I'd never use MDF, don't like it. Ply edges would need a LOT of work
to get a paint job that is reasonable. There are two products that
could make it faster/easier, both available at auto supply stores such
as NAPA. First is any Bondo like catalyzed filler to be used for
voids. Second is glazing compound. The latter comes in a tube and is
just talc and lacquer (bondo is talc and polyester resin) and is for
more minor roughness.
Using those two and a decent primer would give you painted edges that
look like they grew there. Auto body primers are also useful as they
have high quantity of solids and sand very easily.
Given the amount of work to get good painted rounded over edges on
plywood, I wouldn't do it. I'd leave the ply edges square and cover
them with a solid wood molding shaped as desired.
I'm starting to lean toward a framed panel, since pretty much
everyone is in agreement with that being the best route. I'd originally
planned to use bondo or a homemade filled-epoxy concoction to dress the
routed edges of the ply.
Actually, I may well end up doing a couple of small test pieces
and trying both methods out. I'd planned to do a lavatory as a trial run
for the main cabinets anyway, so I might as well use it to experiment on.
Thanks, everyone who has responded so far! This was just the sort
of input I was hoping for, and it's already giving me some fresh
perspectives on the job.
maybe think about using some wp4 otherwise known as tonge and grove or
for making the doors, screw a strip near the top and bottom on the
inside and you've got doors.
i did this in my home years ago, had access to butternut T & G and
worked out well. stable.
If I was going to paint them, I would buy MDF
or thermofoil doors. Get them finished if possible.
It will be faster,cheaper,easier.
It's not what you asked but it is good advice.
You build the boxes and hang the doors on them.
Here is several examples:
This way you don't come back in two years and tell us that the
kitchen job took just a "wee bit" longer than you expected and
that the divorce is just getting settled up.
James L Kilpatrick wrote:
That last point just might be the best one I've seen so far in this
I thought seriously about going the "store bought" route on the doors,
I'm going to at least give it a try before make that decision. I just got
back home with the materials and most of the tools needed for a vanity, and
that's going to be the test piece. I'll be able to try some different
methods for the drawer faces and doors, and get a feel for the overall
Although I'm not really in a time squeeze, I can't drag this out forever,
either. I'll know by the end of the week whether this project is a go or
not, although I'd really be surprised if I hit anything insurmountable.
Thanks for the input! Being able to get feeback from a number of more
experienced folks is a really big help. I'll post back later with some of
my results and conclusions.
OK. That's the spirit! We've got him at the top pf the slope. A
little nudge, and down he goes! ;-)
Here's the thing you may not have considered: When doing drawers or
doors, or anything else in multiples, it takes a bunch of clamps to get
the glueups through to sufficiently cured. I don't want to think of how
much cash I dropped on the pile of clamps hiding in the garage shop.
And I used maybe 24 of them on just one cabinet's worth of drawers
Plan your work so that you can do this a little each evening, and maybe
some early in the morning, before you leave. Or raid a friend's shop
for a week.
Yep, I came in tonight with an armload of clamps, and SWMBO couldn't
believe it when I told her that I expected to need at LEAST three times
that many once I got started in earnest. I had to explain that I couldn't
just do one drawer at a time if I wanted to get the job done in a
reasonable time frame. Clamps are definitely going to be the biggest single
tool cost for these cabinets.
I forgot to mention...
There are many folks who sell knock down drawers to
the cabinet crowd also.
Speed,speed,speed is everything when the "little woman"
gets to talking about cooking Christmas dinner in her
new kitchen and you are still doing glue-ups on the panels
to make 50 cabinet doors. (no pressure there)
We won't talk about just where you are gonna put all those
doors to be finished.
Where are you storing all the base cabinets and wall cabinets
after they get put together ?
James L Kilpatrick wrote:
Those women are incredibly rare, but a few of them are out there. One of
closest friends has been building their house for over ten years. It still
isn't complete. When they "moved in" it was one room with a commode, sink,
and range. That's now the laundry room, and the place is 1,800' sq. and
I'd love to have someone else do the doors, the drawers, and the bases
that matter! :) I really don't look forward to the next couple of weeks,
since I'm essentially working three jobs. The problem I have is that I
can't put a nice markup on these cabinets and sell them. I couldn't even
afford to buy them from someone who did.
If you took the real buying power of my income and translated it into
dollars, (the year I graduated high school), I'd be below the poverty line.
It's only because of SWMBO that I can even come close to affording my own
home. OUR own home, I should say. I thank God for her!
I'm not doing this as a hobby, or as a business. I'm just trying to keep
head above water. It helps a lot to have good folks like everyone here to
bounce ideas off of, and occasionally to vent some steam. In the limited
spare time I have right now, this group is one of the highlights!
Being lower on the income scale can be a real
incentive. Been there, done that, built two
houses by myself.
There has probably been a billion set of cabinets
built from birch plywood with very basic tools.
I would consider at least buying a used contractor
saw with a decent fence.
I would also consider getting a Kreg jig. You can
put some boxes together in a BIG hurry with glue
and pocket hole screws.
James L Kilpatrick wrote:
If you took the real buying power of my income and
translated it into 1984 dollars, (the year I graduated high school),
I'd be below the poverty line.
It's only because of SWMBO that I can even come close to
affording my own home. OUR own home, I should say.
I thank God for her!
For what you save in the 'number of clamps needed', by using the simple
Kreg jig, you can buy a decent used contractor saw. And probably save
yourself two weeks of nights, building drawers.
And making face frames for the cabinets becomes much easier with the table
You can do this affordably. We're counting on it.
I had considered going with pocket holes, but talked myself out of it.
biggest reason is simply that I don't know enough about where to use them,
and where not to. I guess if I'm going to either buy lots more clamps or a
Kreg jig in the next week, I need to spend some time studying how they're
used in the custom cabinets I can get access to.
The face frames I'd planned to build from standard width poplar stock
the local Lowe's. I think I failed to mention that I have a good compound
miter saw. A fresh blade on that and I should be able to cut cleanly to
Please don't laugh, but for joining the face frames, I plan to use a
homemade doweling jig and 1/4" dowels. I'd thought about a lap joint, but
given the amount of hopping from job to job I'll be doing, I figured I'd
get more consistent results with a jig and dowels. I know it's time
consuming, but it fits into my comfort zone as a technique. Would pocket
holes be a candidate for joining face frames?
I keep saying thanks to you guys, but I promise, I really do mean it.
A couple of years ago, Kreg had a video in woodworking stores that
showed how to use their jig. Sometimes it was a freebie with a jig
purchase, and sometimes $10 or so. Often, it was playing on the video
in the corner, and you could watch it for 20 minutes, and figure out
almost anything you needed from that session. It's dead simple,
particularly for someone who makes his living framing. The video might
be on the Kreg website.
A note on the face frames: The table saw makes ripping the stock to
width much easier. Then you can buy from a wood dealer or lumber yard,
s2s or s3s stock, at a much more reasonable price. Some of the nation's
most expensive lumber is hiding in that row at the BORG.
Your miter saw will get plenty of work, and is an optimum tool for the
The dowels and jig will work. So will the pocket jig, which might be
faster. Strength isn't really an issue here, because both will work. I
use the pocket hole jig, because I have one (not a fancy Kreg, BTW).
And dowels still need clamping for longer than it takes to drive the
screws. At least until the glue cures up some - an hour maybe.
You may want to poke around a website www.mcfeeleys.com that sells
screws, fasteners and tools. Nobody has better stuff, and they have
very reasonable prices.
About the help: Who do you think we learned this stuff from, anyway?
Somebody showed us, told us, or pointed us in the right direction. No
big deal. Enjoy your project!
Using the Kreg jig is a dead simple operation.
For a "basic" box and face frames, it can not be
beat for speed and accuracy.
The "only" tool you need is a 3/8" drill.
You don't have to have a battery drill but that does
speed things up a little. The screws can be set by a
basic screw driver will a long bit.
Go here for the story... http://www.kregtool.com /
and be sure to look here:
These news groups are about the only useful thing on the web.
James L Kilpatrick wrote:
I had considered going with pocket holes,
but talked myself out of it. The biggest reason is simply
that I don't know enough about where to use them,
and where not to.
I keep saying thanks to you guys, but I promise,
I really do mean it.
Well, Pat, I built a vanity as a test piece over the weekend, and decided
Sat. night that I'd just get one of these jigs to try the process. I can't
immediately recall the model number, but it's the $45.00 set that has the
Two-hole jig, the collared drill, and the long square bit all boxed
That thing is at least 50% slicker than owl shit! I just couldn't believe
how quickly and easily I got the face frame built, and it made adding some
gussets in the top of the box an absolute breeze. If I'd gotten no other
tips at all from all you fine people, (and I've gotten plenty), that would
have made me happy as a clam.
Although I haven't had a chance to start finishing the door edges yet, I
made two doors from 3/4 birch ply with rounded edges. I'm going to try a
couple of purpose-made wood fillers, and if those don't give good results,
I may try good old Bondo. The edges are smoother in the raw state than I'd
expected, so I'm pretty hopeful at this point that I'll get decent results
without having to add frames around the plywood.
Some thoughts from the work this weekend:
If I had a table saw, I'd buy poplar boards and mill them to size. Since
don't, I'm spending more for milled stock for the face frames at Lowe's.
I'm OK with that, as it's not all that much stock to begin with.
A new finish blade on a circular saw that I've used every day for ten
years, when driven carefully, is going to be quite acceptable for all my
sawing needs. (except that I'll use my el cheapo jig saw to complete the
cuts so as not to waste plywood)
I'm up to sixteen clamps now, and expect to get more before long.
I need a couple of extra arms for getting everything into position to
clamp. Some of the scenes on Sunday would have made you guys split a side,
I was nervous about starting this project. As I get further into it,
though, I find I'm starting to really enjoy it. Thanks, everyone who has
chipped in with tips and advice! I'll keep you posted, and I'm sure I'll
have more questions as I get on with the build.
Pat Barber wrote:
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