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Thread: Kitchen Cabinets - New Door Stiles & Rails

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Kitchen Cabinets - New Door Stiles & Rails


    Our home has been steadily "improved" since we bought it new about 10 years ago. What remains though are the terrible melamine kitchen cabinets with their embarrassedly inadequate drawer slides. The doors and drawer fronts are great, it is just the boxes that are cheaply made. We are planning to sell our house next year and are going to resurface the counters (with granite or such). The problem is that the diagonal corner wall cabinet started sliding down the wall, pulling the cabinets to either side down with them. No problem I told the boss (better known as the wife), I will pull them off the wall; take them into the shop; fix the problem cab and have them back by the end of labor day weekend.

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    The problem?

    I just could not make the necessary fix and put them back on the wall. I got to looking at how poorly the cabs were assembled and convinced myself that since the doors and drawer fronts were fine, all I needed to do was to make new boxes and eventually new drawers (out of prefinished birch or maple), but use the existing doors and drawer fronts. Easy!

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    The dumb part? That's me coming up with this idea with all that I have going right now. The dumber part? That's the "boss" thinking that it was a great idea. Of course the dumbest part was not deciding this course of action before I took the cabinets off the wall. The smart thing would have been to build the new boxes first and then empty the old ones. Now we have the following situation (that is only the portion of what was in the cabs!).

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    My plan is to come up with construction details so that I can work up a cutlist before Saturday when I plan to go to Seattle and buy enough prefinished ply to complete these first 4 cabs. I will be having a few questions in the next day or two that I hope the more experienced kitchen cabinets makers can help me with. So in advance thanks for any input.
    Last edited by Bill Satko; 12-30-2008 at 01:50 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Between Aledo and Fort Worth, TX
    I've got one better for you. LOML and I bought our first house in 1982. The kitchen cabinets were painted a dull yellow color with horrible ceramic tile for counter tops. We moved in July 4th weekend. I took the following week off for vacation. I convinced Glenna that I could build new cabinets with my Craftsman RAS. Wouldn't take long at all. So I demolished the kitchen down to the studs. Did the drywall and started back with the cabinets, moving the fridge 14" away from the outside wall, and making that a pantry. We got the counter tops on the Wed. of Thanksgiving. Her parents were to be here for Thanksgiving meal!!!!! It all worked out, even though it was a few more years before we decided on a door design that I was comfortable building.
    So you aren't the only one that rips before building. At least you don't have to eat out as much as we did those 4 1/2 months!! On the bright side, Glenna learned how to cook a meal in the microwave rather than just heat food up in it. Jim.
    Coolmeadow Setters...
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    Home of Irish Setter Rescue of North Texas
    When Irish Eyes are smiling, they're usually up to something!!
    At a minimum, I'm Pentatoxic...but most likely, I'm a Pentaholic. There seems to be no known cure. Pentatonix, winners of The Sing Off, season 3

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Houston, Texas
    Hi Bill ,
    Hopefully Chris and Todd to name a few will see your thread. "Jim O" is not far off from center. Too often we see the problem, realize the solution, and set about to fix it. In a perfect world you would be done by now. You will do well. The cabinets you took out fit, use them if you can for the overall dimensions. Do the uppers before you decide to disrupt the lowers in my humble opinion.
    I am a registered voter and you can be too. We ( registered voters ) select the moderators for this forum by voting every six months for the people we want to watch over this family forum.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    if you`re using prefinished anything including melimine use roo glue it works.
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan

    no supper for you!!!

    till you get those cabs fixed,, you had better hurry up there bill,, i have had some of her cookin and your gonna miss it
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Constantine, MI

    Bill - suffice it to say that you are not the only person to have ever done this. DAMHIKT
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    North West Indiana
    Bill wish I could say, "been there done that", but I can only say, "been there STILL THERE!!!!!!!!!!". Yep pretty understanding wife and living with plywood cabinet shell that actually is the prototype!

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Southern Louisiana
    hey bill,

    well let me add a "smarter" to the equation. at least you have the nerve to try and tackle a project like this and improve the quality of your cabinets. not everyone has the "know how" or the time to do such things.

    i believe you will be suprised how easy it can be with a well laid out plan and execution. in my opinion doors are the hard part, and you already have some examples of the boxes to go off of.

    ask any questions you need to, i am confident one of the fine folks here will be able to offer assistance.

    good luck.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Jim, Rennie and Jonathan

    Thanks for the "been there, done that" confessions. Misery does like company. I actually had a good first plan, a quick fix and back they go. But I never felt comfortable about about these cabinets and once I pulled them from the wall, I knew I had to do the job right. It needed to match with everything we have done so far and what we planned. I should have realized my tendency in these things and planned from the start to replace the boxes. Then I would have built some boxes first (without tearing the kitchen apart) and then make a swap. Now I am under the gun to quickly replace what I have torn down to bring order to my wife's mind, which directly brings peace to my mind. Trust me on this. Once I get these replaced, I will slowly bit off portions of the eventually total replacement.

    Chris & Robert

    I do plan to use the existing cabinets to determine my sizes, as I will be using the existing doors and hardware. The existing cabs are built with some dowels, some screws , but mostly just nailed and all the joints are butt joints. So in addition to changing from particle board to plywood, I am going to strengthed the boxes by improving the construction method. That is the part I am trying to work method of construction. And Yes, I plan on doing the uppers first before getting around to the lowers. I will be doing this in segments in order to minimize disruption and also because I only have so much space in the shop (not enough to have a complete kitchen stored there).


    Thanks for the link to Roo glue. I have heard others refer to this glue, but have not run across around here. My plan is to buy prefinished clear maple or birch plywood and build the boxes. The boxes are euro style and I will stay that way because of the existing door hardware (I prefer face frames because of the added strength). I will edge the ply with wood painted white (the cabinet exteriors are white), and I am leaning to glued and screwed rabbet and dado joints. Would you use the Roo Clear in this case?


    If hunting season was not coming up, I would be worried about you popping your head in the door checking on my progress. You do seem to get around. Besides, you know where I keep the Newcastle Ale! Don't worry about me not getting fed. You will notice that I kept a clear path to the barbecue and the fridge. I may be dumb, but not THAT dumb.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Change in Plans

    It has been two weeks since my last post about building new kitchen cabinets and I have not cut one piece of wood for them!

    I wanted to get that out of way. I have my reasons and no I am not trying to challenge Ned for the longest running project.

    I have actually been very busy getting prepared to cut that piece of wood! I will attempt to explain what I have been doing. Normally it would all seem very reasonable and justifiable as to why it is taking me this long to just start this project. The problem is that Stu is over there in Japan tearing down entire apartment buildings, battling city hall, and the local fire department all in a few days. In the time it has taken me to write this out, he has probably rebuilt the aparto!

    Well enough of that, time to get to my reasons (excuses). On Saturday (August 30) I went to pickup my sheet goods. I found out that my sources for pre-finished birch plywood dry-ed up in Bellingham and I had to travel down to Seattle. We survived the trip and returned with 5 sheets of 3/4 and 2 sheets of 1/4.

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    Now I had all this material and I needed to figure out where to put it. This made me to do a hard assessment of what state my shop was in to pull this project off. I could work through the situation, but decided I did not want that kind of stress in my hobby, because then it would be more like my work. So we (the boss had to be consulted here) decided to get the shop ready so that this project could be pulled off as a pleasant experience.

    First I hauled a full truck load of wood scraps that I have been saving for quite a while to the dump. Then a another truck load of "stuff" that had managed to sneak into the shop was hauled to a storage unit we have. Below are pictures of my cleaned up wood storage area. Further posts will highlight what else has been done to my shop space and some tool modifications that were needed.
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    Last edited by Bill Satko; 09-09-2008 at 04:39 AM.

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