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Thread: Laying Out Cabinetwork

  1. #1
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    Laying Out Cabinetwork

    Many of the drawing programs may not present the actual details as they occur. I have a method I use for laying out that may help. I take all my wall measurements and details like plumbing, electrical outlets, windows, door casings, appliances, etc. Then I cut out a mock countertop from anything, like 1/4" plywood, or, if it's to be a laminated top, the actual 3/4" plywood that will be the countertops. I cut them out to fit the overall layout as per the wall measurements. Where there's a break in countertops like for a slide in stove, I'll cut a filler top for the spacing. Brown paper could be used in place of a panel. But I find maneuvering the paper layout and fitting cabinets to it pretty much destroys it.

    Then I lay out the tops and draw right on the tops the base cabinets as they go. I also draw right on the tops the upper cabinets, as they go. Doing this accomplishes several things. When I say draw, it's not just the outside lines for the carcasses, but the actual thickness of the carcase walls. That way, the planning for the joinery and figuring the finished ends can be done. If dadoes and rabbets or whatever joinery methods are being used, it will give the exact size of all the parts.

    This method will also solve all clearance and fitting situations. If the countertop pieces are cut exactly to the needed wall dimensions, and everything above and below it is drawn to fit, they most likely will fit. Any filler pieces can be easily figured out.

    With this done, you have the whole kitchen laid out, and all the sizes of all the pieces needed can be transcribed to lists for figuring materials, cut lists, and possibly an order for a sequence of assembly. For shops with limited space, once the boxes go together, space becomes a premium.

    With everything detailed, an accurate materials list, cut list, and layout sketch can be made. All the parts can be numbered or lettered and transferred to the list, and that way, you'll know what is cut what isn't, and in the end if anything is missing. Parts marked that way won't get used for anything other than what they are intended. I like to make several copies of all the wall elevation drawings. They don't even have to be to scale. Right on one set titled "cabinets" will be all the numbers or letters for the boxes, another set titled "doors and drawer fronts" will have door and drawer front numbers or letters, and likewise for shelves. The drawers are also marked. With these drawings, at any time during the project, I know what part is what, and where it goes. These drawings help in making the cut list, and as parts are cut, they just get marked and checked off.

    Once all the boxes are assembled, they should fit right on the countertop drawing. If elevation drawings are made, all the marked parts, such as door and drawer front numbers or letters will match the actual parts.

    For layouts other than kitchens, that don't utilize a countertop per se, a mock panel to represent the overall depth and width can be used, and then in plan (view), the drawing can be done. For working out elevation details, they can be drawn out full size on brown paper.

    Those drawings, and lists with all the parts will tell you what and where everything goes even before you turn on the saw.





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  2. #2
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    Sorry that the above post was not worthy of any kind of comment. This is not intended to generate a response.



    Last edited by mike marvel; 03-19-2012 at 12:24 AM.

  3. #3
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    Sorry. I didn't see any questions to answer.

    It's an interesting approach and it evidently works well for you. The drawing programs only show what you put into them. I guess your plywood drawings is the same in that respect.

    I'd still do it digitally by laying out the walls with plumbing fittings and other important details included. That would save me a lot of effort in horsing around the full size plywood drawings and I believe I could get the same information. I would also be able to easily keep the file for later reference in the event I needed it.

    Many ways to achieve the same results. It's good to have a choice.
    Irony: The opposite of Wrinkly

  4. #4
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    Mike please dont take a lack of comments to heart, i have a sincere high regard for you abilities and contributions, personally i read this post but could not follow it. I know you have a ton you could impart to guys like me that would be worth its weight in gold but i felt a little dammed if i do and dammed if i dont when i read your thread.

    Some pics or drawings might have helped me understand it better. I cannot follow how it can be as accurate as you say simply from the description.

    BTW i use the heavy duty roofing brown paper in my shop its kinda like card rolled up. I was kinda taking it that you use this in your process, but in my experience with the stuff its the last of the controllable materials. It folds and curves. So i cannot see how i can use something like that on my own and make a story board out of it that would be accurate. That is if i understood your post.

    I did not want to offer any comment simply because i have never installed cabinets and obviously have a very simplistic view of the challenges.

    I would like to learn from you having seen your work there is no doubt in my mind you are a serious pro. But you gotta think of the idiots like me when you explain it.

    This is what makes this a tough medium to communicate on.
    Rob .....Alias John Wayne now Pasquinell da trapper.

    "forget the apples slap some bacon on a biscuit and lets go...

    We're burning daylight"

  5. #5
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    Sounds like a lot of extra work, but probably cuts your error's down to zilch. I'm probably in the same boat as Dave, I like to have drawings for future reference in electronic form. About the only time I've done physical templates is with counter tops. I usually cut 1/4" underlayment about 3"-4" wide, cut a strip to the length of the wall, scribe and cut it to fit, then hot glue the pieces together. Gives me a template to match the wall perfectly this way.
    Darren

    A determined soul will do more with a rusty monkey wrench than a loafer will accomplish with all the tools in a machine shop. Robert Hughes (1938-2012), Australian art critic

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Richards View Post
    Sorry. I didn't see any questions to answer.
    Sorry I didn't get to respond to this sooner. I didn't ask any questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Richards View Post
    It's an interesting approach and it evidently works well for you. The drawing programs only show what you put into them. I guess your plywood drawings is the same in that respect.

    I'd still do it digitally by laying out the walls with plumbing fittings and other important details included. That would save me a lot of effort in horsing around the full size plywood drawings and I believe I could get the same information. I would also be able to easily keep the file for later reference in the event I needed it.

    Many ways to achieve the same results. It's good to have a choice.
    Laying out in full size on a substrate enables one to draw out to scale all the details and joinery as it will be. The same sheet can be used for both upper and base cabinets as in a kitchen layout, or even for a multi stage wall system. It can be on some inexpensive sheet stock, like thin MDF. It's not a matter of "horsing around full sized plywood". For kitchens, only a 25" panel is needed. Multi-level tops or islands may require a wider piece. If a laminate or tile top will be the ultimate top, the substrate can end up being the substrate for that top.

    Once the cabinets are assembled, they should fit the pattern exactly. If they do, they will fit when installed. Because it's drawn on sheet stock, whatever drawings were made on paper that fits in a folder can be saved for the future. The sheet stock drawings are not saved. Some woodworkers don't have or may not be competent with CAD programs. Computers can crash, data may not have been backed up, and pencil and paper drawings seem to me to be a sensible format for reference.




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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Keeble View Post

    Some pics or drawings might have helped me understand it better. I cannot follow how it can be as accurate as you say simply from the description.
    It's actually pretty simple. Lets say you have an 8' long set of kitchen cabinets with a Formica top. You've already done a pencil and paper drawing, or created digital ones. You cut out a substrate, could be anything, but since you will be laminating a top, you decide to use " plywood. From your paper drawings, you draw right on the plywood all the parts for the base cabinets...including all the ends and dividers. From that you have allowed on the plywood any overhangs on the ends or the front. So, as you draw the ends, you have the actual size of the floor, and the ends, and the back. This will include all the stretcher rails to tie together all the vertical pieces, and a hang rail to install. You have also drawn in the joints, like the rabbets or dadoes, so your piece dimensions are exact. When that cabinet section is assembled, it should fit right on the pencil lines you drew on the plywood.

    On that same sheet, you then draw out the upper cabinets, and line up any vertical alignment that is necessary. And, you do the same process with the uppers as you did with the base cabinets. So, lets say you have the cabinets done. You can set up the base cabinets, lay on the counter top, and set in place the upper cabinets...and all should line up. For simple boxes this seems like overkill, but not all projects are that simple. It's a working habit that becomes second nature.




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