Advice needed - making shaker kitchen cabinets

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mikej460

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Not fine furniture but I'm planning to make several shaker-style, paintable kitchen cabinets (no drawers) for our utility room but I've never made them before so have a few questions. Just to outline what I am limited to machine-wise I have a solid 800 x 600mm router table fitted with a 1/2 inch Triton, a small 1/4 inch Dewalt router, a useable Lumberjack BS305 bandsaw and a Triton tracksaw with Evolution rails, a good quality pocket hole jig plus an assortment of quality hand tools. The utility room contains a wood pellet boiler, the washing machine and drier, it gets very warm (over 26 degrees) and can be warm and humid if wet stuff is hung out to dry.

1. What material should I use? I am considering 18mm birch ply but I'd be loath to paint it! Would 15mm be better?
2. How should I best construct the base units? - I don't have a Domino but I have biscuit router bit and pocket hole jig
3. How do I construct the doors?
4. What about hinges? Which are best? We have the usual concealed hinges in the kitchen but they don't clearly follow the shaker style.

thanks in advance

Mike
 
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For the doors how about 12mm MDF with thinner strips of MDF glued on the front to simulate the doorframe, I think with The equipment you have that would probably be easiest, I would still go with ordinary kitchen type hinges. Ian
 
I made myself a cabinet (well 2 secured together to from an L really) for my utility just a week or so ago. I have a domino but its far from a requirement. I just used some hardwood ply that has the thinnest of looks-like-sapele-but-probably-isn't veneers and edge banded the edges with iron on sapele roll from ebay. Mine gets more moist and cold than moist and hot though. I've yet to make the single door I need to match our existing kitchen, but mine are profiled and made with a proper router bit so I can't make a simple shaker door to match without a little more fiddle.

I made mine go to the floor, unlike our actual cabinets that sit on the plastic leveling legs. 2x 550x860mm sides, 1x 550x960mm base, 2x 120x960mm slats across the top front and back and then some 12mm ply for the back. The large one also has a support up the middle to hang the door on as this is a corner unit. The smaller cabinet is similar but has an opening at the bottom that the litter tray hides in with drawers above, all top off with some more oak worktop to match the kitchen.

Blum also now (maybe not new, just new to me?) have hinges with built in soft close.

This might be of use Mike if you fancy using MRMDF for the doors.
 
I made myself a cabinet (well 2 secured together to from an L really) for my utility just a week or so ago. I have a domino but its far from a requirement. I just used some hardwood ply that has the thinnest of looks-like-sapele-but-probably-isn't veneers and edge banded the edges with iron on sapele roll from ebay. Mine gets more moist and cold than moist and hot though. I've yet to make the single door I need to match our existing kitchen, but mine are profiled and made with a proper router bit so I can't make a simple shaker door to match without a little more fiddle.

I made mine go to the floor, unlike our actual cabinets that sit on the plastic leveling legs. 2x 550x860mm sides, 1x 550x960mm base, 2x 120x960mm slats across the top front and back and then some 12mm ply for the back. The large one also has a support up the middle to hang the door on as this is a corner unit. The smaller cabinet is similar but has an opening at the bottom that the litter tray hides in with drawers above, all top off with some more oak worktop to match the kitchen.

Blum also now (maybe not new, just new to me?) have hinges with built in soft close.

This might be of use Mike if you fancy using MRMDF for the doors.

Much appreciated thanks. I'm now leaning towards a varnished birch ply base with MRMDF doors as per the 1st section of the video and also recommended by Ian. (y)

What worktop did you use? We have Ikea block oak tops in our kitchen which look good.
 
MDF doors and Birch ply cabinets are a good choice.

If using MDF for the doors it's easier to stick with concealed hinges, especially if you are going for an overlay style door.
 
Not fine furniture but I'm planning to make several shaker-style, paintable kitchen cabinets (no drawers) for our utility room but I've never made them before so have a few questions. Just to outline what I am limited to machine-wise I have a solid 800 x 600mm router table fitted with a 1/2 inch Triton, a small 1/4 inch Dewalt router, a useable Lumberjack BS305 bandsaw and a Triton tracksaw with Evolution rails, a good quality pocket hole jig plus an assortment of quality hand tools. The utility room contains a wood pellet boiler, the washing machine and drier, it gets very warm (over 26 degrees) and can be warm and humid if wet stuff is hung out to dry.

1. What material should I use? I am considering 18mm birch ply but I'd be loath to paint it! Would 15mm be better?
2. How should I best construct the base units? - I don't have a Domino but I have biscuit router bit and pocket hole jig
3. How do I construct the doors?
4. What about hinges? Which are best? We have the usual concealed hinges in the kitchen but they don't clearly follow the shaker style.

thanks in advance

Mike
You could save time and money by buying ready made cabinets and fit birch ply as 'end panels' either side and bottom. You can make the mdf doors and use concealed hinges to make them look like they're inset.
 
6mm on 12mm MDF works, but it’s a very heavy step, I prefer 3mm on 15mm. But making proper panels is just about as easy
Aidan
 
Why make the doors like that? You have everything you need to make shaker doors properly. Basically just need a router cutter, track saw and that’s it.

Biscuit join the cabinet with pocket screws (although personally I’d just straight screw them normally and fit a softwood plug if they were going to be oiled externally)

Hinges - ball bearing flush hinges from ironmongery direct. Screwed direct to door and carcass. Hang on - just realised you can’t lip the carcasses - better use overlay kitchen hinges.

Louis
 
Much appreciated thanks. I'm now leaning towards a varnished birch ply base with MRMDF doors as per the 1st section of the video and also recommended by Ian. (y)

What worktop did you use? We have Ikea block oak tops in our kitchen which look good.
Oak from somewhere on ebay. I used worktop express for the actual kitchen but cheaped out a fraction and got a 2m lump from some company on there. This has had the same Osmo 3032 treatment but isn't as golden, but then the original worktops have been in for 5 years now so that might explain it.

The reason I made my cabinet rather than buy is because I wanted to fit the space and leave room for the litter tray, which I'm guessing is why you too are making your own rather than buying one off the shelf for less hassle and probably less cost!
 
Don't talk to me about litter trays.. we've got at least 8 (one per cat). I want to paint the units in matt or satin to emulate the shaker style, so bare wood is easiest. As I plan to make my own birch ply drawer units in the new shop I fancied making the utility room units myself as a sort of dry run!
 
As I plan to make my own birch ply drawer units in the new shop I fancied making the utility room units myself as a sort of dry run!

Ha Ha, most people make some shop cabinets first as a dry run for the kitchen cabinets that will be in the house, can tell where your priorities lie 😂 😂😂, like your style.
 
Apparently most people change their kitchens about every 15 years so whatever you do, you have to be happy with looking at them for another 15 years ! As with all design, don't be half hearted - go for a definite statement.
You don't list a table saw or track saw but your first requirement will be cutting panels dead square. The doors can be made of anything you want. Personally I would use poplar wood for the rails and styles and MRMDF for the panel.
As you have a router table I would also invest in a rail and style router cutter - the single cutter is less hassle than the two cutter setup and looks way more professional than anything else. I wouldn't bother with fancy joinery - just screw the lot together with confirmat screws !.
As for hinges its hard to beat good quality soft close concealed hinges. I know its not really authentic but the Shakers never built kitchens anyway !
Lastly a spray finish will beat a brush finish anyday - the rattle cans will work well if you don't have a spray gun.
 
I've made several fitted cupboards in MDF and I've always regretted it. The faces of the doors take paint really well, but the edges are always furry and because the doors are so heavy, they struggle to hold the screws. Also, you have to think about the internal finish of the cupboards if you make them out of that. The last few cupboard carcasses I've made out of furniture board and have been much happier with the result. My feeling is that if you are looking for standard cupboards and have limited tools, buying the carcasses might be the easiest. There are some companies around that will cut sheet materials to a cutting list. If you do that it's a lot easier and they also work out the most efficient use of each sheet. Cutting a bunch of identical cupboard carcasses is boring and it's easy not to match the accuracy of what a company with a big panel saw will do.

As someone else said, if you have a router table, then proper framed doors are easy - especially shaker style. You buy timber pre-planed to the size you want for the rail & styles and run it through the router table to put a 6mm groove in it. Then you use 6mm MDF (if painting) or whatever as the panel and cut short tenons into the styles. Plenty strong enough. The only issue I have had is with warping when I glue up. Good luck!
 
i do a lot of these and use
22mm mr mdf for rails and stiles
9mm mr mdf for panel
Cross Cut all rails and stiles to size then run them through a palm router for a stop chamfer
Then run a 9mm slot on one side of every rail and stiles at your chosen depth and position with a router table.
Then glue up and bang in loose tongues out of offcuts of 9mm panels in from the top and bottom once loosely clamped and squared then double check and tighten.

Peter Millard does a great video on the loose tounge system.

I have done lots of different ways but this system is by far the quickest and best for kitchen and tall doors and more than strong enough for its purpose. The main advantage is you can actually just set up your router table once for the slot
A palm router for the chamfer and a table saw for the tips and you are away which is handy if you need to make a mistake and need to run out more rails and stiles.
 
i do a lot of these and use
22mm mr mdf for rails and stiles
9mm mr mdf for panel
Cross Cut all rails and stiles to size then run them through a palm router for a stop chamfer
Then run a 9mm slot on one side of every rail and stiles at your chosen depth and position with a router table.
Then glue up and bang in loose tongues out of offcuts of 9mm panels in from the top and bottom once loosely clamped and squared then double check and tighten.

Peter Millard does a great video on the loose tounge system.

I have done lots of different ways but this system is by far the quickest and best for kitchen and tall doors and more than strong enough for its purpose. The main advantage is you can actually just set up your router table once for the slot
A palm router for the chamfer and a table saw for the tips and you are away which is handy if you need to make a mistake and need to run out more rails and stiles.
Yes I've watched Peter's video and will use this method, thanks for confirming it works (y)
 
I made up my door. Used MRMDF for the rails and stiles and a bit of ply for the panel. Needed to route a bevel around the inside to match my kitchen doors and finished off the corners with a chisel.

I somehow didn't actually have 2 bits 785 long so I butt joined 2 shorter bits with the domino :rolleyes:. Not ideal but it'll be invisible once it's all painted up.
The faces of the doors take paint really well, but the edges are always furry
Just on this point. There is no need for the edges to be furry at all. Sand prime sand prime and they look just like the face.
 
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