I'm using Jim Tolpin's book as a guide for building cabinets. I will
either be using adjustable feet or building a separate level frame to
provide for the toe kick.
In his book, he discusses using biscuits and screws in case
construction as shown below with the biscuits in the ends of the
floor. This doesn't make sense to me - won't that entire weight of
the cabinet and counter now rest on the biscuits and screws?
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It makes more sense to be put the biscuits on the end of the sides.
That way, all of the weight resolves to the plywood bottoms.
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Am I missing something? The only advantage that I can see from doing
it Jim's way is that the stretchers can be cut with the same setup as
the case floors. Or am I just over engineering and five biscuits and
three screws more than strong enough?
IME, forego the adjustable levellers on the base cabinets and either build
in the toe kick, or use a ladder frame ...you will be glad in a few years,
particularly if you ever install granite countertops.
LOL .. were you not just advising someone in another thread that this was a
preferable "method of construction" for cabinets, that you had already built
a few, and yet you are now questioning its soundness?
The screws and glue, if done correctly in the right material, will be strong
enough for just about any application.
That said, I prefer using dadoes and rabbets for kitchen cabinet case
construction, "time consuming" though that may be ... for reasons stated
earlier in another thread, and for the knowledge that there will then be no
need to ask the above question.
What is your thought process regarding the above conclusion regarding
granite countertops? If it is sagging, do you have any experience with
such sagging occurring? I ask this as someone who is planning a cabinet
upgrade prior to putting in granite countertops and I'm trying to get as
much input as possible.
Try bumping into a cabinet on leg levelers, particularly a on standalone,
single cabinet installation, like you may see on either side of an appliance
where they are only attached to a wall at the back, and see if you notice
Now try the same thing with a traditionally built cabinet, with built in toe
kick, or sitting on, and firmly attached to, a ladder frame.
Leg levelers are undoubtedly convenient and are used in more and more
installation, but to me they are a shortcut over _time_ tested methods and
add an unknown-over-time variable to the equation, and one that can go out
of adjustment with slight movement.
Granite, and most stones used in countertops, crack easily under stress.
Distributing the weight of heavy stone countertops over the length of a
cabinet's sides and back panels equates to less stress on the cabinet parts.
Stress over time generally ends up in some type of movement, racking bowing,
splaying, etc, however slight.
Distribute that weight just four points and you are asking for eventual
I'll freely admit that I am old fashioned and could be all wet on this
issue, but I have been around long enough to notice that convenience, and
shortcuts, almost always come at a price ... and even the hint that the
price may include me coming back 5 years down the road and redoing, not just
the cabinets, but likely paying for new countertops and back splash as well,
doesn't induce me to use anything but time tested methods.
I've never worked with granite (or other stone) countertops, but a
large granite countertop sounds awfully heavy. I wonder, is "european"
style cabinetry used in such circumstances? Or is it not suitable
for the loads?
For that matter, I know that when designing a roof for a house
you have to take into consideration the type of roofing material.
(A roof designed for typical asphalt shingles is not adequate
for cement tiles, for example.) Is it standard practice to specially
engineer cabinets which will be used with extremely heavy countertop
materials? Maybe it isn't standard practice, but good practice?
I wouldn't be surprised to learn that
putting a large granite countertop on generic kitchen cabinets is
asking for trouble.
considering that the time tested manner for tile countertops is 3/4" ply
followed by about 1" of concrete, it's not much different than granite. you
can put concrete countertops on regular cabinets without reinforcement. most
fishtank stands are built with the load carried on vertical plywood pieces.
a 120 gallon tank is about 1000lbs.
wood works well in compression.
Top of the line European manufactured cabinets have used leg levelers
for many years. I had Poggenpohl cabinets, manufactured in Germany,
in former house which I installed myself and had Corian countertops
throughout - probably 50 linear feet plus a huge center island. In 15
years never had a single problem.
I think many seem to be of the opinion that because you use levellrs
the cabs are 'freestanding'. In fact, after leveling the cabs are
screwed to wall and to screwed/bolted to each other. Additional
stability can be supplied by screwing thru foot of leveller with
square drive trim screw ( here's where we say see Mcfeeeley catalog).
Thanks for the response. I do intend to use either slate or granite
tops so I will take your advice. One of the reasons that I didn't
want to use a built-in toe kick was because it seems more difficult to
level. To someone who has never done this before, a ladder frame
appears to be much easier to level. It also makes the discussion
below irrelevent as the case sides will get support from the ladder
So. What material to use for the ladder frame? Do I have to worry
about the stability of 2x4s from the Borg? Plywood seems better - two
Yeah. I know. But I question everything :). In this case, I was
questioning my own knowledge as much as anything else.
Yes. Although it is done all the time without any apparent problems,
partculary with built-in shelves, bookcases, etc.
Tom Watson said it best in a recent post, might want to look it up ... he
prefers plywood, laminated, as you describe, as do I ... but I generally
build in my toe-kicks into cabinets destined for the kitchen. I think it
makes for an overall stronger cabinet, with the possibility of fewer, future
Ever notice these posts where the guy is "reinforcing" his current
installation in order to apply granite/stone countertops?
Do it right the first time ... nuff said.
Strictly my opinion and $.02
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