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Thread: Kitchen cabinet consrtuction/installation - Full disclosure

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Constantine, MI

    Question Kitchen cabinet consrtuction/installation - Full disclosure

    Just asking here - this should not be construed to mean anything other than an expression of curiosity.

    In the construction of kitchen cabinets, I've seen a process where the boxes are built without the toe kick - flat bottomed if you will - and 4" shorter than normal. Then a frame of 4" x 3/4" plywood strips is placed on the floor, leveled, and fastened. The boxes sit on this frame. This has the advantage of easier box construction and only having the frame to level rather than each individual box. Speedier installation, I should think.

    Anyone ever tried this method in a kitchen? It is the method I used for my bedroom built-ins and, IIRC, it went pretty well.
    Last edited by Rennie Heuer; 08-10-2010 at 01:34 AM.
    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

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    I haven't used it in any of the previous cabinet installs I've done, but I will plan to do this on my next one that I build cabinets for. I couldn't see any disadvantages to doing them that way. I typically fasten the cabinets around the top rim and behind the facing on the sides anyway. I'd think this method would make leveling easier as well.

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    Not only kitchen cabinets, Rennie, but all built-ins. Do it all the time. Whole lot easier and faster. Doing another batch of floor to ceiling bookshelves now. 5 units in lowers and uppers, 12 feet long and between walls, sitting on separate toe kick/risers (for lack of another term).

  4. #4
    Yes I have and it works very well. I've worked in two shops that does cabinets like that. One in Baltimore and one in Houston. You also have the added benefit of a better yield from the sheet stock for the cabinets.

    Personally for myself I build the cabinets as long as possible to minimize joints.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    i have seen it done both ways and have done it the other way, but the cabs were made as such to be done like the other. the riser method makes for easier leveling on bad floors rennie.
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
    My last kitchen, I used a 2 X 4 (on edge) grid to make the platform/toe kick, and then faced it with my flooring material.

    Cabinet boxes were built as you suggest. It did make the levelling much easier.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Last edited by John Bartley; 11-29-2010 at 01:59 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Constantine, MI
    Thanks to all that answered. Jan and I have been shopping for kitchen cabinets for a month now. We've been on a roller coaster! For our little 10 x 10 kitchen the cabinet prices have come in anywhere from $7,800 to over $12,000. Yes, that is JUST the cabinets. Add $2,500 for counter tops. We've priced local custom shops, Borgs, and local lumber dealers. Even with some great pricing promotions at the Borgs the cost seems to be too high - especially when you consider we have been pricing the entry level lines from the major manufacturers (like Kraftmaid, etc.) and the boxes at that level are 1/2 particle board! The furniture builder in me cringes at the thought. As for the "low end, off the shelf" stuff, pure trash.

    I've been toying with the idea of doing my own cabinets. I've got an email out to my supplier for the price on pre-finished plywood for the boxes. I'm not sure about the doors and face frames yet, but I'm toying with the idea of using the same vertical grain doug fir I'm using for all the woodwork. I know it's soft, but we have no kids to bang it up so it should fair pretty well.

    I keep sitting down a taking deep breaths in hopes that the feeling will pass. It's just that I think I can save about $3,000 doing it myself and that includes buying a new track saw to break down the sheets. Once I have all the costs together I should be able to nail down a number.

    For the time being I'm busy scraping down 600 sf of popcorn ceiling. That should keep me occupied for another few days. Then, I guess, I'll have to make a decision as the sales on the cabinets end at the end of the month.
    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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    Even if it was a break even situation or it cost you a bit more I think you would be happier making your own.. Jonathan are you following this thread ??
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Plainwell, Michigan
    Lets go Rennie, make your own I do not have an exact total of mine but I know I am BELOW your high price for my kitchen.......including purchasing my entire shop. Your already have your shop, you HAVE the knowledge and skills to do it, you have a new great assistant, so join Alan and me and let us follow along. You know you want to and I know it WILL BE GREAT

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