I'm strongly considering making my own kitchen cabinets.
Does anyone have an online or a good book reference that supplies the
drawings and joinery details? I'd like to make raised panel doors.
This whole idea is a step up in challenge for me. My shop has the
basic staples (table saw, radial arm, jointer, band saw, drill press,
and hand tools) and I'll be either making or getting a decent router
table for the job.
If you want to build face frame cabinets you might try your local
library. I did that and ended up buying "How to Build Cabinets for the
Modern Kitchen" (although it's probably out of print by now).
If you're interested in building euro-style cabinets, send for Lee
Valley's free instruction booklet that tells how to use their jig.
Whether you use their jig or not, it amounts to a complete how-to for
that type cabinet.
The "Complete Kitchen Cabinetmaker", by Bob Lang is my personal favorite.
He does a nice job explaining face frame, frameless, and hybrid styles,
and how not to make your cabinets like an amateur. I enjoy his writing
style, so I may be biased.
On Sun, 30 Nov 2008 08:13:17 -0800 (PST), KIMOSABE
I did this many years ago. Turned out great, but took way longer than
I care to admit as it was a busy time in life and I had only a few
hours in the evenings during the week and some time on weekends.
Counting demo, replumbing, rewiring, moving walls, new rock, etc, etc,
it went on for years. Fortunately, SWMBO was/is very patient.
There are several reasonable books along the lines of "building your
own kitchen cabinets". Check them out on Amazon and pick one that is
most like the style and type of construction you plan to use.
Designing the layout is probably more important than particular
cabinet construction or style. Fortunately, there is plenty of good
kitchen design advice out there. One thing I did that worked really
well was to have very few traditional base cabinets. Mostly I put
drawers everywhere, with many big, deep, wide drawers with heavy duty
full extension slides. They were wonderful for storing pots, pans,
and even small appliances. Doing it over today I wouldn't have a
single base cabinet without drawers or at least rollouts.
I would say the toughest part for me was finishing a roomful of
cabinets without spray equipment. I used oil based poly for the
toughness, and finishing was the most grueling part of the whole job.
I had to do it in the garage in all kinds of weather and it stopped
being fun on the first cabinet.
I guess the saddest part was selling the house and moving a year or
two after finishing the kitchen. Good news was the kitchen sold the
Sounds like my experiences, took way longer then expected. That was my
intro to woodworking, demo and rebuild a kitchen. We were up to 9500 bucks
on prebuilt (PB) cabinets, plus knobs and pulls, and still saw too much MDF
Bought 2 books and got to work. Almost bottom-of-the-line tools (replaced)
were bought, 20 mo. later wife was VERY pleased. Gotta keep mama happy.
Still saved money, (tools, appl. cabinets cost less then PB cabinets)
Hell, the pulls, knobs and hinges were over a grand.
We have better then any PB I've seen. Rain glass in the doors. Not
available in PB cabinets.
Go for it. Yes, if I did it again, I'd do thing a little different, but
over all, it worked out great.
Good! Properly planned and executed, it is a doable, rewarding and
While you are gathering information, my first suggestion would be to
download a free version of Google SketchUp, familiarize yourself with the
program for a few hours, and in "plan" view, layout your kitchen wall area
with the actual dimensions.
When you have good floor plan, complete with windows and other architectural
elements, then visit the SU "3d warehouse".
In the "3d warehouse" search box type in the phrase "dc cabinets" ... that
will take you to a 3d collection of basic kitchen wall and base cabinets
that you can download individually to your kitchen floor plan.
These particular models are "dynamic components", and as such they can be
re-sized in the industry standard 3" increments, which will allow you to
populate your kitchen easily without having a lot of gaps requiring spacers.
Note: they do not have to be in the final "style" you want, but the ability
to just use a representation of the actual cabinet sizes will allow you,
using SU, to walk through the kitchen in 3d and give you an excellent idea
of what your plan is going to look like in the real world.
As in the first sentence above, "planning" for the space itself is the
first, most important step, in designing/building a kitchen and is a step
which can be worked on now and refined as you go along when deciding what
type of cabinets you want and the method you will use to build them.
There are a plethora of kitchen cabinet "methods" and proponents of each, so
you will get lots of input.
On that note, you may want to rely for your best advice on those who have
firsthand experience and can actually show you examples of what they have
I have built a number of kitchen in new homes and am working on the design
stage of one as we speak. If you will provide a real e-mail address, can
receive files of +/- 2mb, and have Google SketchUp, version 7, installed,
let me know and I can e-mail you an SU file of a current kitchen project in
progress, one which will be used to build the actual kitchen, so that you
can get an idea of what this tool can do for the "planning stage" of your
Good luck, and let us know if you have any questions ...
I built a kitchen from scratch in the lower level of my last home, an
1860s era townhouse in Baltimore. The first floor kitchen was about
6x9, but it gave me the luxury of taking my time on the new kitchen. I
told SWHBO that this would be a four month project. I was only off by
about 10 months.
I did face frame construction (first time for me). My principal tool
was a Shopsmith. My best tool was a Kreg pocket hole maker. I used
pocket hole joinery for the face frames, doors and drawers. I was
planning on mortise and tenon for the doors and dovetails for the
drawers, but had I done so I still would have been working on this
project. The doors were simple craftsman style floating panels.
I picked up a book on basic cabinet construction at WW Warehouse and
that was helpful.
I built a center island with large pull out shelves. Counter tops were
tiled with 4 inch quarry tiles.
All in all, this was a great learning experience for me. The guys on
this newsgroup were very helpful (thanks, again). We sold the house
about a year later and that kitchen helped me get my asking price.
Some thoughts on space utilization in a kitchen.
Cupboards under a counter top create a lot of less than easy access
Consider either of the following:
1) Drawers /w/ individual fronts.
2) Cupboard door front to cover a group of roll out drawers.
3) If you are going to have a pantry, consider using wire basket
technology for storing vegetables (Keep potatoes and onions separate).
I have a few comments...
1. Get a router you can use by hand as well as in a router table. It is
often easier - and more accurate - to use it hand held (with a clamped on
guide) rather than on a table.
2. You will be building boxes regardless of whether you make "European" or
face frame cabinets. Remember that the length of tops and bottoms establish
the width, length of sides establish height, width of all establish depth.
After ripping your goods to desired width...
CUT ALL PIECES WITH THE SAME DIMENSION AT THE SAME TIME.
Not only that, join them in the same way...what you do to one, do to its
3. It makes life just world's easier if the case material is pre-finished.
4. Have plenty of pipe clamps
5. Raised panel doors are easy enough when you have a router table and bit.
The hard part for you will be the panels. Not making them, flattening them
after gluing up. Best bet is to haul them to a millwork shop aqnd pay to
have them done on theot wide belt or drum sander.
6. Someone mentioned drawer dividers. Amen! Easy way to make them is to
use table saw at 45 degrees to cut shallow "V" slots across drawer sides.
After assembly use 1/4" stock or ply for dividers and cut/sand ends to a
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