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post #1 of 30 Old 12-30-2011, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
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Building kitchen cabinets

I have decided to build my own kitchen cabinets and have a few questions on the wood used for the doors and drawers. The boxes are going to be made from 3/4 oak plywood b2 grade and the face frames and door frames(shaker style) are going to be oak too. So my question's are what do I make the drawers from? All the cabinets I've have look at in the store look like different material then the outside. Do I use plywood for the bottoms and solid wood for the sides? What thickness for each? And regarding the door panels, are they just plywood or solid wood ? Do you use 1/2 in for those as well? Thanks
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post #2 of 30 Old 12-30-2011, 02:53 PM
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If I'm not mistaken, drawers are typically plywood on the bottom and sides, with a solid wood face to match the rest of the cabinets, which would be oak in your situation. You can of course do it from all solid wood, but that's more work and more cost. Would end up with some very nice cabinets though. As far as thickness goes, 1/2" should be fine. I believe that's what mine are. I didn't build them, but a pretty good carpenter did them.
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post #3 of 30 Old 12-30-2011, 03:01 PM
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I have done both solid wood drawer sides and plywood bottoms as well as plywood drawer sides and bottoms. I personally like the look of baltic birch drawers sides....but that's just me.......

I typically make my drawer sides 5/8 thick.......I just like the thicker look a little better especially when doing dovetails which I usually do on drawer sides. I also like the extra thickness because I can use a little bit longer screw when attaching drawer slides and I like the little extra bite.......
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post #4 of 30 Old 12-30-2011, 04:29 PM
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Hi.
All depends on what you like & your budget. If you like ply then 5/8" baltic birch ply is a good choice for drawer sides with a 1/4" bottom ply. I build half-blind dovetail drawers using 5/8" hard maple & 1/4" ply bottoms unless it is a large drawer then I will use 1/2 ply bottoms. If a plywood box they usually get a drawer lock joint instead of dovetail. That's for the drawer box. Then match the wood species of the doors & face frames for the drawer fronts. If it is an inset drawer the front drawer piece would be a matching species that replaces the front maple piece. So my box will have 3 hard maple on sides & back & a matching species front.

As far as door center panels you can go a couple of different ways. If a flat panel use plywood for a center panel. If a raised panel use 3/4" solid wood of same species. If paint grade you can use mdf for the center panels in both cases. I buy my hard wood from a hardwoods supplier for the selection & quality. I buy 4/4 (13/16" actual in my area) for face frames, door parts, & drawer fronts.

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Last edited by jlord; 12-30-2011 at 04:32 PM.
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post #5 of 30 Old 12-30-2011, 05:25 PM
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I use 3/4" plywood for the cabinets, 1/2" plywood for the drawer sides, and 1/4" plywood for the bottoms. I usually use a light colored plywood for drawers, like Maple. For some applications, the drawer species will be the same as the cabinet. Most are done with rabbeted sides, and a groove for a slide in bottom.

For the drawer sides, I'll rip the sides from a sheet in 8' lengths. Then edge band with solid wood. Then cut the sides up as if they were solid wood. Or, assemble the drawer and use an iron on wood tape. Other drawer options would depend on the clients' preferences as to solid wood, and type of joinery.

For flat panels, either plywood or composite, and glued in. For raised panels, you could use solid wood, or use plywood. Here is a simple method for using plywood:
http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/pl...d-panels-8910/






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post #6 of 30 Old 12-30-2011, 10:34 PM
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One thing you could consider. You might do well to use the scraps you will end up with from the 3/4 oak ply for drawer sides/ fronts and backs, and just buy different ply to cut bottoms out of.

It will make the drawers look like the cabinets on the sides of the drawers,
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post #7 of 30 Old 12-31-2011, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the all the help and input. This is my first cabinet I built , first wood project actually, now I just have to figure out what color to stain them with. That's the hard part ha ha .
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post #8 of 30 Old 12-31-2011, 11:52 AM
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Attachment 34604

Thanks for the all the help and input. This is my first cabinet I built , first wood project actually, now I just have to figure out what color to stain them with. That's the hard part ha ha .
Cabinet looks great for a first. If you go with 3/4" drawer parts on a cabinet that narrow the drawer will look over bulky & the inside dimension tiny. You didn't mention what type of slides you want to use. If you use side mount drawer slides you will loose 1" on width of drawer box. If you went with undermount soft close slides the box would be about 7/16" narrower than the opening. I would suggest 5/8" no thinner than 1/2"for your drawer material to give it some balance. Something to think about

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Last edited by jlord; 12-31-2011 at 12:00 PM.
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post #9 of 30 Old 12-31-2011, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. Yes that cabinet is only 12" wide. It's going to be a solo cabinet next to the fridge. I'm going to use under mount slides and decided to go with 5/8 box side

Last edited by Bvh56; 12-31-2011 at 07:26 PM. Reason: Spelling
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post #10 of 30 Old 12-31-2011, 08:16 PM
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If you go with undermount there are a couple different ones that allow clearance for different drawer sides. 3/4" & 5/8". Make sure you get them to fit 5/8" sides. As an example Blum slides require the box to be 7/16" narrower than the opening. The drawer bottom is located 1/2" up from the bottom. Your slides will sit in this recess so they are hidden. You will need to notch the rear corners of the rear drawer piece for the slide unless you cut the rear piece flush with the bottom. You will have to drill a small 1/4" hole in rear corners for slide to hook into (forstner bit does a clean job & no need to drill thru). This is the anti tip feature. The length you will probably need is 21". Instructions might be in mm but you can convert with construction calculator. Inside of your box should be about 10-5/16"& width out side would be 11-9/16" if you use Blum or one of the copies.

These are 5/8" Hard Maple with undermount soft close slides. Cherry fronts.
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Last edited by jlord; 12-31-2011 at 08:27 PM.
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post #11 of 30 Old 01-01-2012, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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Good info thanks jlord. Those cabinets look great.
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post #12 of 30 Old 01-01-2012, 11:24 AM
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Good info thanks jlord. Those cabinets look great.
Thanks.

James
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post #13 of 30 Old 01-03-2012, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by cabinetman View Post
For flat panels, either plywood or composite, and glued in. For raised panels, you could use solid wood, or use plywood. Here is a simple method for using plywood:
http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/pl...d-panels-8910/
.

Do you biscuit the solid wood to the plywood. Seems like it would be finicky and labor intensive getting it to line up nice and flush, with not much room for sanding. What is your technique? I can see the possibilities of this style of construction for a more modern look, since you don't have end grain showing or using a contrasting wood. Thanks, Grinder


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post #14 of 30 Old 01-03-2012, 09:37 AM
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Do you biscuit the solid wood to the plywood. Seems like it would be finicky and labor intensive getting it to line up nice and flush, with not much room for sanding. What is your technique? I can see the possibilities of this style of construction for a more modern look, since you don't have end grain showing or using a contrasting wood. Thanks, Grinder
No biscuits, just glue and clamps works just fine. I also don't use fasteners, as the edge needs to be profiled.






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post #15 of 30 Old 01-05-2012, 02:21 AM
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If you go with undermount there are a couple different ones that allow clearance for different drawer sides. 3/4" & 5/8". Make sure you get them to fit 5/8" sides. As an example Blum slides require the box to be 7/16" narrower than the opening. The drawer bottom is located 1/2" up from the bottom. Your slides will sit in this recess so they are hidden. You will need to notch the rear corners of the rear drawer piece for the slide unless you cut the rear piece flush with the bottom. You will have to drill a small 1/4" hole in rear corners for slide to hook into (forstner bit does a clean job & no need to drill thru). This is the anti tip feature. The length you will probably need is 21". Instructions might be in mm but you can convert with construction calculator. Inside of your box should be about 10-5/16"& width out side would be 11-9/16" if you use Blum or one of the copies.

These are 5/8" Hard Maple with undermount soft close slides. Cherry fronts.
jlord those cabinets look great. So the front of your drawer box is cherry? Is this what gives you the nice contrast on your dovetails? I was wondering what people do to get a nice contrast to make the dovetails really stand out. thanks for the info.
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post #16 of 30 Old 01-05-2012, 03:28 AM
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jlord those cabinets look great. So the front of your drawer box is cherry? Is this what gives you the nice contrast on your dovetails? I was wondering what people do to get a nice contrast to make the dovetails really stand out. thanks for the info.
All four sides of the drawer boxes are Hard Maple. The Cherry is applied to the front of that & that's what you see when the drawer is closed. What gives the contrast in the dovetail is the end grain. It will usually show up darker than the face grain.

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post #17 of 30 Old 01-21-2012, 11:10 PM
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How well do particle board cabinets hold up, as far as longevity? I've seen alot made with that, and either veneered on the exposed edges, or covered with 1/4" hardwood ply. I took a look at ours (cheap, builder grade), and they are just that. Particle board shell, with wood tape on the insides and shelves, 1/4" oak ply on the cabinet ends, and oak face frames and doors. They've been in this house for about 15 years, and seem to be holding up. We had a dishwasher leak last year, and all the cabinet around it soaked up the water and is crumbling. That's the only drawback I can see by using particleboard. Seems like the cost would be lower than using solid wood for every part. But I could be wrong. Any other drawbacks I'm not seeing? My sister has mentioned me building her some new cabinets, so I've been trying to do some research on it lately.
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post #18 of 30 Old 01-22-2012, 12:36 AM
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Nothing wrong with PB. PB gets finished like everything else. I've pulled a lot of molded plywood out of old kitchens.
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post #19 of 30 Old 01-22-2012, 12:37 AM
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How well do particle board cabinets hold up, as far as longevity? I've seen alot made with that, and either veneered on the exposed edges, or covered with 1/4" hardwood ply. I took a look at ours (cheap, builder grade), and they are just that. Particle board shell, with wood tape on the insides and shelves, 1/4" oak ply on the cabinet ends, and oak face frames and doors. They've been in this house for about 15 years, and seem to be holding up. We had a dishwasher leak last year, and all the cabinet around it soaked up the water and is crumbling. That's the only drawback I can see by using particleboard. Seems like the cost would be lower than using solid wood for every part. But I could be wrong. Any other drawbacks I'm not seeing? My sister has mentioned me building her some new cabinets, so I've been trying to do some research on it lately.
Personally I don't care for particle board in cabinets. Particle board is on the low end of quality for cabinet material. It breaks easily if the corners get bumped during the assembly stage. You've seen what moisture does to it. What if you had a water leak in the first year?

I prefer to use grade- A quality 3/4"ply for the boxes. I don't have a problem using 1/4" ply for the backs. I use 4/4 hardwood for face frames, doors, & drawer fronts. My preferred drawer boxes are made from 5/8" hard maple assembled with half-blind dovetails & under mount soft close slides.

The budget will be a factor in quality of materials & features your cabinets are built to. For paint grade cabinets you can use poplar for face frames, door, drawer fronts & drawer boxes. MDF can even be used for the raised panel in your doors with poplar rails & stiles. You can also use 5/8" Baltic Burch or Apple ply for the drawer boxes. If you take on the job of making cabinets for your sister, make sure she has all the appliances she will want installed before you begin. At least the measurements so you can size them to fit.

I'm sure others will chime in as to materials they like to use.

James
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Last edited by jlord; 01-22-2012 at 12:40 AM.
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post #20 of 30 Old 01-22-2012, 01:02 AM
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"Personally I don't care for particle board in cabinets. Particle board is on the low end of quality for cabinet material. It breaks easily if the corners get bumped during the assembly stage. You've seen what moisture does to it. What if you had a water leak in the first year?"

You just wiped out European cabinets. If it breaks during assembly I would assume the cabinet maker would replace that part.If the cabinets sustained that much water I would be more concerned with my hardwood floors and the rec room underneath.
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