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post #1 of 21 Old 10-23-2009, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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Question kitchen cabinets

I have built many woodworking projects and own almost every tool you would need to complete any level of project. However, I have never built any kitchen cabinets and am looking for advice on how to go about building these. I have been told that 3/4" birch plywood is the best for building the carcase but would like some other opinions. I still haven't decided to whether to paint or stain (because I may utilize my existing cabinets which are painted over oak custom cabinets). I would prefer to build custom cabinets with a nice stain but also would like to watch costs. Any suggestions would be appreciated as well as reference to any written materials online or in book form.
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post #2 of 21 Old 10-23-2009, 10:13 PM
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Some ideas

My opinion and most of the commercial cabinets use 1/2" ply for the sides,and some even use it for the backs. The loads are in compression so no need for 3/4". Some use 1/4" for the back and most good ones
will have a rabbet for the back of either thickness. Most also use staples to fasten although not necessary 18 ga nails will hold until the glues sets.
You should visit a home center and scrutinize the cabinets available both upper and lowers. Upper need to be hung usually a panel across the top in a thicker material. I always screw them side to side and sometimes thru the face frames as well. I slip strips of 1/2" filler between the cabinets to sandwich the sides together which makes a good material for screws to purchase rather than dead air in the gaps between. If you can prefinish the material before assembly you will save a lot of headaches, spraying or brushing into corners. Shelves that span more than 30 inches need center support, 24" is best. I found that a pantry with drawers makes all contents visible rather than shelves you can't reach or see to the back. Just a few ideas..... bill
Here's some of mine: http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/membe...chen-cabinets/
The tall cabinet was made to fit between the vanity, the wall and the light switch and still be accessible. Just 1/2" oak ply with dadoed shelves inside and face frame doors with mitered frames and 1/4" oak ply inserted in the frames. Concealed hinges 5/8" overlay
The painted drawer front on the right was to duplicate the one on the left. One drawer came up missing when my friend trash picked a dresser. They were done entirely on the table saw, no router. It shows what can be done with a little creativity and I sure scratched my head on how to do it for a while. I made some test pieces with MDF and here's the result:
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The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 10-27-2009 at 05:09 AM.
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post #3 of 21 Old 10-23-2009, 10:25 PM
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ssp,
Along with woodenthings said, try building a simple bathroom vanity before you attempt doing a whole kitchen. It will get you warmed up, let you work out the bugs, and understand a little better how cabinets go together. BTW, welcome to the forum.
Mike Hawkins
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post #4 of 21 Old 10-23-2009, 10:33 PM
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faceless or face frame?
inset, overlay, lip, panel, slab doors?
ladder base built ins?
modular?
There are lots of choices and methods.
Most cabinet makers have adopted methods and modified a system to suit them. There isn't much written in stone and you should choose a design that fits your needs and tools. Paint or stain grade is a good place to start.
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post #5 of 21 Old 10-23-2009, 10:42 PM
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I would contact John at [email protected] He has a system that he teaches that is unbelivable. and He has to be one of the best cabinet makers I've seen. I'm sure he would help. The only place you may find a brad nail in his cabinets are on the back.
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post #6 of 21 Old 10-23-2009, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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I would contact John at [email protected] He has a system that he teaches that is unbelivable. and He has to be one of the best cabinet makers I've seen. I'm sure he would help. The only place you may find a brad nail in his cabinets are on the back.
thank you i will contact him
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post #7 of 21 Old 10-23-2009, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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Wow, I didn't expect so much advise so fast. I really appreciate your ideas and hope to start practicing soon. I think I will start with a vanity cabinet like you suggested firehawk.
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post #8 of 21 Old 10-24-2009, 08:24 AM
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Just make sure you have a functional and detailed plan in place for the cabinets. This way when you start building the cabinets you know what is going where and that it will fit.

I built myself a beautiful birds eye maple kitchen in my last house and it was actually a fun project to do. Good luck.

Red

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post #9 of 21 Old 10-24-2009, 08:35 AM
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Welcome to the site!
I agree with Red, a detailed plan will make the job go a lot easier.

Did you say tool sale?
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post #10 of 21 Old 10-26-2009, 03:09 AM
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The cabinet you made was okay. What type of wood did you use? I had mine made from alder materials and when my family saw them they loved the design! I had them made from a company that I saw online and they were offered me prices that are affordable. Hardwood is more expensive nowadays right? Making cabinets is never easy because you need to be particular with the measurements and it is better if there are carvings that will serve as the primary designs on the door.
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post #11 of 21 Old 10-27-2009, 01:17 AM
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There are two considerations when building cabinets. I know that this sounds stupid but the considerations are the appearance of the inside and outside.

The outside is what everybody sees, but the inside is what SWMBO sees every day. You have to think about it.

When you install a row of cabinets, only the face and one side of each end cabinet will show. It doesn't make a lot of sense to build the interior cabinets with expensive plywood. (Mike, toss in your expertise here please.)

If you have never built cabinets before, my suggestion is to build the bottom of the cabinets flush and then install them on a separate toe kick. It is easy to install and level a toe kick. Then installing the cabinets on top of the toe kick is much easier as the toe kick is level and it is just a matter of attaching the cabinets to the toe kick and the wall.

When I built the cabinets for the shop, I wanted them to make a statement. The cabinets were all built with melamine, red oak face frames, overlay doors and 1/4" red oak ply laminated to the end cabinets. All it takes to make the ends look great is a bit of 1/4" ply and some contact cement.

I had 27 doors to do and used Blum euro style hidden hinges. I bought the gizmo that will drill the three holes for the hinges from Sommerfelds for about $200. Of all the tools that I've ever bought, that was the best $200 I ever spent.

Use the right tool for the job.

Rich (Tilting right)
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post #12 of 21 Old 10-27-2009, 04:56 AM
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Many of the drawing programs may not present the actual details as they occur. I have a method I use for laying out that may help. I take all my wall measurements and details like plumbing, electrical outlets, windows, door casings, appliances, etc. Then I cut out a mock countertop from anything, like 1/4" plywood, or, if it's to be a laminated top, the actual 3/4" plywood that will be the countertops. I cut them out to fit the overall layout as per the wall measurements. Where there's a break in countertops like for a slide in stove, I'll cut a filler top for the spacing. Brown paper could be used in place of a panel. But I find maneuvering the paper layout and fitting cabinets to it pretty much destroys it.

Then I lay out the tops and draw right on the tops the base cabinets as they go. I also draw right on the tops the upper cabinets, as they go. Doing this accomplishes several things. When I say draw, it's not just the outside lines for the carcasses, but the actual thickness of the carcass walls. That way, the planning for the joinery and figuring the finished ends can be done. If dadoes and rabbets or whatever joinery methods are being used, it will give the exact size of all the parts.

This method will also solve all clearance and fitting situations. If the countertop pieces are cut exactly to the needed wall dimensions, and everything above and below it is drawn to fit, they most likely will fit. Any filler pieces can be easily figured out.

With this done, you have the whole kitchen laid out, and all the sizes of all the pieces needed can be transcribed to lists for figuring materials, cut lists, and possibly an order for a sequence of assembly. For shops with limited space, once the boxes go together, space becomes a premium.

With everything detailed, an accurate materials list, cut list, and layout sketch can be made. All the parts can be numbered or lettered and transferred to the list, and that way, you'll know what is cut what isn't, and in the end if anything is missing. Parts marked that way won't get used for anything other than what they are intended. I like to make several copies of all the wall elevation drawings. They don't even have to be to scale. Right on one set titled "cabinets" will be all the numbers or letters for the boxes, another set titled "doors and drawer fronts" will have door and drawer front numbers or letters, and likewise for shelves. The drawers are also marked. With these drawings, at any time during the project, I know what part is what, and where it goes. These drawings help in making the cut list, and as parts are cut, they just get marked and checked off.

Once all the boxes are assembled, they should fit right on the countertop drawing. If elevation drawings are made, all the marked parts, such as door and drawer front numbers or letters will match the actual parts.

For layouts other than kitchens, that don't utilize a countertop per se, a mock panel to represent the overall depth and width can be used, and then in plan (view), the drawing can be done. For working out elevation details, they can be drawn out full size on brown paper.

Those drawings, and lists with all the parts will tell you what and where everything goes even before you turn on the saw.






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post #13 of 21 Old 10-27-2009, 07:38 AM
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How to build cabinets

I have a cnc cabinet shop and the way to build cabinets becomes easy with that.

The first thing that you MUST do is to download and learn to use Google Sketchup. It is a free program and there are thousands of users worldwide adding to the 3d warehouse of designs. Cabinets can be found there in droves. Each drawing gives you the ability to explode and hide parts and get dimensions. I use this software to design entire kitchens down to the millimeter. Look at my website for a design example. www.doorbot.net

As far as toekicks, eliminate them. Purchase levelling legs from outwater plastics and never have to worry about shimming again. If you are building frameless, I can help you figure out what you need to do. Most who build frameless have tons of equipment though. It takes line boring or cnc to do them with any degree of accuracy.

BTW, this is my first post on this forum. I've been on other sites and am tired of the drama.
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post #14 of 21 Old 10-28-2009, 10:25 AM
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If you read this Original Post you will see..

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssp2 View Post
I have built many woodworking projects and own almost every tool you would need to complete any level of project. However, I have never built any kitchen cabinets and am looking for advice on how to go about building these. I have been told that 3/4" birch plywood is the best for building the carcase but would like some other opinions. I still haven't decided to whether to paint or stain (because I may utilize my existing cabinets which are painted over oak custom cabinets). I would prefer to build custom cabinets with a nice stain but also would like to watch costs. Any suggestions would be appreciated as well as reference to any written materials online or in book form.
Our friend just wants to build some cabinets for his kitchen, he's not going into the business....yet!
So advice should be tempered with the needs of the OP in mind.
He's got a lot of tools, just needs a process.
See this thread: http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/wo...process-12743/
C Man's advice is great and should serve for others as well. Probably gained from centuries of first hand experience back to the "middle ages"
Lighten up Guys. bill

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #15 of 21 Old 10-29-2009, 04:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wes View Post
I have a cnc cabinet shop and the way to build cabinets becomes easy with that.

The first thing that you MUST do is to download and learn to use Google Sketchup.

"MUST" is a powerful word to use. Sketchup is clever software, but by no means a "MUST" have to build cabinets.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wes View Post
As far as toekicks, eliminate them. Purchase levelling legs from outwater plastics and never have to worry about shimming again. If you are building frameless, I can help you figure out what you need to do. Most who build frameless have tons of equipment though. It takes line boring or cnc to do them with any degree of accuracy.

I don't agree with your take on what is needed for accuracy. Maybe a better way of saying that is that it's your opinion.


Quote:
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BTW, this is my first post on this forum. I've been on other sites and am tired of the drama.

The drama is what makes woodworking so interesting. Some here consider it a craft, like a long time tradition hopefully with the skills passed down and techniques explained. Forums like this help to share that kind of knowledge. New and innovative approaches are welcomed.






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post #16 of 21 Old 10-29-2009, 07:01 AM
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i built my kitchen and i used melamine for the carcass, and pine everywhere else, i get nothing but comments on it, to start out get mdf and build some shop cabinets first , paint them like toolboxes , verycheap to start out this way imo
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post #17 of 21 Old 10-29-2009, 01:02 PM
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Just a little bit of what's going on in Europe....

We build the kitchen cabinets from Melamine (also the "High End" kitchens)....The doors are different story and depends on the customer taste...

I made my kitchen cabinets from white Melamine (including the shelves and drawers) that gives "light in the eyes" and looks very clean every time you open the door...

Usually, we make frameless cabinets that are easier and faster to build.

As for the doors, I made them from MDF and sent them for covering with white Plastic laminate...

My wife and I think that a kitchen should be bright...it's a working place and I would like to have the maximum possible light...Using dark colors for the cabinets/doors, means that we need more artificial lighting (or more electricity) sometimes, even during day time...

But, that's a personal opinion....

Will I shock you if I'll tell you that I don't make a "back" on the cabinets...Yeap, when you open the door, you can see the wall (painted with special kitchen and bathroom paint against moisture and humidity....makes life much easier...

As for Toekick, I made a wooden frame (painted some 5 times with garden furniture varnish that penetrates deep into the wood and prevents any moisture to get into the wood)...the frame is narrower than the cabinet width that protrudes out by 2" (including the door).

Later, I cover the front side of the frame with Melamine boards glued with silicone so I can replace it in case...

Regards
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post #18 of 21 Old 11-25-2009, 04:56 AM
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kitchen cabinets

Great advices thank you.I really appreciate your ideas and hope to start practicing soon.
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post #19 of 21 Old 11-25-2009, 10:29 AM
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There's a street saying that "A chicken ain't nuttin but a bird." Although cabinets need to be structurally sound, solid, and square, remember they are still just boxes with doors. Don't let yourself become intimidated.
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post #20 of 21 Old 06-01-2012, 08:06 AM
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I am just finishing a set of kitchen cabinets. I used the prefinished 3/4 domestic maple plywood for the carcasses and am very happy. (I used the same maple, 1/4" for the backs.) It gives the interior a nice clean look while still maintaining the real wood look.
I'll leave the rest of the advice to the pro's.

Last edited by Deanr; 06-01-2012 at 08:08 AM.
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