I am preparing to build some kitchen cabinets and was looking at
options for making the installation easier.
I was planing on just making flat bottoms and installing them on a 2x4
frame (leveled and anchored first) and then putting a face on the 2x4
to finish it off.
Then someone told me that they would build the toe kick into the
cabinet and just shim and level it at install time. This would require
notching all the sides for the toe kick and seems to me, complicating
the building of the cabinet.
And finally, I have seen these leveling legs that attach to the bottom
of the cabinet. You just have to install a special toe kick that clips
onto the legs. I just worry how these would hold up. Are they strong
enough to hold a solid stone top?
Does anyone have any opinions on these options? Any preferences?
Pros/Cons...or any other ideas.
Appreciate any advice in advance.
I've used the adjustable feet for built in cabinets before and never worried
about loading. If you are building individual cabinets, then the counter top
will be head up my many pairs of these feet. I wouldn't worry about it. If
its still a concern, the use your 2x4 method. That will definately provide
enough load capability. If you do, I would make sure to hand the face frame
down past the bottom of the cabinet. That will hide any imperfections in
fitting the toe kick.
A couple of years ago, the home contruction magazine related to FWW ran an
article on installing kitchen cabinets. They used a 2x4 base and standard
carcases built off site. Once they were in a true, the ripped down face
frames and matched the doors. The face frame were continuous between the
carcases and there for helped to tie them together. It also removed the
joint between the two cabinets. Seemed like a nice way to make semi built
ins using standard parts.
This is called a ladder frame for all the obvious reason.
It's typically what I do though you should start with very
straight 2X material. One of the nice things about using
3 1/2" wide material is, you only need to put 1/2" pad
material at all the spots where you want it to touch the
floor and the cabinets will automagically be at the "more
conventional" 4". You can use the tabs for screwing the
assembly to the floor. Also, 1 X 4 material works fine.
Acknowledged and I agree though it eliminates a step later.
You have to work out the trade off.
With casework permanently attached you don't need to be so
bullet proof. In other words, the cabinets are sitting on
top of the legs. Without the cabinets being moved left to
right/front to back, what kind of stresses are put on the
As I said, I like the ladder frames. After the install all
that's left to do is apply the finished toe board and base
I use ripped down 3/4" ply instead of 2x. It's always straight, very
easy to install, and it's rare that a cabinet project dosen't have
enough material left over already. The leftover stuff can also have a
finish applied, PRESTO, instant matching toe kick!
Use small pieces as doublers at corners and midspan junctions.
another consideration is efficiency of materials. with a separate kick
you can just get 3 cabinet sides onto the 8' length of a sheet of
plywood. if the kicks are integral you only get 2 with a lot left
too, with modern materials, mdf core sheet goods and the like, a
cabinet can get pretty heavy. anything to make it a little lighter and
easier to manuver through a doorway is a good thing as far as I'm
they're fine. they also give more options for the use of the space
beneath the cabinet. it's a lot easier to snake a wire or service a
water line if you don't have to remove the cabinet....
That depends upon width and style.
For example: With a traditional face frame 27" X 24" X 34 1/2" cabinet
(fairly standard, drawer size kitchen base cabinet), I get 4 end panels with
(toe kick built-in) out of 1 4x8 sheet of plywood.
read my post again. the 3 parts fitting in the 8' dimension addresses
the vertical dimension only. if the cut *width* of the panel used for
the cabinet side is 24 or less and the kicks are 3-1/2" or more high
and not integral and the finish height of the counter is not more than
36" you'll get *6* sides from a full sheet.
You read your post again. It is a blanket statement, stating a finite number
of cabinet sides, with and without built-in toe kicks, that was not
I said it "depends", gave you an example ..and you now apparently agree.
I know what you said ... but you stated it solely in the context of "another
consideration is efficiency of materials."
Which was the thrust of your post ,and apparently your reason for posting,
was it not?
I simply pointed out, with an example, that the difference in designing a
cabinet with or without a toe kick, does NOT necessarily have a "efficiency
of materials" component that is of any concern.
Without regard for grain direction, i.e. a painted cabinet, there can be
just as much (if not more in some instances) "efficiency of materials" with
a built-in toe kick, as without.
One would NOT get that impression from your original post ... sorry if you
took it as an attack.
This is the way I do it too. In my kitchen, I did something a little bit
different and used that black vinyl cove base instead of the usual 1x and
shoe. The effect was awesome and it went in a lot faster too. It trimmed out
the new floor perfectly and added a different highlight under the cabinets.
I have found it is easier and more efficient to make the carcase and
toe kick units separately, given the realities of making kitchen
cabinets with the resources of a hobby woodworker. The design is
basically as you describe, although I suggest milling the 2 x material
so it is truly straight and flat, or, alternatively, using plywood.
The more accurate the base, the easier and better the installation
will be. A 1/4 ply panel, scribed to the floor, gets tacked to the
front for finish.
I used these legs for a freestanding storage unit and was suprised by
how rugged they are. I can see where they would be very handy for
people who must install many cabinets quickly. Can't see the huge
advantage for a hobbyist doing their own work, though.
It really depends upon the circumstances at the site.
For a long run of base cabinets,the separate base is almost always a faster,
easier and truer install - providing you use straight stock for the base
and your cabinets are square (which they will be if you did them, but not
necessarily if someone else did ---- otherwise you end up shimming boxes
For stand-alone base cabinets, like maybe those found on either side of an
appliance in many installations, I will consider building the toe kick into
the cabinet, as it is often quicker and less work doing it in the shop than
building multiple bases on site.
In the strictly-my-observation-and-opinion category, a base cabinet with a
properly built-in toe kick will be substantially stronger, and less subject
to racking, than a box without, but it may a trade-off in time, both in
fabrication and installation.
For my last personal kitchen, I built-in the toe kicks on all the cabinets
... but it was new construction and an open ended installation. I also do
quite a few one-off base cabinets for a couple of local remodelers and
always build in the toe kick in those.
SWMBO really lit up on this one! She's a quilter and thinks this
is a wizard way to store her large cutting mat and templates -
which currently try to hide behind various pieces of furniture
and gather dust between uses. I think it's a great idea!
Mine is more concerned about material storage for quilting. I posted
a storage I made to one of the binaries groups recently, can send JPGs
to you if desired from one former Aramco-er to another. S.F.
1947-1950 when they moved to NY.
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