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General questions / Cabinet making

2422 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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Recommendations on clamps? What kind, size and how many if I’m gluing up a couple of cabinets at a time? I’ve bought a few, but figured I would buy more once I get started and see what I like and need more of. I also need some corner squares and clamps.
frame or frameless?

For framed, 3’ pipe clamps go a long way…

Looks like Grizzly is in the game..
Grizzly T28947 - Bear Grip 3/4" Pipe Clamp
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T28947 Bear Grip 3/4" Pipe Clamp
This tried-and-true pipe clamp is a staple in most shops.
The T28947 Bear Grip 3/4" Pipe Clamp is great for edge gluing multiple pieces of wood at whatever length pipe you need (pipe not included).
The bottom foot of the clamp helps keep it stable and provides clearance so you're not fighting to move the glue-up.
Cast jaws and rubber type soft pads are included.
Like all of the Grizzly pipe clamps, the T28947 comes with a 1-year warranty assuring the unit is free from factory defects.
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I don't find inset any more difficult than overlay.

Op do you have a jointer and planer?
More work involved.. I only have a planer.
you have a lot of “if” between the shop and installation. I can put a couple screws in a box to hold it up and throw square out of square..

Anytime I install full inset, I know I’m in for a long day..

I installed a minimum of 2500 set in 7 years. Insets and angle wraps are my longest day..
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You can get by without a lot of tools, but I don't see how that includes a planer, and I couldn't build cabinets that I felt were up to my standards without a jointer.
I’ve worked for a lot of cabinet shops that didn’t have a jointer..

Face frame stock it cut and ran through the planer. Door stock has never been.

You can run the door stock thru the planer, but it will size at the shaper..

If he buys from a supplier, he can order “stock”

If he was close by, I’d run it for him..
Right, but AMCwoodwork doesn't have a planer, shaper or edge sander.

I final size door and face frame stock on a shaper with outboard fence, but that's irrelevant to this thread.
He commented he bought everything he needed.

I asked if he had a tool budget
Right, but AMCwoodwork doesn't have a planer, shaper or edge sander.

I final size door and face frame stock on a shaper with outboard fence, but that's irrelevant to this thread.
He‘s a hobbyist. He’s not going to have everything To start. I’ve worked for small shops that had very little equipment, but were labor intense. Nice to have a lot of tools, but not everybody does and have to find a way to get it done..
Which is why I said:

"You can get by without a lot of tools, but I don't see how that includes a planer"
back to post #55
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.
Bearings falling out. Either I got a bad batch , because many failed on the same chest of drawers. I started using the “knock offs” from the supplier with a larger bearing without a problem. I’ve used the KV’s on jobs without a problem when supplied.

Like I said it could have been a bad batch.,
Usually after we rip stock, plane, etc. I pull my straightest material for my doors first, second frames.
I get door stiles off the outer edges of wide boards. Depending on species usually it’s rift sawn.
Never heard that one before for kitchen cabinet making..
I remembe4 Alco cabinets buying face frame /door stock already prepared. At the time it was .45 a foot..That was many years ago..

Regency Cabinets I worked for has a separate building where they make and sell panel blanks. These might be 32x48 panel blanks. Or other sizes..
This was common practice for woodworkers at one time. The edges are basically quarter sawn. So the straight grained edges stayed straighter. Particularly on a china hutch or a long door with narrow rails. Every part of the board has a different purpose.
Must have been before my time, I started in the cabinet shop in 1983.

I hear some of the weirdest stuff on the internet..
There was no internet when I started just skilled woodworkers long gone..

This isn’t a second or third career for me..Wood is the only career I’ve had..

I can go to any cabinet shop in the KC area and understand their construction because I’ve worked in many shops small and large. Ive worked with new cabinet guys who have worked in one shop and only understand their methods and find a lot of those smaller shops are wrong..
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