Since you appear to be interested in retrofitting new drawers into
existing cabinetry, just a couple of things to be aware of that can
often makes that retrofitting an existing cabinetry job with new drawers
and modern ball bearing slides a bit easier:
Using the jig referenced in a post above for the practice of
per-mounting slides to a "spacer" for installation:
Referencing the bottom of a drawer slide to the bottom of the "spacer"
is fine when you are doing custom furniture. IOW, when the cabinet sides
are more likely to be perfectly flat, parallel and with no irregularities.
However, in the real world of retrofitting existing cabinetry with
modern drawer slides, cabinet sides are rarely flat and/or parallel to
Having a space both above and below the drawer slide to nail/screw the
slide/spacer assembly to the cabinet sides will help with a stable
installation in a real world installation by making it easier to tweak
slide/spacer assembly up or down, front to back and side-to-side
(parallel) to each other.
(Keep in mind the goal is not necessarily a "level" drawer installation,
but one that is perpendicular to the front edge of your cabinet or face
IOW, you want your drawer front(s) to close flush with the face frame on
all sides; or in the Euro and/or inset installation, flush with the
front edge of the cabinetry).
Initially, I usually mount both slide/spacer assemblies (made with jig)
by shooting two brads/finish nails into each drawer slide spacer, one at
the front top, and one at the back bottom of the spacer.
(make sure your brads nails don't go completely through the cabinet sides!)
I then slide the drawer in and check for fit, remove the drawer
carefully and tap the assemblies with a dead blow hammer and/or shim as
necessary to get the desired fit ... the idea is that the brads/nails
hold the assemblies in place, but allow some movement, until you can do
the final fastening.
This method can often help in solving one of the most common problems
when installing modern drawer slides in existing cabinetry:
The fact that the opposing cabinet sides in old installations are rarely
parallel. This can result in a binding/less than smooth operation of the
If done with the correct finish nail or brad, the act of pushing
(sometimes with force) the drawer in initially in a non-parallel
situation, will often cause one or both of the spacers to move slightly
away from a cabinet side and into a parallel relationship. When you
carefully remove the drawer the first time, you can shim any of those
obvious spots with all guess work as to spacer dimensions removed.
When tweaking and shimming is finished, and the drawer fits to your
satisfaction, screw/nail down permanently.
All the above notwithstanding, some older cabinet are so poorly built
and/or out of square that another solution may take a lot less time.
In that case I often take the time to do this:
Doing this in the shop, where you can insure perfect drawer slide
operation both before and after installation (the entire fixed assembly
then shimmed as needed upon installation) is occasionally the only way
to insure first class operation of many of the fancier drawer slides
available today when installing in existing cabinetry.
Again, the above really comes into play when dealing with old cabinet
installations, and are usually not necessary when dealing with new,
custom made cabinets by an experienced cabinet/furniture make like Leon.
Actually I was just looking at the way Leon did things and seeing the
future potential for the cabinets he built that were already designed
to begin with the way he does it. Like someone wanting a change order
on a cabinet or two.
I can see disasters trying to do that with pre-existing cabinets
unless they just happened to qualify. (Like you say below)
Believe me when I say none of this is lost on me. And I suspect many
others will appreciate what you wrote as well.
Looking at your jig reminds me of the saying, "Those that can, do, and
those that cannot teach." Obviously you jig is built of experience
one that the home project person with a certain skill level sure can
make use of. A few months ago I might have used that to improve a
couple cabinets so as to be able to reach what is stored in back of
the shelves, fact is my wife say some prebuilt drawers for sale at
Costco, called me, and while it seemed good until she brought them
home and I found they were way too short, rendering them useless. So
she took them back. Meanwhile we started up grading the kitchen
appliances which required the removal of a couple cabinets as well as
a couple wall cabinets. In looking at them I found they were in such
sad shape that it basically requires a whole new kitchen cabinet
setup. Wall cabinets coming loose from the ceiling, doors have to be
forced shut, and in the lower cabinets the shelves warped (particle
board) and the floor panels that were particle board in some areas
were deteriorated due to a couple leaking dishwashers over the years.
Then looking at the dead space in the corners 2x2 each and not
accessible I said hey, why not? First I called out a so-called kitchen
designer, who asked what I wanted in a kitchen, but had no idea's of
their own for a total remod. Ends up they were basically interested in
replacing the cabinet doors and painting the FF's. Most of what he had
to show was stamped out MDF doors with a style that resembled real
wood arched with raised face panels. Even a half blind person could
see they were crap, like paint on a street woman. and then He said
minimum of 3,000 dollars. For that kind of money I could go out to a
contractors warehouse, bought a full set of cabinets, with doors and
done a R&R and thrown some white paint on them (wife insists) and
saved money. (my own labor)
Long story short, I am redesigning the kitchen, doing far more than
originally planned and on paper, it is looking mighty good. Even so,
we are going to sell, hopefully, in a couple years and get out of
The help and the info I've received here has helped incredibly and I
am sure has prevented my from making more mistakes then I otherwise
I totally agree, even with my limited knowledge in this area.
I noticed in your "resume'" that you were fortunate enough to work
with wood workers in England or Europe, with a family from a long line
of carpenters. I know from having read and studied a bit about wood
working in England the respect a Master Craftsmen earns, plus I read
about furniture making and so on in my spare time when I was in High
School in the middle of the last century, grin. I am only saying this
so as to ask you this, if it is possible could you recount some of
your experiences while you lived and worked there. I am sure there are
some good stories in your memories and it is a sure thing that I'll
never be able to do as you did, but I would find them interesting on
many levels, and I'd bet that others would as well.
I know work may prevent it, or other things, but I just had to ask.
Thanks, no matter how it turns out.
In Sketchup, go to File|3D Warehouse|Get Model, and you can find all
kinds of cabinet models to help you populate your particular space.
Try to find the ones that are truly "dynamic", IOW, which can be
resized/scaled to fill a certain area, often in both height and width.
Or go here with a web browser and search around:
They should all download into a folder, or if in SketchUp, directly into
your model that is open.
Back six or seven years ago, before SU use was as widespread as it is
today, I had to program my own DC (Dynamic Component) face frames,
doors, wall and base cabinets, in both Traditional and Euro style, which
I still use today for designing kitchens and baths.
Most of what you will find on the 3D Warehouse are much more
sophisticated than my old ones, with many more options, but you may not
get the level of detail that will help with fabrication of the
components that make up the cabinets.
Nonetheless, give it a try ... it will quickly leverage your actual
benefit of using SketchUp as you learn.
Wood Shop: www.e-WoodShop.net
KarlCaillouet@ (the obvious)
Thanks for the link, I checked it out, and found that the dynamic
feature is only for the pro version. :( I had seen a little about this
feature and it was on my bucket list of thinks to check out. A very
nice feature, makes a lot of things reusable.
I finally got my pieces to link up and a beautiful sight to see when
an end panel with Dado's and Grooves link up to its associated pieces.
I have already found some issues regarding my new cabinet designs in
my head, rather correct them in Sketchup than with real wood products.
I am glad that you and Leon stressed using the program, Thank you.
Oh, I didn't realize that. Right now I am in the 30 day tryout period
of the pro. Wondering what kind of a hit I will take when that part of
the program stops. I've seen the actions of "follow me" when moldings
around a piece of furniture, HOT!
IIRC when the trial period ends the only thing you loose is the ability
to construct dynamic components, most of the solid object modification
tools, Style Builder, and Layout.
Of all of those the dynamic components is probably the biggest hit you
will notice. None of the others are really necessary for typical
I am a shortcut freak. I despise having to click on icons for every
frequently used operation. You can assign just about any command a
shortcut. If you open up the top menus the drop down windows show
commands that you can either click or you can use the short cut key that
is shown and assigned to the command.
If that sort of thing interests you there is a window for setting up the
short cut key strokes.
AND some of the commands do not appear in that window UNLESS........
you have actually selected a line or component in the drawing.
For instance the right click "flip along" command is very helpful for
giving you a mirror image of something that you have copied and placed
in another spot in the drawing. The Flip Along commands no not appear
in the short cut window if you do not have something selected in the
drawing. Clear as mud? LOL
Just something else to think about as you progress with the program.
Yes, I have run across that too, even your ability to do certain
things is not there unless you are facing in the right direction,
sometimes I just use the correct plane.
Actually I have been using the flip commands, if I design an end panel
I can copy it with the appropriate flips, or slide the copy of the
bare end panel and flip, then whatever I do to the one panel will
appear on the other side, inside where it should be. But not useful to
duplicate on all cabinets with a different purpose at the other end.
This weekend I will probably be spending my time in the shop as it is
warming up, supposedly, and practice on dovetails, and some other
joints and also check out my new Dado set.
Unless you have some programming chops, and have a direct need for
rolling your own "Dynamic Components", you won't notice anything that
will impact your use of SU Make for woodworking at all.
I'm pretty sure Leon has always used the free version since day 1.
As previously noted, you can download, and use, many Dynamic Components
(cabinets, fences, stairs, etc) on the 3D Warehouse straight to your
model in the free version.
I personally would miss the "Solid Object" tools, available only in SU
Pro, but only because I've experienced them by having the Pro version
for a number of years.
Never missed them before I upgraded to SU Pro because there are many
different ways to skin any particular cat in SU, including thousands of
The "Plug-ins" and extensions (there is an Extension Warehouse under you
WINDOW menu also) are another world of utilitarian tools you need to
check into, most free, but some need to be purchased. There are also
third party sites dedicated solely to SU plug-ins. Google is your friend.
I build homes, and do a lot of kitchen and bath remodeling, therefore
the Pro version that comes with "Layout", was imperative for me to
generate industry standard, and formatted, construction documents for
permitting, bidding and building.
Either version is hard to beat for the price as a design tool, a
presentation tool to clients, as well as to design, build and fabricate
just about anything you can think of.
Wouldn't leave home, or go to the shop, without it ... literally. ;)
Yeah, I have a copy on my tablet/notebook with duplicate files from my
desktop in case I have a thought.
On Layout, is that the ability to layout the floor plan and walls, and
then put in the various cabinets and appliances to see a picture of
the final results of the cabinet designs?
Or so that I can redesign my garage layout for tool locations, etc?
I would miss those, and as my wife lacks visual imagination in certain
area, It would be hard to show her something without a picture of it.
I can only envision doing this as a business if the economy went
dramatically south and I needed a source of income. I have learned to
do things sparingly for friends. True friends, IYKWIM.
I've seen some of what it can do based on geographic location, I am
totally impressed. You can use that for tree placement around a bldg
with deciduous trees for energy management amongst other things.
IIRC it is used to filter out sections of the drawing that are not
pertinent to whom you might be giving a drawing to. And IIRC it lets
you set that part of drawing to scale.
I think you can do what you mentioned above with the free version. You
can simply put different elements on different layers.
I did that with the free version. I in fact have a complete model of my
home drawn up with all my pieces that I have built in the model and the
shop items too.
One thing I have not mentioned is that in our home I place the furniture
drawing/model in to the model of our home to see what is going to look
like in place. I built a large cabinet/pantry 4 years ago, 8'x8', and
was going to stain it a very dark color to match our kitchen cabinets.
In the model of the house it looked like a black hole. I ended up
toning back a lot of the dark and going two tone with the finish.
I will to this for the customer too, but just the room that the piece
that I am going to build.
And a shot of our home with populated with pieces you may have seen already.
Layout allows you to generate, from your model, a set of professional
construction plans (dimension, scale, annotate, and print, etc) and
views suitable for permitting, bidding and building, just as an
architect or engineer would do.
Ya don't need Layout to do that, just use your Sketchup... :)
I like very much, do you have too many drawers? ;)
I D/L's the drawing so now I can walk around your shop from here? And
I would probably kill the comment about where your Festools are
stored, even tho you have a great view of the shop. Were all your
upper cabinets Euro styled? It seems hard to believe you built so much
out of the Plywood you picked up. I like the idea of covering up the
work stations not in use to keep the dust out. Why I never considered
that is beyond me. So I put a dust extractor fan in, Rikon.
All in all, it looks very nice.
That said.... Now Sonny, he has a real man cave. Stuff stashed for
centuries <splorf> all that history around him, probably something
only an outside visitor would love to see.
ROTFLOL, I doubt it, but that domino tool the way Leon used it makes
be want to look and see what it costs. ;)
BAH Humbug, I just had to go look, but hey! They give you free
Think I'll do fine without it and with what I have, plus if I get
hungry I can eat biscuits which is better than playing a game of
LOL, Don't you have a spare thousand dollars for that tool???
AND you need to run a shop vac with that tool to insure that the chips
are cleared out of the mortise. The Festool brand vacs are right on up
there also BUT IMHO worth every penny. They are exceptionally quiet.
You seldom hear them running when using another power tool, even sanders.
You really need to be doing volume to justify the expense, I have had my
Domino since early 2008 IIRC and I have averaged about 1500 mortises for
each year that I have had it so it has paid me back in spades owning one.
They would have had to do an excellent job of bafflling air flow,
without introducing a restriction. I have one that you have to wear
ear protectors or you cannot hear anything, I have another that is a
lot quieter with similar CFM. I put it in the garage attic space
running a hose to the Oneida dust separator and its intake at the
center of my garage. One hose that can reach anything and hook up to
my equipment and also clean the floor with it. No more yelling to be
heard, and like you say with yours, mine is quite, but mine has
plywood separating it from the garage. (w/remote control)
That would be my reason for owning one. That does speak to the
durability of the tool.
That said, I still would like to get a decent mortiser or make one of
those Woodsmith Mag homebuilt ones using a router. Either way it would
be a shop use tool only.
The tool literally looks like it did when I bought it. And contrary to
what some have indicated, the 5mm bit, I have 4 sizes, has not been
replaced or resharpened. That in itself is amazing considering that
this bit alone has cut over 7,000 mortises.
Yes I eat, breath, and sleep Festool products, guilty. But I have not
seen any brand that holds up like this one does. I have a couple of
Festool sanders, a drill, and track saw, also
This will blow your mind. LOL I'm still not sure Swingman believes me.
I built a small entertainment center of a customer in November. I
sanded all joints and the glue squeeze out with a 120 grit Festool brand
Granat sand paper. I also removed the initial finish on the cabinet top
that I was not happy with. Removing the finish alone is tough on sand
Now I am working on the night stands and did the same, sanded all joints
and glue squeeze out and in fact this morning sanded the FF
stain and first coat of varnish off.
This was all done on both projects with a "single" piece of 120 grit
Granat sand paper on the Festool Rotex sander.
I have had a Delta mortiser for about 18 years. I have used it about 10
times, maybe. They are cool but I have not touched it since getting the
Domino. Essentially the Domino is operated and very much like a Plate
Joiner, AKA Biscuit cutter, except much much more accurate.
I have been interest in woodworking since I was 10 and have only really
been selling my work since retiring at 40.
IMHO the Domino enabled me to step up my game significantly and IMHO
several times more useful than a mortiser and shockingly faster than a
mortiser. With the Domino you do not have to cut a tenon for the mating
part. Anyway........ ;~)
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.