Question for the cabinet makers...

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Forum topic by camps764 posted 04-06-2013 12:05 PM 2875 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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867 posts in 2359 days

04-06-2013 12:05 PM

I am building some new kitchen cabinets for a cabin we are remodeling. I’ve built small cabinets in the past, but never a full kitchen set.

My question is…do you guys typically cut your own corner blocks (gussets) or buy them premanufactured for the cabinets? Do you prefer the plastic corner blocks that you staple in?

I don’t really want to spend the extra money, but really want the cabinets to hold up, securely fasten the top, etc.

Insights are really appreciated!

-- Steve

11 replies so far

View ScottKaye's profile


643 posts in 1952 days

#1 posted 04-06-2013 12:40 PM

belts do stretch over time but usually not enough to throw them off track.

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

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1731 posts in 2808 days

#2 posted 04-06-2013 12:41 PM

Steve you can buy those plastic blocks by the case but I gotta tell you that that is something seen typically on econamy grade cabinets. In a situation like you describe it makes no sense. plastic corners when combined with staples will aid in keeping a cheap cabinet together as it goes through the assembly cycle, and also eliminates the need for a line worker to measure, cut and install alignment and nailer rails. In other words it is an earmark of line produced lightweight cabinets. Enjoy JB

View camps764's profile


867 posts in 2359 days

#3 posted 04-06-2013 12:51 PM

Scott and JB – Thanks!

That was what I was thinking as well…

So, re-reading my “cabinet making” book – that came with my Kreg jig (don’t shoot!) it looks like the counter top is actually secured to the spacers that go on top of the frame I built inside of the top of the cabinet.

For a little clarification – I built a frame that is the same dimension as the floor of the cabinet. It is made out of 1” material and held together with pocket hole joinery and glue.

It looks like I am supposed to put 1” thick spacer boards on top of the frame to get the counter to the right height. The spacer boards are attached to the internal frame and the counter is attached to the spacer boards.

Does this sound right to you guys?

It looks like if I do it this way I can forego the corner blocks altogether – which is what I originally thought, but the guy leading the project told me I would need those corner block/gussets to attach the counter to.

-- Steve

View waho6o9's profile


8191 posts in 2576 days

#4 posted 04-06-2013 01:00 PM

I use back rails made out of 3/4 inch x 2inch wide poplar and I also install
a 3/4 inch x 2 inch wide poplar front rail attached to the face frame and partitions
as well.

This keeps your cab square and gives you something to attach your top to.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18715 posts in 2567 days

#5 posted 04-06-2013 01:51 PM

I’m sure there is more than one right way. I’ve done it both ways described above and not sure I really have a preference. If I used corner blocks, they were always wooden shop made. I like to use hard wood even if the cabinets happen not to be, to help hold the counter top. I also like them a bit bigger than the plastic. It helps ease the countertop installation. Drill a pilot hole as soon as you glue them in.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Kwit's profile


103 posts in 1958 days

#6 posted 04-06-2013 01:52 PM


I use the same booklet for my basic cabinets – it is a great resource for beginners to novice – it helps make the process of building a whole set of cabinets organized and systematic – which will help tremendously on time

as for your question…. what type of countertop are you using?

If you are using a pre-formed laminate that is only 3/4” thick – then you need an extra 3/4” spacer to bring the counter up to height – If you are using a solid 1.5” countertop (i.e. butcher block)- no spacer is needed

I would follow the Kreg instructions for now if I were you – it is a tried and true method – although there are many different methods – you will have a good quality foundation for your build and will learn quite a bit in the process

-- don't talk about it - be about it

View camps764's profile


867 posts in 2359 days

#7 posted 04-06-2013 02:03 PM

and this is why I love LJ’s!

Thanks guys! I really appreciate all the insights. I think I will stick with what the Kreg booklet is telling me. It has worked for other projects that use the cabinets…don’t know why I was second guessing it working for this one.

Must be the extra desire to get it absolutely right in front of the boss (read father-in-law).

-- Steve

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867 posts in 2359 days

#8 posted 04-06-2013 02:08 PM

James – Thanks for the quick drawing – wish I could do that!

That’s basically what I have going on, except there are addition frame pieces that run horizontally as well to box the whole top in.

-- Steve

View waho6o9's profile


8191 posts in 2576 days

#9 posted 04-06-2013 02:10 PM

A little sketch for clarity. There’s other ways to accomplish
the same results, but this is a good start.

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3576 days

#10 posted 04-06-2013 02:20 PM

I learned how to make cabinets from Jim Tolpins book” Building Traditional Kitchen Cabinets ”. plastic corners are not something quality cabinets have.I can’t imagine Kreg having a book as comprehensive given that they must steer the reader towards using pocket screws.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View camps764's profile


867 posts in 2359 days

#11 posted 04-06-2013 03:04 PM

Jim – Thanks! Just bought the book – can never have too many good books!

-- Steve

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