I have progressrd to the point that the night stands carcases are
assembled. I am putting in drawers on full extension soft close slides
and they will be inset. I added a couple of rails between the drawers
on each cabinet front and back. The rails have two functions. Number
one function is to close the gap between the drawers and the secondary
function during assembly is to properly and quickly provide an index for
the slides and the slide spacers to sit on.
The process of spacing the rails.
The back fit of the back drawer rails.
And the first use of screws on the project. You see one at the end of
each rail screwed into the back or front face frame.
And here you see my set up for attaching the top cross bracing that will
help support the heavy marble tops. This set up insured that the
supports remained even at the top of the cabinet and evenly spaced.
Here you will notice the slide spacers sitting on top of the drawer
divider rails. The spacers insure that the slides are flush with the
inside edge of the face frame stiles. They will be screwed in place
into the side's front, back, and center stiles. I used the actual
plywood for those spacers to determine where to cut the grooves in the
FF stiles. The distance between the groove to receive the cabinet sides
and the inside of the FF stile need to exactly match the spacer.
Thoughts or questions?
Thank you for the opportunity to ask questions and or comments. I
spent a lot of time with your photo's and work, and rereading your
comments, gathering insight and your experience showing in your work.
I noticed about how important it was to use a block of wood when
clamping to protect the final product.
I noticed the narrowness of the rail plus the joint to the FF plus the
use of a screw. Did you also glue the rail joint? and are you using
under the drawer or bottom slides? I see in the following pictures an
interior rail as if side bottom edge slides were to be used.
Either way, that side support which runs to the back rail looks like a
very nice adaption that allows Euro drawer slide construction without
the complicated hassle I have seen in other carcasses. It looks like
in any event you made it all to be in perfect alignment without the
use of jigs like are shown at Rocklers.
Just in case it is missed in my question above, did you also glue the
In this picture I noticed a few things. It looks like you used a screw
to hold the support runners for the marble tops, while clamping it all
together, this locking it all in place and perfectly aligned with the
top of the FF. I have a question here. I can see the inherent strength
of the runners if it is also glued, but my local stone guy suggested
to me when I installed new bathroom cabinets to use a layer of 3/4"
good plywood, leveled, to install their slab of stone for the
bathroom. Is there any inherent advantage to either?
This one caught by eye and made me think of the entire framework.
When you said the grooves were cut in the stiles to match and I
correct in assuming that you did not do this per plan, but by actually
measuring the thickness of the plywood and let that be the determining
factor for the cutting of the grooves?
I also took the liberty of magnifying the photo,...
to look at the grooves and noticed on the bottom sides there were
none. That only the rails had grooves. Is this because it is for
nightstands and they do not have the loads that Kitchen Cabinets do,
or are you going to put in support blocks there later on?
Nice work, and I noticed that the inside edges of the FF were stained
ahead of time. Is there a particular reason?
Thank you again for any of your comments, and for all of your
pictures, allowing us to see your craftsmanship, and Karl's as well.
What a gold mine on info!
Well yes, it is important to protect the wood surface from hard surfaced
clamps. However if you are referencing the above picture link the piece
of wood you see is an exact length spacer for spacing the drawer divider
rails. There is one on each side and I started at the bottom. AAMOF
the spacer also fits perfectly between the top drawer divider rail and
the FF top rail, exactly 7.25"
I typically use either Bessey Revo K-Body clamps or Cabinetmaster
clamps. Both brands do not mar the wood so no caul/cushion is needed.
I also have a few Jet K-body style clamps that I still need to adapt,
they unfortunately will leave an impression with out a cushion.
I did not glue the divider rail to the FF stiles, just the one screw on
each end. I am using GSlide full extension soft close slides. They are
side mount and require 1" total allowance, the drawer must be 1"
narrower than the opening.
Yes, that was all part of the plan. ;~) The drawer divider rails
normally only fill a gap. I also use them, during assembly, to provide
a solid index location to mount the slide spacers and slides. I mount
the slides to the spacers on my work surface and then attach that
assembly in place sitting on top of the drawer divider rails. That
approach is much easier than mounting the slides after the divider rails
Here is a view of the slides and spacers after installation. Again,
just screws and no glue. Once the slides and spacers are mounted with
screws into the side's front, back, and middle stiles the weight is no
longer supported by the drawer divider rails. The drawer divider rails
now just fill a gap.
Notice also the bottom rail/spacer assembly. I placed blue 1/4" shims
under the spacer so that the slide would clear the 1/4" lip on the FF at
the bottom. After attaching I removed the spacers.
I could have simply mounted the bottom slide 1/4" from the bottom of the
spacer and let the spacer index off of the bottom of the cabinet. But
then I would have had to change my technique when mounting the slides to
Nope, just the one screw. The screw only has to hold the spacer in
place, there is no load. Additionally on the back side I will put a few
screws, while attaching the 1/4" plywood back, into the back drawer
spacer rails also. I can actually pick the cabinets up by lifting at
the drawer divider rails so there is not issue with strength in that
Gluing would probably not hurt at all however the supports will not be
carrying all of the weight. The marble slabs over hang the front and
back FF top rails. and on one cabinet the slabs will also overhang the
cabinet sides. The slabs are approximately 24" square. I'm working
with odd and different sized "left over" pieces of marble. That is what
the customer wanted... so I improvised.
I think on kitchen and bathroom cabinets it is a good idea to lay a
piece of plywood under the stone slab. Installers never know exactly
what they will run into. Typically cabinets are made out of 5/8" thick
melamine panels. With the exception of the front face frames the
carcass is made up of particle board covered with a thin paper like
veneer. That material hardly supports its own weight much less a large
hunk of heavy stone. The plywood on top of the cabinet helps to
distribute the weight to the entire cabinet and also supports the stone
when the inevitable happens, some climbs up on top of the counter to
change a light bulb. In my case the marble is much smaller and
therefore much less likely to break because of lack of support.
That is correct. The plan however did call for that measurement to be
3/4" between the FF opening and the groove in the stile to receive the
side panels. This is where you deviate from the from the plan drawing
to compensate for unpredictable plywood thickness. I placed the sample
piece of plywood between the dado set and the fence to set the fence
In that picture the cabinet was a dry fit. The sides bottom rail
grooves were not complete to meet the grooves on the FF bottom rails.
The bottom panels eventually had a continuous groove/dado for the bottom
panel to fit in to.
The front and back FF's were complete and therefore the groove/dado was
All groves are cut before I assemble the side panels and or FF's. This
results in the stiles of each not having a short horizontal dado at the
bottom of the stiles to match the grooves in the bottom rails.
Is that what you were wondering?
Anyway I was presented with the knowledge to develop a simple jig that
allows me to complete the groove/dado accurately and quickly using a
short top bearing flush trim bit in my trim router.
Staining. I don't love it but I tolerate it if I can make it simple.
Inside corners are always a bear. Typically you have to glob a bunch of
stain into the corners to cover the wood and typically you do not get it
all out and the corners end up being darker. By prestaining/varnishing
certain parts this situation is avoided. and that actually speeds the
I try to prestain when ever there are going to be inside corners with
the exception of face frames where the rails and stiles meet. Those
inside corners are typically not as difficult to get to and are normally
hidden by a drawer or door. Staining is much easier when you are only
working with a single flat surface.
Notice in this picture that I masked off the rails and stiles, where
they meet, for the side panels. I also prestained the panels.
Thank you for taking the time to look, and so closely!
Merci'! Leon, That tip is worth its weight in gold, and if sent to a
mag for a tip I am sure it would win top prize for the month. I was
contemplating how I would do some of the drawers I was going to build,
and you solved every problem I can think of, including but not limited
to saving all the trying to fit in the cabinets to mount the slides
and align them, and then drill the holes and install the screws.
Especially for older guys. It boggle's the mind, at least mine and
done right the 1/16" alignment should be a no brainer as well.
That's an amazing, even if simple, solution. How many people would
slap themselves up side the head thinking "why didn't I think of
I think it can revolutionize the industry look at the brackets it does
away with. Well....enough emoting, but that is really cool!
Hmm, never gave it a thought about climbing on the countertop, but I
can see my wife doing it when I am not looking. Now she is light, but
I sure can see where the damage can come in.
The paragraph above ^^^ was what I was wondering, and you answered my
Yes, I did notice that as well as saw the tape. :)
Thanks again, Leon. Really, got a lot more than I was expecting on
I suspect that idea has been used before although I don't recall reading
about it anywhere. I did submit a tip several years ago to WoodSmith
and got a $50 check. It was really simple but helpful for precisely
relocating a rip fence in the event you had to move it during a batch
cutting session. This is particularity helpful when cutting dado's and
the scale on the fence is not on a specific mark.
And one other thing. The prefab cabinets are notorious for not being
assembled well, specifically where the FF top stiles meet with the
sides. There is often a difference in the height where they come
together. I try hard to insure that the tops of the front, back, and
sides share the same plane. If the FF is taller than the sides the
stone top will simply rest on the FF and the back edge of the cabinet.
Plywood will to the same but will add support to the stone.
When I cut sides and or their stiles and the stiles for the front and
back FF's I do that all at the same time to insure all are exactly the
same length. The fly in the ointment is insuring that the top rails are
even with the tops of the stiles. While on paper that sounds simple
enough when you are gluing and clamping that can often not work out as
wanted. I have a method to insure that the top rails, and bottom rails,
are precisely aligned with the ends of the stiles.
I used to run all assemblies through the TS to true up the tops and
bottoms but that was extra steps and the pieces ended up be slightly
You are welcome. It is nice that the details are noticed. This method
of assembly, front and back face frames, has worked out well for me. I
started using this method when I build our kitchen pantry cabinets 4
years ago. These night stands are the 38th and 40th pieces that have
that method of assembly. About 16 pieces are in our newish home, the
rest have been sold to my customers. You learn a few short cuts and
tricks when building this many pieces this way. I was able to figure
out the solutions to the difficult processes using Sketchup.
Well, to me there seems an appreciable amount of installation time
saved, and being as the rails were just screwed they and the slide
rails could be adjusted up or down easily if the customer changed
their minds, or the wife in my case? It, if thought out before, as you
did, would eliminate most of the alignment time and frustrations for
the homeowner wood worker. It eliminates having to have rear brackets
and their problems. Plus, when you put them in to sit and then you
don't have to worry about clamps,etc. Just screw then down tight. When
there are double sets of drawers just install a Stile in a groove like
a "T" for both front and back and a whole section of plywood as a
separator is not needed.
In any event I will be making use of it with gratitude.
I have been using a corner clamps like these
Mainly from getting caught up in the Kreg craze, then seeing
everything knocked out of alignment when you drilled in the screws. I
had a couple work around's but these guaranteed square cabinets for
me. Or anything that needed to be square.
I was thinking something like this might be handy,...
Instead of using a stick temporarily screwed to the top of an end
panel, and possibly splitting the wood on the end panels.
When I get to that point I will probably use my corner clamps when
gluing up. However, when I get to that point, I'll have a much clearer
picture. Since the Groove/dados from the FF to the end panels must
match perfectly I would think.
I'm still beating my head against the wall with Sketchup v 16, seems
way more stable then previous versions, But I have as yet to find a
way to take two or more components and stick them together, as in snap
to with auto sketch. I wish I had a scaled graph paper layout layer to
draw on with snap to on those lines as well.
Yes if I misunderstood, the issue with making the components stick
together "After" placement together, select both or all that you want to
relocate, right click, and select Make Group or Make Component.
It was a poor explanation on my part.
I would draw two components and then try to "hook them together", Like
a cabinet side and bottom shelf. but I could never get them to align
up. Edge to edge.
Or a cabinet end with a dado and a shelf with a tongue, it was a lost
cause getting them together.
I found a video that showed some of the commands which I think might
resolve it, but I haven't tried it yet.
Which also brings up a sore point with me, RANT,...
I hate the guys that steal videos made by others, give them no credit
and provide no links where the author of the video says things like go
to me web site and download free molding designs to use in your
drawings. Especially when people in their notes/replies ask about them
and the person who grouped all the helpful videos from different
sources just ignores the questions. If it were up to me I would take
away their computers and give them solitary confinement for five years
and make them watch intriguing movies with all the ends snipped off.
OK. You really did look close and forward. LOL. I guess I have been
building so many cabinets this way that it has become second nature to
do it this way. AND YES, the drawer divider rails can be easily moved
or removed so that the cabinet can have more or less drawers in the
future and or simply replaced with door. This method even works for
simply no drawers or doors, for book shelves. Although with doors or no
doors you do have to pay more attention to the finishing of the insides.
I only put one coat of varnish on the inside when there are strictly
This is what I was talking about concerning the rails outer edges
matching up perfectly with the stile ends.
The small clamps securely hold a long strait edge, that piece of oak, on
the outer edge of the top and bottom walnut rails. That straight edge
is also long enough to extend past the ends of the stiles.
Then when you add the long clamps top to bottom, It brings the rails
even with the ends of the stiles with out pushing them in to far past
the ends of the stiles.
Ok, when you hover over a component line end or mid point a small
inference box appears. Left Click, hold and drag that spot while in
the "move" mode to the same small inference box on the other component
line. The inference point on the other component will appear as you get
close to it. They should snap together, release your left click button.
If you want to attach at a different spot on the component simply move
by dragging in the direction that you want to go and type in the
distance and enter. You can use the "tape measure tool" to set up snap
to locations/intersections also. Where the measure tool dashed line
goes across a line becomes an inference snap to point.
Also if you want to snap specific distances go into Menu Window, Model
Info, click on Units in the left column, and enable length snapping and
or angle snapping. You can also set your precision there.
Just keep at it, you will eventually learn the the program is perfect
for wood workers.
I would try to learn the basics on simple drawings until you understand
how this all works in Sketchup.
If you have any other questions feel free to ask.
Also if you would like I could send you a Sketchup drawing of the night
stands to play around with.
If the offer is still open, Yes, I would love to see what you did. I
finally started getting my drawings to link up, so that the shelves
fit into the dado's and so on. In some ways it is easier than Auto
Cad, and more productive from what I have seen with the training vids.
Is your email addy a workable one. If so I can send you my email
address. I'd love to see what is done by someone at your skill level.
It seems once you "get it" Sketchup is simple to use. It took me a few
times to "get it". ;~)
If you give me an e-mail address to send the file to I send it.
Keep in mind that I often modify and dimensions might differ in
different parts of the drawing.
That's quite alright, just being able to see how someone in your
position does things is what is important to me, since you would more
than likely emphasize it.
Sort of like we would on HVAC and Control drawings.
You got mail!
Something else I will tell you about my drawing. You will notice
components are a few different colors. Those colors/materials are named
to suggest what type material I am using.
The brown is Oak Plywood. the Green is solid Oak wood, and the blue is
Baltic birch plywood.
I don't have a problem knowing what it what however it assures me that I
have properly assigned each component a particular type material.
I use an import program that copies all highlighted components into my
CutList Plus program and it imports the material assigned to each
component also. Color coding materials helps to insure that the
optimization cutting program, CutList Plus does not think that solid
wood components should be cut from a sheet of plywood, visa versa, or a
Just in case you were wondering. ;)
Leon, I really appreciated seeing that, and your color legend idea for
wood products. I had been thinking about that very same thing and you,
lol, gave me the solution before I even mentioned it.
I finally got things linking up, nice to see joints "hook up" I have
already found some problems with my cabinet designs, and it is so much
easier to correct them in the drawing than making the same mistake
with real wood. :)
To think, that this all started out with the idea of installing slide
out drawers for the pots n pans, and large under the counter
appliances, then advancing to full replacement due to upgraded
appliances and the knowledge that my cabinets were at the end of their
Thanks for your insistence on using Sketchup, it has turned into a
I had downloaded a cutlist program for version 16 but have not gotten
to the point where I need to set it up, yet. I hope to later this
Thanks again, and thank you for the link on drawer slides, those
prices are 2/3rds of the prices I see around here.
And just go a bird rather with that, when I send a drawing to a customer I
use wood grain materials instead of different colors.
Slippery slope. In 1989 my wife and I began discussing replacing cabinet
doors and drawers in our kitchen for a more fresh look to an 8 year old
I still had a real full time job and about 2 years later we ended up with
all new cabinets, a foot print twice as large, an additional pantry, new
appliances, Olympic sized kitchen sink, and new tile floor. 25 years later
that kitchen, which now belongs to our son, still looks better than the
The more you use it the more you will wonder how you did with out it. It
is as important as any tool in my shop.
And if you need a link to Blum Euro style hinges,,,,, I buy boxes of 50
at a time.. In particular a FF screw mounted Blum hinge with 1/2" over
lay. IIRC Blum calls it a Compact 35. The site that I buy from has sales
on multiples of 50. I just reordered and paid about $1.15 per hinge.
Considering that their regular price is around $1.75 each that is a
The problem you're struggling with is that you're working in three
dimensions, so 2D graph paper would do you no good.
The concept, and the built-in feature of SU to deal with it, is called
Here are some tips on using the new inference engine in Sketchup 2016:
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