Kitchen Cabinets - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 09-16-2018, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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Kitchen Cabinets

Hello all,

I want to make kitchen cabinets. Thinking of a traditional shaker style out of maple with face frames. Did a google search looking for a book to give me some guidance - seems there are number of them.

Can anyone recommend a good straightforward one?

Thanks
Brian

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post #2 of 19 Old 09-16-2018, 11:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bargoon View Post
Hello all,

I want to make kitchen cabinets. Thinking of a traditional shaker style out of maple with face frames. Did a google search looking for a book to give me some guidance - seems there are number of them.

Can anyone recommend a good straightforward one?

Thanks
Brian
Building a kitchen by yourself seems to take forever especially if you make the doors. You could save yourself a lot of time and trouble if you would build the cabinets and have a door shop make the doors for you. In the past I have worked for a couple different cabinet shops that bought the doors for the cabinets they made just because it took a lot of time and equipment to do it.
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post #3 of 19 Old 09-17-2018, 05:07 AM
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Here in UK, we have firms who supply new doors that can be used on old carcasses to create a new look.
We have such a store here in our small city of Ely....Dream doors.
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post #4 of 19 Old 09-17-2018, 08:31 AM
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Building Kitchen Cabinets by Udo Schmidt published by The Taunton Press is a good book.
As far as making your own cabinet doors, a set of rail and stile router bits can run close to $100 which can make it not economical for a few doors. But if you have a lot of doors and the time to make them then DIY may be a good option. Not hard to do with a router table and sled (make or buy). Depends on your time and budget.
There are also good magazine articles on the subject. WOOD magazine has had several articles. Also George Vondriska has done several Youtubes and magazine articles and has DVDs available.

Last edited by JIMMIEM; 09-17-2018 at 08:37 AM. Reason: Add info
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post #5 of 19 Old 09-17-2018, 09:19 AM
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There are some pretty decent video's on the tube as well. I build one section of cabinet a few years back for my mothers kitchen that turned out to be a shop tool storage and then skipped my non-cabinet building rear to Home Depot...

John
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post #6 of 19 Old 09-17-2018, 10:03 AM
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For one or two cabinets, the door production is slow. But for shaker cabinets, faster. And if you set up a production line, much faster.

The advantage of making your own is that you can spray paint the edges of the panel before assembly. That way expansion and contraction will not show an unfinished reveal.

Also, I like to make my doors with 1/2" thick panels. I use my dado head to reduce the thickness at the edges to fit the grooves. I reduce on the interior side of the door. The exterior looks just like a 1/4" thick panel. The interior is flush to the frame.

I make a light friction fit and not space balls are required. It also allows me to screw accessory storage to the interior of the doors.

It adds some cost, and a small amount of time. But if you set up a production line, this will go fast.

Making doors for one or two cabinets can be a chore. Making them for 20 or more, seems efficient to me.
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post #7 of 19 Old 09-17-2018, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
Building a kitchen by yourself seems to take forever especially if you make the doors. You could save yourself a lot of time and trouble if you would build the cabinets and have a door shop make the doors for you. In the past I have worked for a couple different cabinet shops that bought the doors for the cabinets they made just because it took a lot of time and equipment to do it.
Several years ago I was able to get raised paneled Red Oak doors made at a shop for about the same as it would have cost me to make them myself. I had sold my shaper and needed to match a profile on about 8 new doors. I was very pleased with the work and the price.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #8 of 19 Old 09-17-2018, 09:45 PM
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Several years ago I was able to get raised paneled Red Oak doors made at a shop for about the same as it would have cost me to make them myself. I had sold my shaper and needed to match a profile on about 8 new doors. I was very pleased with the work and the price.
Yea, once a shop is set up to make doors they can really blow them out so there isn't a lot of labor in it. Then if they are buying lumber thousands of a feet at a time they are getting the wood a whole lot cheaper than the DIY could ever do.
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post #9 of 19 Old 09-17-2018, 11:28 PM
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There is a certain amount of satisfaction that some of us get from building our stuff ourselves, regardless of whether someone else can do it better or cheaper. Yeah, I take 3 or 4 times as long to build my own stuff, using the "wrong" tools occasionally, and I make some mistakes along the way. By the time I finish a project I can usually list several things I should have done which would have cut my manpower in half.

BUT...When I am done, it is MY work. I know every inch of it and I am proud of having completed it.


To the OP, I do not have an answer to your question, but I hope they turn out exactly like you imagined!
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Best Regards,
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post #10 of 19 Old 09-18-2018, 12:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
Building a kitchen by yourself seems to take forever especially if you make the doors. You could save yourself a lot of time and trouble if you would build the cabinets and have a door shop make the doors for you. In the past I have worked for a couple different cabinet shops that bought the doors for the cabinets they made just because it took a lot of time and equipment to do it.
Steve is right about that one. It took two of us over six months of evenings and weekends to build cabinets and panel doors for a relatively small "shotgun" kitchen on a house we owned.

I have learned a lot since then. If I were to do it over, the job would probably take about the same amount of time, but the build quality would be much better.

It was 35 years ago, but if I recall correctly, the limiting factor was the door glue-ups. We used a steel plate to keep each door flat and square as the glue set. We had a lot of doors to build, and the plate could hold only one door at a time.

I wonder how well that kitchen is holding up today.
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post #11 of 19 Old 09-18-2018, 04:35 AM
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Working by myself even with the equipment I have by the time I build the average kitchen with the doors by the time I stain and finish them and get them ready to deliver it takes me 3-4 weeks. I'm not really set up to build any particular product. A few years back I bought an extra shaper which was made so bad I first thought was to sell it but ended up setting it up for cabinet door coping. It's the only thing I keep set up for making cabinet doors. A regular cabinet shop would keep a shaper set up for both coping and sticking and perhaps more than one shaper for different door panel profiles. Setting up the equipment is what really gets time consuming.
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post #12 of 19 Old 09-18-2018, 06:09 AM
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Yes, what you are describing is really the initial stages of setting up for mass production. This takes time and costs money.
However, once set up then can produce thousands at little more cost than the raw materials.
This is why 3D printing is economic for small runs of a suitable object.
Henry Ford was the first real mass producer. He took deskilling a task to the nth degree.
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post #13 of 19 Old 09-18-2018, 06:19 AM
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My wife wants me to make her some kitchen cabinets after seeing some of my shop cabinets. There is a lot of difference in my shop cabinets and kitchen cabinets. She just doesn't understand.

Don in Murfreesboro, TN.
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post #14 of 19 Old 09-18-2018, 07:49 AM
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Most home shops are not built for production work. When I build cabinets, the first step is drawing them up individually with measurements to create a cut list. When I cut up all the pieces, I always add a few extras in just in case. If you have a good dado set, shaker style cabinets are pretty easy to build. Organization is the trick in any big project. All my stationary tools are on wheels, and my shop is always a bit crowded, so I don't want to have to remake a piece that may involve 5 or 6 machining steps. Here's a few pics Fromm the last kitchen I didn't. Faceframes and drawerfronts were made from birch, starting as rough sawn lumber, panels for doors were 1/2" birch plywood dadoed to fit a 1/4" slot in the doors, boxes were 3/4" birch plywood. I sprayed them with three coats of conversion varnish for a white finish. Turned out very nice.
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post #15 of 19 Old 09-18-2018, 09:45 AM
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Very good job on the cabinets. Well done.
Once you tear out your kitchen you are really committed to getting the job finished. Itís really hard living without a kitchen.
As a DIYíer, we donít save any $$ on the materials but we save on the labor. This can cut the cost of a kitchen remodel dramatically.
In many new homes today you can spend over $400,000 and get MDF for painted cabinets with no hardware. (Handles or knobs).
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If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #16 of 19 Old 09-21-2018, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your thoughtful responses.
I plan to make these cupboards as a winter project and store them in a spare room till I'm ready to install them. Wife wants a surface mount range and wall oven so I will have to make allowances for the rough-ins.

Cheers
Brian

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post #17 of 19 Old 09-21-2018, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by SwampRat View Post
There is a certain amount of satisfaction that some of us get from building our stuff ourselves, regardless of whether someone else can do it better or cheaper. Yeah, I take 3 or 4 times as long to build my own stuff, using the "wrong" tools occasionally, and I make some mistakes along the way. By the time I finish a project I can usually list several things I should have done which would have cut my manpower in half.

BUT...When I am done, it is MY work. I know every inch of it and I am proud of having completed it.


To the OP, I do not have an answer to your question, but I hope they turn out exactly like you imagined!
I hear you loud and clear and Iím in full agreement with most of it but when your kitchens down in the house you live in you donít want to take 3-4 times as long. When the kitchens down itís a major inconvenience and you want it back up and operational as quickly as possible. Iíve made lots of kitchen doors before and I knew what was involved. Getting the doors sourced was a good plan for us and it speeded up the remodel by at least a week. Also, I had no way to match existing profiles because I had sold my shaper. So there was that too.
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post #18 of 19 Old 09-21-2018, 12:19 PM
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The best way to do a kitchen is to build everything you can and pre-finish it so when you demo the old cabinets there isn't that much down time getting everything put back. Most of the down time is waiting for a countertop shop to make the counters which is only a couple days normally.
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post #19 of 19 Old 09-22-2018, 09:11 AM
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My goal (as a historical house owner) has been to create cabinets that look like they could have been original - or at least they architecturally integrate with the rest of the house.

I built my original cabinets from scratch using a simple plywood box approach and some pictures of historical cabinet features that I liked. I did find an article in "Workbench" Magazine that laid out cabinet basics and I used that as a partial starting point. It was issue No 261 September/October 2000 Pages 40-53.


Here's a link: http://https://www.workbenchlibrary.com/view/issue/261/


Eventually though, I managed to find some old original cabinets frame & panel carcasses that had been disassembled and I worked out from there. The rest I just explored via trial and error.

I did try a few cabinet books and inquired on here, but aside from a few handy tips I never quite found what I needed. For me a working example was what I needed. Just how my brain works, I guess.

I just "figured it out" and this was the eventual result



The top cabinets are plywood carcasses (overlay hinges), but the bottom cabinets are true frame-and-panel boxes with mortise hinges. I made the top ones a year or two before the bottom ones.


Note that this picture is from when I sold the house. I *really* miss these cabinets.
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Last edited by RepairmanJack; 09-22-2018 at 09:35 AM.
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