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General questions / Cabinet making

2389 Views 70 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Rebelwork
I’m getting started in woodworking and starting with building kitchen cabinets for my daughter. I’ve done some DIY remodeling, but I have a bunch of questions about cabinetmaking. I’ve done a lot of research and watched tons of YouTube, but don’t know anyone to ask. Any tips, thoughts, suggestions or recommendations are appreciated❤

My setup -

Tools - I’ve built a 40” x 72” mobile workbench and down to last few steps - installing Jessem router lift, adding router fence & t-track, dust collection, electrical, finishing MDF top and adding storage underneath. DeWalt Equipment in bench includes 12” miter saw, router and DWE7491 10” table saw. A bunch of hand power tools, pocket-hole jig and hardware jigs.

Dust collection - I have a 5HP shop vac and cyclone dust collector which are located next to the router and table saw. The miter saw is on the other end about 2’ away. Finding the right size fittings is frustrated and confusing, but I think I can figure it out. I’m planning to have a router dust bin and table saw connected under the bench (less than a foot from collector) and a hose through the top that will quick connect to the miter saw, router fence and small power tools. I move the bench outside to do most of my work.

Project scope is full kitchen renovation with building 15lf wall cabinets and 19lf base cabinets. I want a very professional, custom look. I don’t want to cut corners, but also don’t want to waste time or money.


1) Do I need blast gates? How many? Where would I put them for table saw and router since the connections are underneath? Would I put a blast gate on the miter saw and router fence dust port? Is 2.5” hose sufficient?

2) Recommendations on dust collection hoses & fittings? I bought the Rockler Flexiport power tool kit, but am disappointed that only one connector fit my small power tools, so I’ll probably return it. Thinking about the DeWalt Airlock fittings since my power tools are DeWalt. Thoughts? Also looking at Centex, but may be same problem as Rockler.

3) Do I need a crosscut sled for cabinets or can it wait?

4) Less expensive to make or order cabinet doors? Daughter wants faceframe with inset doors.

5) Table saw came with 60 tooth combination blade and miter saw with 60 tooth fine finish carbide tipped blade. Are these sufficient for maple plywood and poplar cabinet construction?

6) Does this electrical plan make sense ? Extension cord from wall ~ 125V power inlet socket ~ automatic vacuum switch ~ heavy duty power strip under table with router, miter saw, table saw and recessed tabletop power strip for hand tools plugged in. I think this would work to turn on vacuum any time I turn on tools? I’ll mostly be the only one working so one large power tool operating at a time.

7) How much do I need to wear dust mask when working outside?

8) Best (easiest & cheapest) cabinet design & cutlist software? Is it worth the time and expense or should I calculate manually? I’ve handdrawn layout already.

9) Best source for quality drawer slides, hinges and cabinet hardware?

10) Painting - Daughter lives a couple of hours away, so I’ll have to transport cabinets. I’m planning to install cabinet boxes and then paint them using a sprayer. We will paint walls & trim and install counters, appliances and floors later so we don’t have to worry much about overspray. I’ll paint doors at my house or have them painted if I buy them. I’ve used BM Advance Cabinet & Trim paint, but seen good reviews about Sherwin Williams. Thought? Recommendactions?

11) Not really enjoying pocketholes much and don’t look forward to drilling hundreds, but haven’t tried dado construction. Dados seem more efficient, but pockethole method seems to be recommended more For beginners. Thoughts?

12) I’m using 3/4” plywood for boxes, but can I use 1/2” for drawers and custom organizers? Could I use 1/2“ plywood for laundry room cabinets that won’t hold a heavy load or countertop? Where is it appropriate to use 1/2”? My plywood supplier will cut sheets down for me. Is 32” crosscut most efficient? I don’t have a track saw or guide. I’m making a separate toe kick for bases.

WHEW!!! I know this is a lot, but I really appreciate any help and look forward to seeing your responses!


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I like the comments about starting small. You are putting quite a bit on yourself. Inset doors are the most difficult cabinets to make taking time, patience, and precision. You have to be honest, or learn your ability level and what your shop is capable of producing. Absolutely perfect square and true stock is a must. Wood does not come that way. Do you have the ability to to produce straight and true stock for the face frames and doors? Do you have the setup and skill set to produce perfectly flat doors. Like others have stated I would suggest starting with some shop cabs or perhaps a vanity. For cab boxes I would suggest using prefin maple ply. The nice thing about prefin is you can finish just the face frames before they are applied to the cab for a sharp, clean look. You will need a method to break the sheets down. Wrestling a full sheet on a table saw can be very difficult and if not a good size saw, dangerous. I would do a lot of reading or investigating box construction, There are many ways to do it, each has their pros and cons. You will need to find a way that works for you. I admire you for being willing to take on such a task. Building a kitchen can be overwhelming even for the experienced. I have 50 years experience in shops and just remodeled my kitchen. Just hand sanding of the doors before and during finishing I clocked over 40 hours.
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Blum is worth the cost. I’ve used KV slides, too.
Slides I use 100% KV MUV slides. I get them at a great price point and they work extremely smooth. I have even redone my system for furniture and have been using them in my dressers. Hinges I use mostly KV, but I like the Blum soft close ff hinges too.
I stopped using the KV’s because of problems. It could be just a bad lot I got , but scared me away from them..

If you have accounts with the suppliers and quantity purchase , the prices vary
My supplier gives me outstanding pricing on them. What kinds of issues were you having? I have been using mostly the MUV line for about 20 years never had an issue.
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