Building kitchen cabinets

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Topic by Mike55 posted 01-19-2012 04:26 PM 11088 views 1 time favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 4270 days

01-19-2012 04:26 PM

Topic tags/keywords: kitchen cabinets materials joining tip question

I am thinking of building my kitchen cabinets. I have enough power tools to do it I think except a planer or joiner. I was curious if anyone has tried this and if they had any and all suggestions. I will be building from scratch. IE The best materials for the box, the best way to hold them together, etc…. Thanks

-- endless

View Grandpa's profile


139 posts in 4501 days

01-21-2012 06:31 AM

I have done this and I also taught it in our local vocational school for a few years. Cabinet making is pretty straight forward. There are a lot of tricks of the trade that I am sure I would forget but I will try to sleep on it and write tomorrow.

View Mike55's profile


3 posts in 4270 days

01-21-2012 05:36 PM

Any and all input would be appreciated. Even links will be used. Thanks.

-- endless

View popztoolz's profile


16 posts in 4600 days

01-21-2012 06:17 PM

Hi Mike55:
First of all, DO NOT use low quality materials.
When I have build custom cabinets lately I have found that I like using a Kreg tool for holding the face fronts to to the frames. Makes a no holes front. The box frame sides can be held together with the pocket screws also. Check out the Kregtool.com website. Under media center there are lots of short videos about joining wood together. Usually I use 3/4” cabinet grade plywood for the box and pine 1” material for the face fronts. If you want a more durable face front trim then you might want to consider either poplar, maple, or oak. The doors are usually a combination of plywood and 1” material. Then I use the hidden european style hinges available at most lumber or home improvement stores. For the draw slides you need to consider how much weight the drawer will hold, [silverware can get heavy], if you want soft closing and if it needs to be side mount or bottom mount. Don’t forget to check the cabinet for square as you construct them.
Second of all, Take your time, DON’T rush.
For tools a planer and a joiner are really nice, but if you aren’t fortunate enough to have these then you can still build cabinets. The following will give you a good quality product if used in a knowledgeable manner.
Table saw
Miter chop saw
Orbital sander or finish sander
Wood rasp
Wood glue
Finish nails
If you have any questions or would like to see some pictures you can contact me at [email protected]
Write kitchen cabinets in your subject line so it doesn’t go to spam.
William G. Yasovsky
Michael Yasovsky Construction
Bellefonte, PA

-- William G. Yasovsky, Michael Yasovsky Construction, Bellefonte, PA

View hnderson's profile


1 post in 4262 days

01-23-2012 10:16 AM


There are so many ways to make cabinets. If you haven’t done it before, I’d suggest a very simple construction. I’m a fan of good quality hardwood plywood and cutting dados for the joinery. Cut the cabinets 1/4” shy of your final depth and add hardwood strips to finish the plywood edges. Be careful sanding them that you don’t sand through the hardwood layer of the plywood.

Face frames take more skill to do right. Using a simple box (I believe it’s referred to as European Style;-) use hidden hinges with the doors overlapping the cabinet edges.

You can actually do the entire construction with a skill saw, a good straight edge, hand saw, no screws or nails. A table saw makes it a bit easier. Orbital or finish sanders make sanding easier than by hand but make it easier to go too far in hardwood plywood.

Make sure that you account for the walls being out of square and plum. Remember to inset the back into the box and, if you use a thin back panel, add a board to securely fasten to the wall.

Though I was a cabinetmaker, I would seriously consider buying premade cabinets unless you have special circumstances that require custom or you simply want to try your hand at it and have the time to do so. Making them yourself will save you a lot of money but that’s not taking your time into consideration.

On the other hand, making the cabinets yourself does allow you to create your own design. And gives you bragging rights.

View CaBNJ's profile


2 posts in 4244 days

02-10-2012 03:58 AM

Taking on the project of making custom cabinets is a worthy one. Getting the tools and materials together can be one of the easiest parts of the process. You can sure check out ideas from the internet, allowing you to better visualize and plan the cabinet you have in mind. Here’s one, a closets Bergen site that you can visit for inspiration or reference. Good luck on the project and hope to see the finished product soon!

View weldingdrummer's profile


1 post in 4239 days

02-15-2012 12:40 AM

Check out the episode from the new Yankee workshop. They sell the did with prints and really breaks down how to do it. Though this is not the only way, it can be used as inspiration and sometimes that is all you need. I would practice on some small project like a cabinet for the garage with some cheaper materials.

I too plan on building an entire kitchen but the bathroom vanity will be first. I am also going to practice on some upper and lower cabinets for the garage. Good luck.

View bunkie's profile


2 posts in 4622 days

02-15-2012 08:39 PM

Last year I completed a kitchen remodel using cabinets I built myself. It was a learning experience, but I’m so glad I did it.

Buy good plywood. I bought imported-from-China veneer plywood from a big-box store that warped and had veneer so thin that the slightest slip with a sander exposed the lower plies.

Get a Kreg jig. It’s a pocket-hole jig. Using this and the Kreg screws, you don’t need to use glue to hold the cabinets together. This saves a lot of time and saves money on clamps. It can also save your bacon. When I went to install the last upper cabinet, I discovered that I had mis-measured and I was short 1/4” between the other cabinet and the wall. Because I hadn’t glued my cabinet together, I disassembled it, cut 1/4” off top, bottom, door and back and reassembled it. POcket screws also work well for face-frame style cabinets.

One of the great advantages of building your own cabinets is that you can get exactly what you want. In my case, I built a very narrow lower cabinet in which I store cookie sheets. I also made almost all of my lower cabinets with drawers. This alone was worth all the effort. I have no dark, hard-to-reach recesses in those cabinets.

I got some great advice from a professional who told me not to build the cabinets with the kick panel. Instead, make a 3” tall, 22” deep platform in-place in the kitchen that you can level to the floor. This provides 2” of setback for the kick relief. It’s much easier to use shims to get this platform level and once you do, the cabinets are all automatically level as well.

I made my cabinets as full boxes which makes them stronger than partial-box style cabinets. I worked from the plans in Danny Proulx's book.

-- Duck tape is the new black

View rockwill's profile


2 posts in 4227 days

02-27-2012 12:55 PM

The size should be 3/4” ,it should be thick for stable fronts. Be sure to seal them well to prevent moisture from causing warping. I’m guessing you know to cut from the back side of the wood, and run through a jointer to clean up the edges when you are done cutting. Sounds like a great project. Good luck.

tree pruning

View Mike55's profile


3 posts in 4270 days

02-27-2012 02:49 PM

I don’t have a joiner but I do know to cut from the back and I will have a new fine cut blade for my table saw. If I need to clean up my edges I’ll have to do it by hand. Right now I have to concentrate on getting a job around here so I can afford to buy the materials. lol Even building your own is not cheap by any means. Thanks for all the input and I will stay in touch as time allows and provide pics when I get started.

-- endless

View loybrian's profile


2 posts in 4225 days

02-29-2012 09:37 AM

very well said that now a days building your own is not cheap by any means. I also faced lots of problems while assembling my cabinets.

We have attractive kitchen cabinets for sale

View josephf's profile


9 posts in 4020 days

02-15-2013 02:32 AM

I second “Danny Proulx” book .of the ones in my shelf his are the most helpful . I am a carpenter who builds cabinets sometimes. I want to make sure your really prepared .Materials for small scale builders can really add up .What ever you think they cost -most likely it will be more . Time to build them is amazing -some of that extra time you don’t figure in is all the sanding but so much is sucked up in figuring out the whats ,hows and when’s . Do make specific plans . Next -space -kitchen jobs use up space . There are alot of ways to them -kinda wondering what your thinking .

View Michael's profile


2 posts in 3847 days

03-13-2013 10:52 AM

There are various thing should be considered in this subject, cabinets are only boxes with a door on the front obviously, if your are remodelling an existing kitchen you will have to calculate exact dimensions and add your personal creativity to the finishing part.

View Melvin Powell's profile

Melvin Powell

6 posts in 3849 days

04-06-2013 09:30 AM

I will argue for building them yourself. If you use pre-finished ply you should be able to get the cases built & hung in a few weekends. The counter tops, sink, fixtures & appliances can then go in and you have a functional kitchen for the most part. Build the drawer boxes next & things are fully functional. The doors & drawer fronts can take however long to get the finished look but the kitchen is usable so management is happy.

-- Melvin, San Diego, http://www.xpress-restoration.com

View dbray45's profile


157 posts in 3447 days

08-31-2015 11:33 AM

New Yankee Workshop did a 3 part show on building a kitchen. I do not do the same as he did but it is a good tutorial and gives you ideas of what needs to happen during the design and build processes.

-- Love woodworking and fixing most anything

View dbray45's profile


157 posts in 3447 days

08-31-2015 12:08 PM

This will get you started


-- Love woodworking and fixing most anything

View Diyjunkie's profile


33 posts in 1958 days

06-06-2018 08:03 PM

It’s a fun and exciting project to do if you have the right instructions. It’s key to make sure you understand the right measurements for the cabinets and to ensure that you have the proper power tools. If you’re experienced in home improvement projects this shouldn’t be a tough job. I’d recommend though that you are experienced with the power tools before you start constructing your cabinets. I’m sure by now you’ve made the cabinets. Please share how they came out.

View johnfort's profile


1 post in 1927 days

06-18-2018 03:56 PM

I have been in the business(lumber yard and remodeling) for over forty years. There is pros and cons on either side of this kitchen cabinet dilemma. Lumber is not cheap anymore so I would take a look at buying them first.


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Shruti Sane

2 posts in 1832 days

10-23-2018 06:02 AM

Building a kitchen cabinet has become more difficult because it involves the choosing design, furniture as well as the construction. Kitchen remodelling becomes tough because of picking up the piece of furniture. There is an evolution in this industry and everyone remodels their home to a modern home. Pick a perfect piece of furniture for your home at furniture wholesale distributors for finding the best furniture design.

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20 posts in 1701 days

10-04-2020 11:34 AM

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