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By D_W
Fatman mentioning the mrs. in another thread reminds me of something I did over the last couple of years.

I made the cabinets for my kitchen and redid it. Cherry (it grows here - everywhere). the cabinets are sort of how I would do them, but if I did them again, I'd do them entirely by hand. The top corner cabinet and the right side cabinet fitted to the wall (there's an outlet under it for the forced air heat and A/C) are actually made without the use of power tools, with the exception of one door.

No stain, etc.

The kitchen has darkened just a little over 2 years (direct light on the lower right cabinet makes it look faded, but it's the same - just opposite a window).

It took me a couple of years off and on to make all of the stuff, and then a week with the mrs. away to get the old kitchen out and everything in and plumbed. A sunday a month later then to do the tin (it's tin, not stick on fake tin)

The mrs. isn't a real fan of the kitchen, but this is one I did my way to my taste.

One of the mrs' friends already let me know the countertops are too shallow, but we'll live (I fabricated them).

The mrs would be pineappled if she saw that I posted this because the counters have junk out for lunch. Compared to my shop, they're pristine.



There's a side benefit to diverting the vent under the cabinet on the right. The heat comes out at the floor and doesn't impede anything, but more importantly, the cabinet is a dry food cabinet in the middle and it stays about 100 degrees F in the center cabinet where we keep cereals. They never get stale.
By D_W
Two things - how do you make a dado construction ply case with strange thickness ply using hand tools?

It's easy - you find a half inch dado plane that's past its prime and make it narrower so that it cuts a ply sized groove. It's not CNC fast, but it's very easy not to make large errors with it, and there's just enough slack in the joints to make glue up easy, but not insecure.

The far end of the right cabinet holds large pots and pans, breadmaker, etc, things that were a chore to get before we had a cabinet there. The far end of it (the diagonal cut) look like a raised panel end, but the end is a door so that there is a two door open area with only a center post to put large heavy things.

What does the mrs. think? She's not that pleased with it. Her parents just built a house and their cabinets are very uniform because the center panels are veneer. She prefers that. TS! :)
By Bodgers
It looks impressive, to do so much with hand tools and get such a consitent look is impressive.

When you say "tin" - that's the tiles? That looks great - I really like the extraction fan facia as well, almost cyberpunk style...
By D_W
Thanks, bodgers. Yes, the tin is the tiles on the wall. They're from a restoration company here in the states that specializes in turn of the century tinwork. It fits flush against the backsplash (nowhere to hide problems) and against the cabinets, etc, and I found it pretty physically difficult to do. It's kind of an art that I wouldn't learn in one turn. Cuts with snips, then is sharp everywhere. I bought a giant heavy duty paper cutter from the place that sold the tin, but it turned out to be an inch too short for a full sized tile, and I ended up doing the job with low-cost imported tin snips.

The fan is original to the house, as is the hood (1958). My wife absolutely didn't want those, but they are simple and they work well. The hood is heavy gauge stainless steel and it only needed to be cleaned. Little like it is made now -that plain and heavy. Fan still works great after 60+ years - large diameter, high volume, but lower speed. All it needed was to be painted something close (spraycan closest matching that I could find - metallic flake bronze or something). The mrs. hates it, but I didn't let her make all of the choices in the kitchen.

(for any coffee snobs reading, the folgers is mine. Not sure if that's sold in the UK - it's a divey brand here in the states, but I love it. The mrs. drinks better).
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By G S Haydon
Looks tidy, David. All the work is neat and professional. I do like the fact you shared a realistic project time. If you have a family with younger children, job and commitments 2 years seems about right as it's just about grabbing the odd evening here or the odd weekend here and there.
By D_W
Many ways to make the cabinets faster, but I guess I just didn't choose them. Critical issues in this case were two:
* I didn't want to remove the bulkhead in the kitchen and make it a huge job (would've meant more cabinets and much more install work - not sure what's under the bulkheads, but the kitchen is plastered). Cabinets on the dense side of the kitchen were essentially the same format and it worked OK except the dishwasher takes up a full cabinet, so more was needed on the other side.
* since I"m making and installing the cabinets, I gave them a little bit of extra lip on the face frames. Installation didn't take long - half a day. The reason it was quick is that every less than square thing encountered in the kitchen (or in my cabinet boxes) could be compensated by trimming the edges of the face frames to fit.

Floor's not level, so neither were the tops of the cabinets perfect, but the countertop type made fixing that pretty easy - instead of shimming counters, i trimmed the counter supports tapered so that there would be nothing more out of level than a tiny amount - less than the adhesive for the countertop (which is just silicon for these).

Having control of everything helped.

But someone who wanted to make doors with pocket screws and flat panels or some other jig, and who was willing to use thicker material and screw all of the boxes together could've made the cabinets in a tiny fraction of the time and for less cost (the cabinets cost about $2500 in materials to make, including the hardware, and the countertops a large fraction of that in materials to fabricate).
By Dee J
The kitchen looks really good, and with an impressive amount of hand work. But what I'm really enjoying is the cultural tourism... glimpses of another life. Had to google Folgers coffee, and have found some sort of explanation of 'divey brand'. Equally the term 'bulkhead' to me only refers to nautical stuff - but here refers to the plastered enclosure above the top cabinets maybe? As for the pressed tin, only seen that in an Australian historic town as ceiling cladding. Add in the cooking range and that extract fan and the slight sense of otherness is complete. Thank you.
On a more practical note, you 'fabricated' the counter tops they look to be stone or resin, maybe corian. What process or materials did you use?
By D_W
You're right on every account (what the bulkhead is, etc). IT was stylish at one point in america, I guess, because it covered the top of the cabinets and you could hide wiring in it. In the center of the picture, there is a clock on the bulkhead. There's a recessed purpose built outlet that must've been common in shape on the back of clocks (as in, something has to be sticking off of a clock to fit in it - I guess the recess worked as a dado to hold the clock in.

open space and tall cabinets is the thing now (but combined with 9 foot ceilings in most new mid-range housing whereas these are 8).

The tin did originate as a ceiling cover here. I'd say somewhere around early 1900s after the industrial revolution happened it was a way to easily cover up yucky stuff on the ceilings of buildings and the stamping makes it hard to see if there's damage or dirt. It's made a comeback here in the last few decades and is now sold as backsplash. I ordered it from an american site: I think it's safe to assume that won't be seen as an advertisement as I doubt they'd ship to you guys, but you pick your design and then color and whatever else you need (edges, etc) and it takes them a few weeks to get to your order but you can get exactly what you want. Not terribly expensive, but not cheap (about $900 for the tin backsplash - which feels stiff to me because i installed it and because all of the materials for the cabinets were probably $2500 (including hinges and guides) - the counter top material was a bit stiff (around $2200 with freight to a residential address). At any rate, I think one could get pretty good at installing the tin. It took me a full day to do it and get the feel at getting faster getting it close and then trimming to fit. It's a good way to get cut.

Fabricating the countertops is pretty much taking 1/2 inch sheets (it's similar to corian, a different brand with bigger particles in it, but works the same way) and using a special epoxy to make rough shapes and then routering planing, sanding, whatever you need to do. It ruins blades and dulls hand planes relatively quickly, but consuming a saw blade, a router bit, some sandpaper and sharpening a few planes is cheap in the scheme of doing things. The dust and glue smell like death, but it works easily. I'd skip the router and hand plane the edges built up if I were doing it again as I had a couple of router miscues that took some rework - nothing too terrible, but fixing them canceled the time savings of using power tools in the first place.

It's easy to fabricate and work with if you follow the instructions and spend the money for the appropriate epoxy to glue it to invisible seams, though - you mark it and cut it- then finish it just as you might wood - it just has no grain. At this point in the states, granite fabricated offsite and installed for you is becoming as cheap as the material for this, though. I just didn't want to take a week off of work to do my kitchen and then have a hiccup with the granite (mrs. and kids were offsite for the week) as my mrs. is not a good partner for doing anything in the house and didn't appreciate that I was doing the kitchen myself instead of falling on a sword and taking a loan or some other nonsense.
By Dee J
Thanks for your detailed and comprehensive reply. In the uk resin counter tops in Corian-like materials tend to be contracted-out jobs. The basic material is not easily available to home craftspeople.
That tin has a real distinct look... I'll check out that website.
Thanks again. D
By D_W
Corian brand is controlled here, too. You have to take a course (which you could do - it's half a grand or something, I can't remember, but if you absolutely wanted to us the brand in the US, you could take the course and then buy the materials and still be money ahead).

The place I ordered from is 1500 miles away and we didn't get corian from them because the mrs. wanted something with bigger particles in it and some clarity in those particles. But, the seller was an authorized corian dealer and they said they'd send me sheets of corian - not sure what they're doing and why they'd be allowed to.

Most of the other brands are close in price to the corian - in my opinion, corian probably controlled the brand for a number of reasons, but price maintenance (keeping the price high) was probably near the top. My roommate in college was actually the son of the corian product manager at dupont, and I didn't know what it was at the time, but he made a lot of money ,spent a lot of money, and as we seem to do here in the US, they canned him around age 55 and replaced him with a bright eyed 30 year-old. People that high up in corporate jobs seem to be very egotistical and he "never saw it coming".

Tin comes in all forms here - plastic with a paint on it to look like tin through metallic products like I got. Some of the plastic is to be installed like a sticker (adhesive on it already). I can't see that lasting. This is applied with adhesive and then nailed with nails that you buy as part of the package. It's magnetic, and it has a lacquer on it as part of the finish. Tin is weakly magnetic, but I'm not sure if it's real tin or some other alloy - I don't know enough about sheet metal. It's not easy to work with, but not terrible if you don't mind swearing a little bit and should last a long time on the wall as it doesn't scuff easily and it's held on two ways.