My First Kitchen Cabinet Project

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Project by JasonA posted 02-25-2009 05:37 PM 3851 views 6 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

We’ll after 300 Hours, 3 months, and $6000…. I’m finally done with my kitchen renovation. I’ve been meaning to post on lumberjocks for sometime just never got around to it, thought this would be a good one to start! After living in my house for a couple of years I was tired of my wife complaining about the kitchen cabinets and how inefficient and impractical they were, so I took action and built her, from scratch, a complete custom kitchen. Looking back on it… probably won’t do something this big again (partly because I have a full time job (Mech. Engineer) and two kids) but now that it’s over it feels pretty good to have been a cabinet maker, demo guy, plumber, electrician, dry wall guy, painter, and finally the clean up guy! I’m a diehard DIY’er, so I did it all (other than installing the granite, very very heavy).

So the details, started out with a load of 3/4 Baltic birch ply (non-prefinished, first mistake! I’m cheap and times are tough, right? ), 74 board feet of cherry, and a few sheets of 5.2mm (1/4 ply) for doors. The design is frameless; I found that this type of cabinet design, for me, will allow the most access and space vs. face frame designs. Total of 15 cabinets, 26 doors, and 7 drawers. The doors are standard panel doors stained with GF’s warm cherry oil base stain, with 3 coats of gloss General Finishes Water base (GF WB) polyacrylic, then a final GF WB Satin coat. I tell everyone I was going for a more contemporary look when they ask why there not raised panel, just too expensive, and a load more work. The base cabinets are your standard frameless boxes, I edge banded with cherry, stained, and then shot (HVLP) the whole cabinet with gloss GF WB acrylic. Holding up pretty well. I did a few custom features like a pull out trash can, double pull out pot/pan drawer, 36 diameter double lazy susan, and added a few more drawers than the originals (2 moderately useless and 2 completely useless drawers, old kitchen picture is attached.. The white one!). The 7 drawers are solid cherry, and the boxes are made out of 1/2 baltic birch dovetailed on all four corners, an excessive use of my dovetail machine. I installed LED under cabinet lighting. To accommodate the lights, I did some under cabinet molding which really dressed it up. I also did a 2 1/2 inch crown on the top. Out of the whole project this was probably the most pain, I had to rip out the original bulk head which was probably the most work when I look back, demo and drywall (I hate this kind of work). However by ripping this out gave me great access to put in new recessed lighting. To top it off, I got a exotic Grade E slab of granite for a good deal, had a full ogee on the edges and a under mount sink cut out and installed to finish it off. Critics welcome. Jason

20 comments so far

View Rick Babwin's profile

Rick Babwin

38 posts in 4178 days

#1 posted 02-25-2009 05:49 PM

Great job! Congratulations on a beautiful kitchen.

-- Rick

View scarpenter002's profile


606 posts in 3931 days

#2 posted 02-25-2009 06:04 PM

Wonderful job. My wife would never let me take on a project like that.

-- Scott in Texas

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4245 days

#3 posted 02-25-2009 06:48 PM

Very nice job. I can appreciate how much work went into that, but the result was worth it.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Straightpiped's profile


89 posts in 3518 days

#4 posted 02-25-2009 06:50 PM

Looks awesome, I am starting the same project this weekend. Your wife should be proud.

-- T. Nelson

View isetegija's profile


763 posts in 3541 days

#5 posted 02-25-2009 06:54 PM

Very well done. You deserved to be proud of You work.

Thanks for sharing with us and welcome to Lumberjocks community.

-- Not my woodworking

View lumberknowledgist's profile


30 posts in 3461 days

#6 posted 02-25-2009 07:00 PM

Fantastic project! A few q’s if you don’t mind, I’m undertaking a similar albeit much smaller project in a few weeks.

First, did you use pocket hole screws in the cabinet base construction? I just ordered the Kreg K3 for the cabinets I’m making – I will probably do a face frame design which will get a lot of use for the jig…

Second, what kind of HVLP sprayer do you have and how did that work out for you? I am considering purchasing one, the rockler model originally peaked my interest but now I’ve been looking at the Earlex 3000 unit – only about $20 more. I’ve heard good things about the Earlex 5k but don’t see many reviews on the 3k. Since it won’t get a ton of use, I’m just looking for basic unit. I have never sprayed before.

Great post, kitchen looks awesome!

-- Jason

View JasonA's profile


24 posts in 3404 days

#7 posted 02-25-2009 07:03 PM

Pretty much the only way I could have pulled something as big as this off, that’s in the woodworking realm, was to do something for the wife if you know what I mean. Plus doing a project like this gives you a great excuse to buy more tools that “WILL” be needed or else…., and thus you’ll get little resistance from the boss. Besides it’s a major reason we do projects in the first place right.
Beware however, a project such as this takes a lot out of your family time!! During, and especially near the end it takes a toll on your marriage for sure, after however she’ll invite all her friends over and make them all jealous of how handy you are, then she’ll forget about all of the time in the shop and the extra money for those “required” tools! So you’ll have to be patient. Thanks for the comments

View pyromedic602's profile


164 posts in 3774 days

#8 posted 02-25-2009 07:08 PM

I am planning an complete remodle of my Kitchen at this time and it will involve tearing out walls amd moving some around 1 of which is a load bearing wall. It will be a couple of months yet before I get started but i hope the finiished result will be as nice as yours great job.

-- Pyromedic602, free wood is always good wood

View Pie's profile


187 posts in 3432 days

#9 posted 02-25-2009 07:36 PM

Very nice. I will have to work on my kitchen as well but I think I will go the less work intensive way. I plan on refacing my cabs and making new doors with hardware. Probably end up painting the insides of the cabs. ANyways that is the plan for now but plans change.

Great job, lots of hardwaork there but after it is done, its all worth it.

-- Pie

View JasonA's profile


24 posts in 3404 days

#10 posted 02-25-2009 07:38 PM

Lumberknowledgist, I used a few pocket screws. Manly on support members on the backs of the cabinet boxes as well as other supports for the granite. However you’ll use much more with face frame construction. I used dado/butt joints for all of the carcass construction and #8 1 1/2 screws (pre drill/counter sunk) on everything else about 98% I would say. I was careful in the design, as far as screw heads/holes showing, everywhere there was one I filled and I veneered over with 22 mil cheery veneer (all exposed ends).
I have the Earlex 5000, and I’m amazed with the quality. I’ve had a fair amount of experience with siphon guns (automotive) and really believe for the price this is what you want when it comes to HVLP. I would go with the 5000 if I were you, once you see how fast and efficient you’ll be you won’t look back, very very small price to pay in my opinion. I’ve sprayed lacquer, latex paint (painted a few interior and exterior doors and walls), polyurethane, water base poly acrylic, and stain (oil and water base). All looked very good, my friends who come over even notice. Do a little practice and you’ll be surprised how fast you’ll have professional results. On the kitchen project I had around 28 hours of spray time, this guy performed with no issues what so ever.
Check out Mark S’s Post on the earlex 5000


View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 3849 days

#11 posted 02-26-2009 02:25 AM

You should have no problem getting a hot meal, coffee in the morn and have a nice day Dad…great work…Blkcherry

View woodworm's profile


14468 posts in 3617 days

#12 posted 02-26-2009 05:32 AM

Great project! It’s surely not one man tasks. You did fantastic job Jason!

Yeah speaking of Earlex HV5000, I bought one with 1mm, 1.5 and 2mm needle kit. I forgot to buy the 2.5mm needle. I do not intend to use it for spraing paint, are those needles (1mm to 2mm) sufficient?

Thanks for sharing with us.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4427 days

#13 posted 02-26-2009 05:47 AM

A great looking kitchen . I’m in the process of building mine. I’ve posted a few blogs on the construction. I’m currently making the drawer fronts for the lower cabinets.

They are in and being used. The uppers have not been made yet.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View JasonA's profile


24 posts in 3404 days

#14 posted 02-26-2009 03:55 PM


The 2mm is sufficient, I’ve used it quite a bit for sraying latex, you’ll just have to thin it down a little. If i recall (dont quote me on this) i used around 2 oz of water to 1 quart. Give your little viscosity cup a try to verify.

View woodworm's profile


14468 posts in 3617 days

#15 posted 02-26-2009 04:31 PM

Thanks for answering my question, Jason.
Take care.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

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