I'm actually not real new to woodworking - been at it for a while, but my
attention recently seems to have turned to kitchen/bath cabinetry. I have
read through a couple of books and John Paquay's paper as well.
Let me see if I can describe what I'm thinking.
I just finished 3 vanities. My methodology was to cut a 3/8 groove for the
floor of the cabinet. Then, during assembly, I simply measured between the
sides with the floor in, to get exact dimensions for stretchers front/back,
and toe kick/floor support front/rear, and the rails for installation. My
kicks are inside the sides, then I finish with matching 1/4 ply after
It occurred to me that cutting these additional pieces by measuring - well,
there has to be a better way. If I've got the setup on the saw anyway, for
the groove for the floor, why not go ahead and cut the same across the top
(actually seen this before). Then I can cut my front/rear stretchers at the
same time as the floor, and I KNOW they are right on. That part makes sense.
But how can I use this same concept to do the kick (and rear floor support)
? If I had the same groove there, once again I could cut same time as the
floor and be right on. I don't see a way really. Same with the rails in the
back - that then presents a challenge for installing the back.
Am I just running into the same challenges all cabinet builders have been
through ? How do you guys that have been doing this for a long time or in
production do it ?
I'm finding it hard to visualize your problem. Can you boil the
question down to one or two sentences? There are many, many different
way to build cabinets or to organize your assembly line. No one way
will be best except the way that works for you with whatever you
decide the criteria is. Good luck to you and be safe!
Are you doing traditional face frame or Euro style cabs?
If face frame, go back and re-read John Paquay's booklet ... IMO, and
although his is based on "production" techniques, he deals with the issue in
a very traditional and time honored way, one which guarantees the strongest
possible cabinet, upper or lower.
I learned a very similar method to John's when working for an old time
cabinet maker in England some 40 years ago and have made literally hundreds
of cabinets this way since.
It there's a better way to make a traditional kitchen/bath cabinet, either a
production run or one-off, that is both strong and SQUARE, I've yet to see
And "square" is the name of the game when time is money.
I use it because, along with the fact that I take a good deal of pride in my
finished work, the quicker I can get to the finished product without
sacrificing quality, the better ... aka, time is money. :)
This method allows me to quickly and efficiently _batch cut_ the parts,
insuring uniformity across many boxes, and the assemble "strong and square"
cabinets from the batch cut parts.
With the traditional face frame style, by paying particular attention to
carefully building properly squared face frames _first_, then using the face
frame as the base to assemble the cabinets on, you are guaranteed a strong,
square cabinet box.
"Strength" is its on justification ... "Square" can only really be
appreciated by those who have to install multiple cabinets, all with cabinet
doors and drawers, quickly, easily and efficiently.
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