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Old 06-07-2009, 12:08 PM   #1
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Would like to build kitchen cabinets

I have bought some stock cabinets, but am not really happy with them and would like to take them back and just build some. I have built bookshelves and helped my stepfather build cabinets, so I would like to try and tackle the task. I am looking for some good plans-would like some free ones, but would buy if needed-don't know which book or online pdf is best to buy. The doors are what really intimidates me-I don't have a router but could prob borrow one from my stepdad. Any suggestions.


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Old 06-07-2009, 05:11 PM   #2
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Cabinets are built with standard depths and heights, but vary with an individual set up. Base cabinets are 34 1/2" high. Wall cabinets can be from 12-42" high based on the space and function of the cabinet.
You would first decide the kitchen layout. Then you would decide the type of cabinet you wanted. Full frame or frameless. Are the doors full overlay doors or partial overlay doors.
Will the drawer hardware be side mount or under mount. You can't build a cabinet without making these decisions first as each decision requires a differect plan size.
Go to kitchen showrooms to decide on a style and design. Then pick up some books on cabinet fabrication in the style you like.
If it's a big kitchen, I would invest in a software progam to lay out the carcasse cutting. I used Cutlist Plus to layout the 25 sheets of 3/4" maple ply I used for the carcases and drawer boxes. The software set up the cuts to minimze waste on the plywood. It even printed labels to put on each piece to keep them straight. I think I had about 350 pieces cut, stacked and labeled.


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Old 06-07-2009, 05:22 PM   #3
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I built all my own kitchen cabinets, only took about six years to finish. But hey, who's counting? My cabinets are made from 3/4 inch maple veneer plywood, with a maple frame, Blum 3/4" overlay hinges, shaker style doors with 1/2" thick panels with walnut inset strips. As mentioned by previous poster, the finished size of each cabinet is standard, the details are what distinguish the cabinets.

I built about 15 cabinets, and an island. Since I used cope and stick for the door frames, there is no way I could have done this without a router table and a table saw. I also used my cutoff saw extensively, and a biscuit joiner to make the frames. The walnut strips were inset using a router and table saw. I used pewter door pulls, got them at Home Depot Expo. All the wood I purchased from the local saw mill, nice folks, they have tiger maple, birds eye maple, and spalted maple, and they plane the wood to whatever thickness you need. I used 1/2 inch for the panels, 3/4 inch for the frames, as I mentioned. I did not use any software, but perhaps it would have reduced some of the waste. Then again, I built these cabinets so slowly, I never really accumulated much lumber.
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Old 06-08-2009, 08:04 AM   #4
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There is a great deal of personal satisfaction to be had in building your own kitchen cabinets. There is also a fair amount of work involved. Stick to industry standards for dimensions like heights, depths, drawer and toe kick sizes. You will need access to a table saw and a jointer. A biscuit joiner will work to attach face frames. You will need some good sized bar or pipe clamps. A couple of sizes of squares are essential. You will need plenty of work space. Assembled cabinets take up lots of workshop room. You'll also need a couple of very good sanders. It is important to have plenty of patience. If you opt not to build them, you can buy doors and drawer fronts made to order, finished or unfinished to fit your boxes. Most important is to have an understanding wife/significant other, because you will spend hours and hours on a project such as this. I've built a couple of kitchens and bathrooms from scratch. A few things got sawed up for wood stove fuel, so don't get discouraged when you make a few miscuts. Start by laying out the kitchen you plan to build. Then you can decide on whether you want to invest in a computer program or layout your cuts on graph paper. Good planning up front will go a long way in the end.
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Old 06-08-2009, 08:54 AM   #5
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Go get the last issue of Wood magazine...it may not be what you want...but it will be enough to get you started....
when it comes to breakfast, the chicken is dedicated, the pig is committed.
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Old 06-08-2009, 01:54 PM   #6
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You can also go to www.sommerfeldtools.com and order their video on building cabinets. I would say you will need a table saw and router table at a minimum.
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Old 06-20-2009, 01:22 PM   #7
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Would like to build kitchen cabinets

Thanks to everyone for their postings and advice. This renovation has been alot of trial and error and learning-wish i would have known about this web site prior to beginning this nightmare. I took all of the stock cabinets-24 of them to be exact- back to Lowes because i was very paranoid about only the face frames being oak and the rest of them being particle board.

I am currently scraping a bad texture job off of the kitchen/living room ceiling where my cousin tried to cover up a thick broom texture after moving a wall and taking out the end of a hallway to expand the space. He replaced and mudded the sheetrock and put a crows foot texture over and old broom swirl pattern. You can see the swirls under the crows foot but not where the replacing pieces were added. Everyone says "Don't worry about that its not noticeable" but it is and I cannot stand it. He made a big hump where he tried to cover up a large crack. I am scraping ALL of it off and cutting the crack out. Anyway, I seem to get the worst people to work on things and then have to fix it-might as well figure out how to do it myself the way I want it.

Thanks again for everyone's advice and direction.
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Old 06-22-2009, 10:35 PM   #8
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A useful tool is a Veritas jig from lee valley.

I built some garage cabinets. I used 3/4 " black particle board and the hardest thing was gluing the edging.

give yourself lots of time. I thought about building my own cabinets for the cottage but then realized it was going to be too time consuming. And I only had 16 cabinets base and wall.

good luck
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Old 06-28-2009, 11:15 AM   #9
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Hi handyhall - I just wanted to give you a big thumbs up and lots of encouragement from another Newbie to DIY and this forum. I can't give you *any* advice about your project, but I know what it's like to be discouraged by previous work, and to think that no one other than you will be committed to making sure the job gets done to your satisfaction. I'm starting slow w/ painting and (hired out) tile laying, but will eventually work my way to the kitchen, I imagine some time 2010 or even later considering budget and other schedule commitments. Like w/ any big project, congratulate yourself EVERY step of the way, and try not to focus on how far you've yet to go. At the end, you will love it, will have the satisfaction of having gained a lot of knowledge along the way, and can take pride in the work you've accomplished. At least that what I try to tell myself on the worst days when I can't see the light at the end of my own project tunnel. Good luck, and post pics!


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