Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: corvallis, Oregon
I've built a good number of kitchens and one of the things you want to make sure of is careful measuring and cutting, and get your carcasses square within 1/32". Personally, I have never used pre-finished ply. Can't help you there.
Hardware? Well, the best hinges would be some good quality solid brass butt hinges. However, they are expensive and time consuming to install accurately. Most people go with euro-hinges these days. They're inexpensive, ($2.50-$5.50/hinge, depending on the range of opening you need) they offer adjustability in all directions when you are installing them, and they are fairly quick and painless to install. They are not the most sturdy hinge out there, and out of an entire kitchen, you will likely have a couple of doors go out of alignment each year or two. But they can be readjusted with the turn of a screw or 2. I usually use Blum, but the distributor here has been pushing Salice and I've tried them. They are fine, also. I used Grass a long time ago but had too many hinges with rough opening mechanisms.
For drawer slides, I typically use KV 8400 or 8405 series. They are steel ball bearing slides, full extension (8405 is full extension + 1" over travel) and rated for 100#. There are different brands available in basically the same slides, similar to the ones in your pictures. I like these far better than the white enamel slides with the nylon rollers, but they cost more. The enamel ones are around $5/pair, the 8400 series costs me about $13/pair. A lot of people like the undermount slides such as Blum Tandem series, but then you're really jumping in cost, at least double or more.
The other thing I ALWAYS recommend to my customers is to go with only the top row of drawers being shallow. All the rest of the drawers should be deeper, and if you have the space, include some 10"-11" deep drawers. People usually go with that and they are always glad that they did. If you end up with some deep AND wide drawers, increase the thickness of your drawer bottom from the standard 1/4" to either 3/8" or a full 1/2" if your going to keep cast iron pots/pans in it. But then, a lot of the people I've built kitchens for use their kitchen the way my wife and I do, like an industrial kitchen. So a lot depends on how you use the kitchen in your life. And personal preferences. For instance, we would never put an island in our kitchen, but most people seem to love the idea of islands. I do not want to have to constantly be walking around an island when I'm cooking. I want to be able to reach things easily and quickly.
Drawers for kitchens are most commonly made from 1/2" baltic birch plywood. It's generally pretty good quality, seldom has any voids and if there are, they're very small, and if you sand it to 220 grit, it finishes nicely and looks good. Attach the finished face to the front of the box. And it dovetails just fine. I've been dovetailing baltic birch drawers for at least 15 years, so I know.
As for the corner drawers, no, not a lot of people opt for that. Most go with lazy susans in one form or another.
I finish all of my kitchen cabinets with satin polyurethane. It's a very tough finish and if you do a good job, it looks as good as anything out there, although it will impart an amber color. If you want no color from the finish, you could consider water-based finishes. I tried them 20 years ago and didn't like the results, but I hear they have come a long way. I would not recommend lacquer. It has been the industry standard for quite a while, but it waterspots. I have seen quite a bit of that over the years. Conversion varnish is the latest rage, but I know practically nothing about it.
Last edited by mmwood_1; 10-24-2014 at 03:11 AM.