Unless you have a good router table or shaper, and plan on doing more in
the future, I'd buy 'em. You'd be amazed how many pro shops outsource
doors. A good set of frame cutters + a good panel bit will run you $200+.
Sounds like you do to me. Face frames are relatively easy to make, and
are cheaper to rebuild. Make the FF first, then make the boxes to fit
them. I highly recommend prefinished plywood for the boxes, with the
finished side in. Cabinet drawers are simple boxes, and are also quite
Have you thought out the finish for the face frames and doors?
Got Bob's book, read it and plan on incorperating some of his ideas with
some from the other two
I have a shaper, which has not been used since I picked it up. Having been
getting quotes for solid cherry doors running 45-52/ea (I asked for quotes
on a 15.5x28 door) the thought about buying a 200/300 set of cutters a good
That is where my largest concerns are, I have been toying with the idea of
getting a spray gun for the top coat and cabinet interiors and doing the ff
and draw fronts and doors via the old hand method. She is looking for the
rick 'red' cherry look. Would prefer a commercial stain, where I can
purchase enough from a single batch to complete everything
Luke, use the prefinished ply inside. The prefinished ply... <G>
All you need is perfectly matched wood and that will matter. <G>
Since cherry blotches something awful, you're going to need to use
either a fast drying pigment product over a shellac wash coat, or
colored clear coats. Good spray gear, as well as plenty of practice,
will definitely be a worthwhile investment.
Once you've got a pro-quality product, I would be more concerned with
learning to apply and control the color, rather than which can it came from.
If you're going to use a heavy pigment stain, you might think of
skipping the cherry in favor of birch or maple. You'll still need the
wash coats, etc... Once stained, it'll look the same, and you'll save
enough money to pay for the gear.
There's also the option of having the doors and frames professionally
finished by a local pro.
I've done both. Bought my doors and built them. For me doing a good job
on the doors and drawers takes longer than the cabinets. I've had good
luck buying doors, but given the right jigs and setups you can run
through all the doors fairly quickly. It's the setup that takes the time.
Last set of cabinets I pre-finished all the interior cabinet parts before
assembly. Worked great.
I don't mess with leg leveling devices, but prepare a good sub-base of
2x4's that is square and level and mount the boxes to that. I have a
preference for french cleats for the uppers.
D. G. Adams
I made my own. Doors shaker style out of Pine and cases out of Melamine
covered particle board.Not half bad. My biggest problem is that after 3
years the joints on the doors are falling apart.Glued with Elmers Cabinet
Glue.Don't trust it.I'm redoing all joints with Gorilla Glue.Just some food
On Thu, 4 Sep 2008 11:00:14 -0400, "SteveA"
You should first get a copy "Building Your Own Kitchen
Cabinetry" from John Paquay. His website is down now.
You should or must read it before you start if you are not
sure where you are heading. I think, making doors and
drawers is most fun and the experience you should not miss.
To reduce your cost, I suggest you lurk craigslist in the
city where you live. You can buy cheap lumber, plywood and
even woodworking power tools. Also not to forget, Reuse
Store (Habitat). Here in CA, lumber is exorbitant and I
bought all my Maple lumber and laminate sheets from
commercial woodworking companies. They often advertised in
craigslist to get rid of excess lumber, laminated (Formica)
sheets less than 1/3 the cost new and including free MDF and
Just an example, three weeks ago I went to this ACE hardware
and bought more than a hundred $$ worth of Minwax
Polyurethane sealer, stained, hardware's plywood etc. at
their closing down sales. I believe in a week or two
everything will be gone.
When I did our kitchen, I went to Home Depot and got their guys to
measure our kitchen and design it - free service if you buy their
cabinets, but a real help in planning the triangle and other lyout
issues using "standard" cabinet dimensions.
Counter tops are an issue if any are longer than the Formica Sheets
available to you or, if turning a corner where one leg is longer than
the available short dimension - though, maybe your investment in
Cherry will dictate a professionally made counter top.
You can, of course purchase the boxes from Lowes, HD, etc and build
the doors. This gives you Euro cabinets (better use of space than Face-
Frames) and and easier job.
A PC 690 will do the job, but the bigger 3.5HP model might be
justified along with building a good router table to help with those
panel doors. Buy the Jugs for the rail and stile bits to help with
setup - Cherry is a terrible wood to waste.
Look at your other projects - how are your finishing skills?
Ready-made doors are not cheap - not as cheap as ready-made HD boxes
It sounds like a good plan. Building doors is not tough, especially if you have
a shaper. Buy some poplar to build a few practice doors.
Overlay doors are far easier than inset doors, you don't have to worry about
getting a good reveal. Finish the inside of the cabinets before assembly.
When installing, find the high point of floor and then draw level lines for the
tops of the bottoms and the bottom of the tops from there. Install the tops
first, screw a 2x4 to the wall with the top on your level line. Then it's easy
to put the cabinets in place and attach them, even if you are by yourself.
Your walls are not square. Depending on how "not square", you should leave a
bit of space 1/2" - 1" at the ends of the cabinets where they butt the walls.
Then make the face frame a little wider at that end and scribe it to the wall
for a tight fit.
One more thought: If I ever redo a kitchen from scratch, I'm going to put only
drawers in the lower cabinets. Deep ones for pans and large items, shallower
ones for spices, utensils, etc. Norm did that in his kitchen remodel last year.
I've put some in our current kitchen and shop. They are really convenient. No
stooping over to find something at the back of a cabinet. It is also far
easier to lift out heavy items like a stationary mixer.
I am completing (I hope) my second kitchen and a challenge may be the
First time, smallish kitchen, so I brushed the poly on. 3 coats, got
2nd - bought a turbine system to speed things up and tried my hand at
lacquer. First, water based, then solvent (the water based didn't get
along with the oiled, solid walnut handles).
This opened the door wide open to a whole new set of challenges.
There is definitely a learning curve and impediments come from
unexpected places e.g. Could not get the lacquer to not end in orange
peel. Reason - the dang lacquer thinner from Lowes had ingredients
that didn't get along with the lacquer; need the "purer stuff. Took a
long time to figure that out, after ALL (every single @$%^%*& one!)
the normal reasons were eliminated.
In fact, let me repeat that as a general mantra - impediments,
challenges, and such will come from unexpected places.
If you've planned and laid things out, you can "whip out" the cabinet
carcasses in no time (relatively). It's repetition of the same depths
and constructions after all.
Precision is important. By that I mean stuff like keeping the carcass
square, precise measurements for drawers and their hardware
One suggestion was to not rip out the old kitchen 'til the cabinets
are made. Since it always takes longer to finish the project than
expected, you may find that a functional kitchen isn't the same as a
completed kitchen and it gets to be tiring.
Example (again!) Do you know what it takes to bake a box mix cake -
when your kitchen is packed away in boxes? Not just the mix and a
cake pan. Measuring cups, spatulas, a mixer,...
I'd echo the suggestion that you lean toward buying the doors (if
they're raised panel) unless you want the challenge and find that time
still isn't an issue by the time you get to that stage.
Keep a notebook with your sketches, measurements, requirements, other
notes and stuff. If you ever do this again, you will find it very
helpful. Getting up to speed on the 2nd go-round for me was a bit
interesting as I'd forget little things/lessons from round 1 until
after the fact. Small stuff tends to go by the wayside until you need
to use it again.
Make sure the time investment is worth it. Merely one question of
many - are you gonna live there e a long time?
5 years ago we gutted our kitchen to start from scratch. My wifes
kitchen was going to cost like 20K. I figured I could obtain most of
a shop and the lumber to do it myself. I have a lot of tools now,
two new kids and a half finished kitchen. If I were to do it again, I
would buy it. I will always see all the mistakes. Most people do not
notice them, but I do. Was it worth it....ask me in another 5 years
when I might have it finished.
Wow...your dedication is admirable. But when you can find a good deal
and low prices, I would say save yourself a little aggravation! There
sites that can give you great prices and quotes, such as http://www.kitchenspro.com .
As an update, I have just completed a tempo sink base and combined a 6" base
in a single unit. Since it is a tempo, allowing me to move existing sink to
its new location I made the face frame from material on hand (red oak). I
built is exactly as I will a final piece, using FF biscuits for the face
frame joints, and 20 biscuits to attach face from to carcass, as will as
using them for the carcass joints. While I have not finished it, as yet, but
plan to tomorrow after installing legs. I will take a couple of pics before
and after and post them for some 'corective critisism'.
All in all, it was not a terrible task, in fact a bit easier than I had
suspected (after changing the face frame dimensions, mid construction....
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