So, you all have convinced me to build my own kitchen cabinets. It seems straightforward. Make a 2×4 frame on the floor for toe kick, simplifying cabinet construction. I think I’ll go with frameless euro style. I can outsource premade drawers, fronts and doors. I think whats slowing me down, or making me a little nervous, is the placement of hinges and drawer glides. Is there a reference which would help me get the hang of it while lowering the learning curve. Hell, I’ve learned how to do everything else on this house remodel. Between learning how to cast concrete countertops, upholster walls, install radiant heat, fabricate a shower pan from scratch, and a large scale slate tile project, what’s one more skill. Of course, later I’ll have to learn how to make stained glass windows for the front.
Tips, Tricks, resources. Books help me a lot. and I’m a big Jig man, so any of those you think I should construct, let me know. Thanks,
see pics of my garage: http://neilpuck.photosite.com
Edited 3/1/2006 2:21 pm ET by neilpuck
With a few extremely simple jigs it's no problem. But make a "box" to practice and set up with. The more you standardize things, the less room for mistakes. I won't give you actual measurments because it depends on what make hardware you're using, but the idea is always straightforward.
Euro-hinges: Set a standard drilling distance for the cup from the top and bottom of your doors. You can then make a simple marking guage to set the baseplates at their proper height and depth in the cabinets. (of course depending on whether they are overlay, inset, etc.)
Drawer slides: Set a standard measure that every drawer front extends below the bottom of the slide. I use 1/8". You can then easily determine from the cabinet face what height from the bottom the slide should be placed. Cut a scrap of plywood to that height and lay the slide on it when attaching to the cabinet.
If you experiment a little it will all be obvious.
There are also adjustable feet that you can buy for leveling the cabinets and installing a removeable toe kick.
Neil, one things that works for me is that I attach all of my drawer runners before I assemble the box. I keep a set of spacers cut to various "standard" drawer opening sizes and I use these to insure a consistent and level fit.
So here's a question, i'm wading through all the hardware choices for drawer glides and door hinges. Any recommendations between KV, or Blum? Should I spring for undermount? (not really that important to me). Also trying to identify the type that has the super cool feature of drawing itself closed when the drawer comes within three inches of the cab. Not the gravity kind, but the hydraulic behavior. And OY! How is it possible there are so many types of door hinges!! and considering the different applications for them, I'm sure you cant give me exact recommendations, but if there are any best practices you can give me, would be great. And no advice would be considered too basic, I'm very adept, but this is my first time with this sort of thing.
I have had good luck with Blum under and side mounts. Undermounts are a bit easier to align, bur side mounts are the way to go if you want full extension drawers.
The 2 manufacturers you named are both excellent and I've been happy with both over the years. I'd suggest you see if there is any cabinet shop in your area who would be willing to sell them to you at a bit more than they pay for them as you'll find the mark up to be incredible if you pay retail prices for them.
I have only good things to say about Blum. You certainly can't go wrong with them. Regarding hinge types - start by defining the placement of the doors in relation to the cabinets - inset, overlay, rabbet? Then decide what angle of opening you need (perhaps different doors need different openings). Then mounting technique - quick release, etc. You'll find that you've narrowed the choice down very much.
Regarding the soft drawer-closing mechanism, IMHO go for it. My shop does a lot of custom kitchens; we don't even offer any other alternative today.
BTW, I see you're in Phila. I grew up there a long time ago...
Hi Neil. Well about two years ago I couldn't even cut a piece of wood straight. It was not my friend. However in the past 24 months I have built 2 kitchens and am on my third. The first was basically out of solid maple raised panel etc. You've just got to keep the momentum going as it's easy to slow down.Go to the Blum website for hinge info. Use Accuride slides. And with concrete countertops you'll have a great kitchen.Good luck from the Bahamas
Neil just a couple of other thoughts. Don't use corky board (compressed wood) for your boxes, use 3/4" ply. The boxes are very easy to make as you can knock them out in a day or so, and if you can maybe even buy the doors/ drawer fronts if you don't want the extra work.I had a really great article on building kitchen which contained a lot of great info and really all the gen you need to get on with the job. If you want I'll see if I can find it. email me at [email protected].Bye for now Caius
Thanks, part of the impetus for buliding them myself, is to do just that. 3/4 birch/maple plywood. I have to support a concrete countertop, so particleboard wont do. If you do find that article, I appreciate it.
I think most of what I need to know are the tricks, the finer points, clearances for glides, between drawers, best practices if you will.
Neil. I was just thumbing through my back issues and just found it. If you give me your email I can send you scanned pages. I am [email protected].Regards Caius
I'm about to do concrete tops as well. I have both of Cheng's books. It doesn't look that hard.Caius
I've actually already done concrete countertops using cheng's system. They came out beautifully. Did vanity tops, tub surround, corner shelves for the shower, and a half round seat. I sprung for the wet polisher knowing I'd use it again for the kitchen, and maybe sub myself out for some small projects. Follow the recipes closely, and you should be fine. Have extra bags on site, just in case. they suggest using silicone caulk on the inside corners, and as clean as I tried to keep the bead, I still ended up with a beaded roundover on the corner. If you can seal the form to the substrate without caulking the inside corner, I would do so. Also, use melamine as your base, but then get the sheets of really smooth bathroom type paneling, 12 bucks a sheet, but way smoother than melamine, cuts down polishing time. Good luck!
http://neilpuck.photosite.com for pics of the bathroom and concrete.
Hi Neil. many thanks for that. Now just getting the Old Trout to finalise her kitchen design and colours, the battle will be then half won.I'm actually just finishing off my house which I started from scratch just over a year ago. Used ICFs for the walls and SIPs for the roof and a total of 250 yds of concrete to fill it all up and it's only a 3 bedroom house of 1,800sq ft. but with a 20,000 gallon rainwater tank under the floor.Anyway I'll get this article over to you a just a bit..Caius
Neil, "bathroom panelling" can you illucidate me? Brand name? Material?
In the paneling section of your local big box store, they have all that ugly 5mm paneling with fake wood grain. And they also have one choice of hardboard which has a super smooth white surface to use in a bathroom. I don't know the brand names, but I'm sure all of the bos stores carry it. If you can't find it, melamine does a fine job, but anything to cut down on the polishing saves time as well as those $$$$ diamond polishing discs.
I much prefer Salice hinges if you can get them. They are all metal and cheaper in price.
It sounds like you're doing a lot of the same things that we've done. We did our kitchen with the concrete counter tops. We poured in place. We're pleased with the outcome, although getting there was rough. I didn't build my cabinets for the kitchen, but watched the cabinet maker who did.
So, now that I'm outfitting the tower that we built, I just finished making the boxes and upper shelves for a built-in unit on the second floor. I also bought the doors and drawer fronts. I made the drawers and have discovered that putting the fronts on and getting things even and lined up is really a bear.
http://www.draftymanor.com/house/remodel/ to see the kitchen. We switched rooms in our house and put the living room in the kitchen and the kitchen in the living room. That was such a success that my husband was talking into letting us build a tower (to eventually turn the house into a castle). http://www.draftymanor.com/house/tower/ to see that.
http://www.draftymanor.com/house/tower/pg30.html to see the cabinets at the most recent stage I've taken pictures of. I am still working at realizing that mixing wood isn't really a good thing. Our take is that once the shelves are filled with books and stuff, you won't notice the uppers are oak and the lowers aren't....
If I can build this stuff, you'll have no problem. I do know that the BB people now avoid me if they see me pushing around a cart of plywood. I had them do all my cuts for the cabinets and boxes. I have a table saw, but 3/4" plywood sheets are heavy and I could stop off in my mini and pick up the wood if it were cut up. There were errors, but I adapted or shaved off extra when needed. Just about all that's left is sealing the back and figuring out what routering I'll do to make the molding. This wood stuff is a lot of fun.
use blum undermount softclose,
buy the drawers from Valen drawers, you can order online and they will make the drawer to fit the blum slide.
Could you enlighten me an the exact process of the concrete counter top. Any info would be appreciated.
Just found this thread - hope this info helps.
Check out the prefinished plywood - a HUGE timesaver. The brand I get is called NOVA - sealer + 2 coats of UV-cure clear epoxy. The stuff is tuff! I played around with the Burgess Edge (you can Google it) for the plywood edging but found it's easier just to glue & clamp hardwood strips (slightly oversized) and then use a laminate trimmer to cut the edging flush. Since the plywood thickness varies this gives the best final fit. I like my edging to be 1/8" thick; gives me an automatic setback for the drawer glides. Of course you can always use glue-on edging - much faster - but call me old-fashioned, I prefer wood.
One poster said that you need to go with side-mount for full-extension - not true. Blum Tandem undermounts are pricy but VERY smooth and are full extension. They include the self-close feature. For an extra $8 - $10 per drawer you can get the "soft-close" feature. I just apply 3M 1/16" thick clear pads to the 4 corners of the drawer front with completely satisfactory results, at a few cents per drawer.
For the base you can use 3/4" plywood. I went with deep cabs to support a 30" deep countertop and so had scrap available for the base.
The key to successful euro-style is a square box, so you need a very accurate setup for cutting. Unless you have a lot of space and support for those big sheets of plywood you might consider something like a circ saw and guide system to get the sheets down to managable size. This one has gotten lots of raves from pros over in Breaktime: http://www.eurekazone.com/index.html
Since I used prefinished plywood glue doesn't stick very well. I pin the cases with an 18-Guage nail gun then drill/countersink and put it all together with screws. Fine woodworking? Hey, it's cabinets, not furniture! Rock solid and if you screw up it's a whole heck of a lot easier to fix - LOL.
Great idea going to a supplier for the drawers and door fronts - man, are they a lot of work!
Great project you have there - keep those pic's coming!
Just to add a comment on Eurekazone and kitchen cabinets. I run a fulltime cabinet shop and have purchased a lot of the Eurekazone EZ Smart stuff. I'm Just recovering form open heart surgery and am finally strong enough to give Dino's latest setup a workout. Yesterday, I cut up three sheets of 3/4" birch ply with the EZ Cabinet maker. This setup combines an EZ Guide rail, a EZ Sliding Square and a EZ Repeater. I cut all the plywood for 7 bookcases - no marks - no tape measure - no ruler. The work went fast and was very easy. When I finished, my employee said, "You realize that you couldn't have physically done that with the unisaw and panel saw"! I thought about it and he was absolutely correct. I don't have the strength to push that full sheet of plywood thru the table saw.
By using the Cabinet Maker, I just got the sheet on the Smart Table and started cutting - Cross cutting first and rip cuts second. To check my accuracy, I measured the scraps left over from the rips. I had 7 scraps laying in front of me. 4 rips had been taken from each scrap. There was less than 1/16" difference in the width of the scraps.
The EZ System is the best way I have found to make kitchen cabinets. At first I felt kind of silly leaving my unisaw and panel saw setting while I used the EZ Cabinet Maker but the proof is in the product. Cuts were of good quality, accurate and square. Speed was at least as fast and it took a lot less work to get it done. So accuracy, speed and less work - what more could you ask for?
It's great to hear that the EZ works so well in this situation. Even better that it gives you a way to get back to work! What blade do you use in your saw? Any tearout on the veneer when crosscutting?
The blade came from Lowes and cost about $15. It was a 40 tooth and I believe it was a Marathon. There was no tearout when cross cutting the veneer.
When I first got the EZ, I was crosscutting Oak plywood with a 24 tooth makita blade and got no tearout.
I had expected the EZ to be good, but it has exceeded my expectations. As for customer service, I haven't seen anyone more concerned about their customers than Dino.
I am eternally grateful for all of your suggestions. Using them and browsing the catalogs, I think i'm coming up with a good plan. I will post my choices and look for more input as I go along. I also got dad to buy me a drill press for the job. Nice to have a father who lives vicariously through you.
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