My Dream Kitchen
Norm's 20 essential tips for making cabinets to suit a modern lifestyle
Synopsis: Turn the kitchen you dream about into your dream kitchen with help from Norm Abram, host of The New Yankee Workshop. This kitchen, featured on the 2008 season of the PBS program, is a project Abram has wanted to do for some time. Stripped to its basics, the method Abram uses for building kitchen cabinets is straightforward: plywood cases, joined with glued and screwed dado and rabbet joints; solid face frames, assembled with pocket screws and joined to the cases with glue and biscuits; applied beads and moldings; drawer boxes dovetailed using a router jig. He also offers his favorite tips and techniques for designing a custom kitchen, as gathered over a 35-year career.
For a couple of reasons, the upcoming 2008 season of The New Yankee Workshop is a special one for everyone involved. First, it’s our 20th anniversary, and we’re especially proud of that milestone. Second, a good part of our entire season—nine episodes—will be devoted to showing our viewers how to build a custom dream kitchen. It’s a project I’ve wanted to do for a long time. And now that the kitchen is complete, I feel it was well worth the wait.
For more than 35 years now, I’ve had a hand in designing, building, and installing a good many kitchen cabinets. And during that time, I’ve managed to learn a lot about what works well and what doesn’t.
This article is a collection of my favorite tips and techniques, organized into those three essential stages: design, construction, and installation. I hope you find them useful, and that they help you turn the kitchen you dream about into your dream kitchen.
My basic approach
I think most home woodworkers will find my method of building kitchen cabinets relatively straightforward. The plywood case is held together with glued and screwed dado and rabbet joints. Solid-wood face frames are assembled with pocket screws and joined to the case with glue and biscuits. To simplify the process, beads and moldings are applied after the fact. drawer boxes are dovetailed using a router jig. The result is a handsome, versatile, rock-solid cabinet that is easy to build with common woodworking tools.
Why build your own kitchen?
Custom cabinets mean you’re not limited to standard cabinet sizes. granted, you’ll generally want to stay with standard dimensions, but when a non-standard cabinet makes sense for the way you use a kitchen, go ahead and break the rule. one caution: Make sure your changes meet all local code requirements.
You also can customize the style when you make your own cabinets. Commercially available cabinets come in a wide range of styles from colonial to contemporary, but that doesn’t mean you’ll find one that’s perfect for you. Style options are unlimited when you are the designer.
From Fine Woodworking #196
For the full article, download the PDF below: