Friday, September 14, 2012

Home Built Cabinets

   There's a guy who reads this that, over a year ago, asked me how I build cabinets without a workshop.  I've never posted this many pictures but I wanted to show step by step.

 1) Figure out your dimensions.  Cut a piece of 3/4" plywood the height of the cabinet, and double the width---plus at least 1/4".  Use a router (if you're lucky enough to have a table saw with a dado blade you probably know more about building cabinets than I do) to cut a track everywhere you want a shelf, and the bottom, and the top.

I just clamp my 4' level for the staight edge guide...Here's why you made the plywood piece twice the depth of your cabinet-----

Now you can cut it apart intot he left and right sides and the kerfs will match up perfectly.  With a steady hand and a skilsaw you don't really have to have a table saw.  Run both sides through so they are the same (that's why you added at least 1/4" , to make up for the saw blade kerf)

  Whatever material you're using for the back, cut a rabbet along the back edge.  I found some 3/16" luann for $6 a sheet so the rabbet is 3/16" deep.
  Drill a little pilot hole every 6" through all the grooves, then again from the other side with a countersink bit so your assembly screws can be covered with wood fill later.  Now you can assemble the carcass.

  It's easiest if you clamp it together a little loose so you can tap the shelves into place.  If the shelf won't have a face frame across the front of it it's a good idea to use some iron on veneer so it will take paint better than a cut plywood edge, so tap the shelf back away from the sides whatever the thinckness of the iron on stuff is---abuot 1/32".

  You probably don't need giant holes in your shelves.  This cabinet holds the range hood and the holes are for the vent chase and the power cord.
   Flip the carcass over and measure the height and the distance between the left and right rabbets.   Cut your backing material accurate and square---this is when you square up the carcass,  Nail it along one edge, then just force the carcass in line with a perpendicular edge.  Mark where the shelves are and nail it there, too.  If you have to cut out for plumbing or electrical, just bring that backing inside and mark and cut now, then put it on.
  Here's the one special tool you gotta get---a Kreg jig.   It's a pocket drill guide with a special two stage bit, and a clamp that holds pieces of the face frame in place so you can screw them together.  There are little kits that are just dowels and this little metal thing you put in the hole you drilled that marks the mating board, but they never quite line up.
      Here it is all done with the face frame nailed on.  AnnaMarie really likes the re-puposed pallet look (I wouldn't use pallets---so loaded with insecticide and fungicide) so I bought cedar fence pieces and cut them to do a crate-look veneer on all the parts that show.  They'll get painted a gloss white.  Lining up the vents while installing the cabinet  Not.


Byron Grams said...

I like the stepped depths of the cabinets. It is much more visually interesting than making them all the same. You have lots of cool ideas.

Just the other day I saw an infomercial for the drilling jig you use. Because of the media nature I was auto-skeptic on how convenient it actually was. Maybe I should give it another look.

Byron Grams said...

I see you are still using drywall screws. UGH- I hate those damn things! I lost track of how many have twisted the heads off in the worst places. I spend a little more and get the deck screws either grey or tin coated and end up with far less frustration and lower blood pressures now.

flyingvan said...

Thanks---the stepped effect sorta maximized shelf space while minimizing living space. I should get product placement $$$ for Kreg jig. And Ryobi. And Sam Adams. AnnaMarie wants to know where her iron went---hey it said 'Black and Decker' on it....
I've found the coarse thread drywall screws tend to pull the cabinets together well without splitting the plywood where it goes in between the laminated layers. The deck screws have thicker shaft. I just set the slip on the driver to 15 and they don't seem to break. Also I keep them short---2" is plenty.

flyingvan said...

Why in the world would you buy a Kreg jig?? You've got really high tool credit rating, considering I have your ladder, table saw, clamps, screw jacks.....