Kitchen Cabinets #1: Getting Started

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Blog entry by AnthonyC posted 05-05-2011 02:35 PM 1633 reads 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Kitchen Cabinets series Part 2: The grand sell-out »

Well it is finally starting: my job has relaxed a bit in workload, I have the tools, a design, and some of the raw materials. Time to build an entire kitchen!

The home is an older, but not historic farmhouse colonial (~1970’s construction). Kitchen is about 15’ x 20’ and opens up to the family room, since I blew out the wall separating them.

We purchased a John Boos oval butcher block island as a centerpiece. The style will be a traditional colonial (simple, but not mission simple). There are not that many cabinets, so inset doors would have limited usable space too much (which is a shame because I really like the look). So partial overlay doors, flat panel, with a beaded cope and stick construction.

If I can pull it off, I am going to try an exterior quirk bead detail around the perimeter of the doors. This will involve some hand tools in the corners, so I’m going to try some test pieces first.

Poplar face frames and doors. MDF flat panels. Prefinished maple ply for interiors and drawer bottoms. Solid maple for drawer boxes.

I will use pocket screws for much of the construction with biscuits and the aforementioned cope and stick for drawer fronts and doors.

Painted finish (white/off-white) with a reddish brown glaze. Still debating whether to top coat with a conversion varnish, or leave them painted to make touch up and refinishing easier.

Assembly List:
Big Fridge Cabinet
Tall Storage Cabinet
Tall Oven Cabinet
Drawer Base
Super-Susan Corner
Farmhouse Sink Base
Trash Base
Rangetop Base
Standard Base
Corner Upper
Large Upper
Fake Soffit for over-sink (to hide plumbing)
(optional) Range Hood cover
Barn Door for Pantry (40” x 36” semi-walk-in)

So not a huge list of cabinets but enough to scare me. I’ve built speakers, aquarium stands, nightstands, bookcases, and shop cabinets before.

My son’s first birthday is in early September, so I’d like to get the whole kitchen remodel done by then. A nice summer project.

Up next: pictures of the plan (in Sketchup).

-- Amateur woodworker, professional mess-maker.

7 comments so far

View sarahss's profile


258 posts in 2702 days

#1 posted 05-05-2011 03:18 PM

gearing up to do something similar later this year. can’t wait to see your progress!

View AnthonyC's profile


50 posts in 2960 days

#2 posted 05-05-2011 05:55 PM

I still need to work on the tall storage cabinet and fridge cabinet, but here’s a preliminary shot of what I hope this will look like:

-- Amateur woodworker, professional mess-maker.

View jeffbranch's profile


110 posts in 2705 days

#3 posted 05-05-2011 07:10 PM

I need to do this too, but not until next year or later. Nice illustration, and an ambitious project. How long do you think it will take to complete?



View AnthonyC's profile


50 posts in 2960 days

#4 posted 05-05-2011 07:31 PM

My plan is a couple of weeks to prototype a door and end panel to make sure I like the look/finish and that I am capable of pulling this off :)

After that, I should be able to knock out the face frames in a week or so and then start on the carcasses. I’m giving myself a month or so to do those and another month for the doors and drawers. A couple weeks of finish work and then onto the kitchen proper (flooring, some light plumbing, and a lot of moving electrical).

We’re still deciding on things like backsplash, lighting, and other furnishings, but now that I have a layout, I can at least get started on the cabinets.

I did go to a remodeling center to get a quote for the cabinets I wanted: $22k retail, $16k on sale and that was for applied end panels (just a big door on a sheet of plywood) and me still doing all the installation and trim work. It’s only $5k in raw materials, including pulls, pullouts, slides, and finish. At that point I knew I was on the right track.

-- Amateur woodworker, professional mess-maker.

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3378 days

#5 posted 05-05-2011 07:59 PM

Ah, I have been plotting mine for 2 years now. It’s such an endeavour. The sketch looks great. For those corner pieces you might want to try swing out doors. I get so tired of reaching way into the back of my current ones.

View alan coon's profile

alan coon

115 posts in 3766 days

#6 posted 05-05-2011 11:12 PM

Look’s very nice, should be an fairly easy build. All you need is time,lol Just’s for my son 48 doors.kit,bath,bed. Best of luck.

-- Al, South E. Az., But it's a dry heat.

View Luke's profile


290 posts in 2740 days

#7 posted 05-06-2011 01:44 AM

Be cautious of swing out doors and the hinge construction, my Parents had custom cabinets built and they probably have 6-8 swing out doors, and all of them have ripped the hinges out multiple times due to the weight on the end of the cabinet.

Looks like it will be great!

Have you ever considered having the doors manufactured? I know most every cabinet guy in my local area has a door place do their doors for them, time, money and consistency all being factored into the mix.

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