Since I have yet to meet a wall that was perfectly straight and plumb, that leaves me with the singular option of somehow shimming the cleat perfectly straight. Also, the way a cleat works, it has to be recessed or it sticks out from the wall. Cabinets need to be flush. Many cabinets have a recessed back panel, but the side panels would hit the wall cleat. I'm not about to notch out all the side panels at the cleat and I'm not about to use individual wall cleats for each cabinet.
In the time in takes me to do all this accommodation for a cleat system, I'd have the cabinets hung. :-)
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Friday, December 4, 2015 at 12:11:13 AM UTC-6, -MIKE- wrote:
You have some good instruction from others, so just consider this another " look". Strictly my opinions. Remember, my business is built on speed, das h and accuracy. I give my clients what they want, but in my business I rar ely have a "sky's the limit" customer, so all methods are adjusted accordin gly.

I hate permanent cleats, and interlocking/French/San Diego style cleats eve n more. Not worth the time, effort or tomfoolery needed to put them into o peration.

Maybe...
This is what I do, YMMV. I rarely ever run into a nice straight wall, or a wall that is properly framed, or one that hasn't had the framing layout mo dified to accommodate plumbing, electric, venting, etc.
So I do this: I push all the bottom cabs together and measure to make sure they won't need any modifications or extras to determine the final layout of the uppers. When I am satisfied with my measurements, I lay out the cabi nets on the wall where they will be hung, and pop lines that are level and plumb according to the correct measurements.
Then I cover the areas to be covered with 1/2" plywood, all cuts about 3/8" short. Glue the ply with PL400, and screw to any available studs or other framing members. I only do this to the uppers, so it doesn't take long. Then I screw 12" pieces of 2X4 <between> the adjoining carcasses lined up o n the previously mentioned chalk line as a removable cleat.
While I certainly get a great deal of the hanging screws into wall stud, if I miss (or if it is intended) I get a good bite into plywood. I put a str ing line across the face of the cabinets, and shim accordingly after I get a couple of screws in to hold the cabs in place. With the short cleats, I c an shim the cabinet stiles to make a perfect joint then screw them together , and have hard backing (the plywood) to put large shims in to hold them in place.
To clarify, I don't actually use shims, and don't like those either for mos t work. A shim only supports that little area it immediately touches and c an distend or warp the shimmed project later on. It takes me seconds to go outside and cut myself a handful of wedges from a clean 2X4. My typical w edges are about 12 to 16 inches long, and from 3/8" or 1/4" to 0". I slide those behind the abutting carcasses to get both sides braced at the same t ime, and secure the faces. I shoot a brad through the cabinets in either s ide of the bottoms to hold the wedge/shim in place. Remove the 12" cleats one at a time and shim the backs of the cabinets (if needed) against the pl ywood backing. LONG wedges make the cabinet install really solid and even with 42" cabinets will almost completely stop all flex. Buzz off all the w edges with the oscillator.
If you are attaching a tile/marble backsplash directly onto the sheetrock, your tiles will fit neatly under the backs of the cabinets. If you are goi ng to mount a backer boards, you can run that up to the bottom of the cabin et and set your tile on top of that finishing under the cabinets. If it is backer for tile that is going to have a post form top, then I run the back er board behind the backs of the base cabs by about 2 inches to make a bett er looking finish detail.
It sounds like more work than it is. I have experimented with a lot of dif ferent methods and technologies and this works best for me. And even if it is a bit more time up front, you can dial in the wedges so well that even the nastiest walls can have nearly perfectly straight cabs on them. Any by hanging them this way, I eliminate "those doors that don't line up right b ecause the walls are so twisted" and have found that lining doors is almost eliminated.
If I have the luxury (and money in the project to redo all the sheetrock, I do as Karly has shown and block out the whole wall so every screw is a win ner. But after that it is long wedge and stringline time for me when hangi ng.
Robert
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/4/15 2:50 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Great info! I'm think of getting a rotary laser level. I've been wanting one for some time and this may be the job for it.

That's brilliant. Just to clear... you're covering the wall behind the upper cabs with 1/2" plywood so that it's basically and entire shadow of the cabinets minus 3/16" around the perimeter. Do you now have to add a narrow trim piece at the ends where the cabs are 1/2' off the wall?

I was planning on running one straight 2x4 along the entire baseline for the uppers. You're saying attaching shorter segments of 2x4, one for each cabinet, so that each short cleat holds up only one cabinet each? You find this (for reasons you explained further down) makes overall adjustments easier?

Do you wait until all cabinets are on the wall until you run the line and shim? IE: cabs are sitting on cleats with a couple screws partially installed near the top so they are up on the wall, secure, but not permanent. Then you shim, screw the adjacent face frames together, then you secure the top screws to the wall. Then go to bottom.
Also, are your 2x4 shims 1-1/2" wide or 3-1/2" wide?

Awesome info, thanks a ton for your reply!!
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.