Another Kitchen Cabinet Thread

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PlacidCasual

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Hi peeps

As you all must have heard dozens of times before I'm planning to build my own kitchen this autumn.

My kitchen is an unfortunate size and when we've looked at designs by kitchen companies we generally end up with more dead space than I'm happy with. Thus I have 90% committed to making the carcasses myself and buying made to fit doors and paying a kitchen fitter to install the worktop.

The kitchen floor is quarry tiles and a little uneven in places, my intent was to put basic plywood boxes on a plinth that I would level and then attach the carcasses to. The prospect of trying to individually level # boxes with # x 4 adjustable legs fills me with dread.

For the carcass construction I was thinking of 3/4" plywood with rebate joints between the floor and sides secured with glue (Titebond 2) and pocket hole screws. The back would be a dado and 1/4" ply sheet. I would have a front cross beam (stretcher) above and below the drawer and one on top near the back.
As my kitchen has solid stone walls I was thinking about placing 50mm of insulation behind the backs to help keep the cabinets warm as I've had some mould issues associated with humidity related condensation that is very hard to avoid with cold walls in a kitchen.

I have a decent bench, a track saw, 1/4" router (hand not table) and the usual hand tools. I do have a planer/thicknesser and bandsaw but don't see them being needed for the carcasses more the drawers if anything.

I'm buying a dovetail jig for making the drawers (this is not the moment for me to perfect my hand cut cabinet making skills I don't think) and a rebate bit for the router.

I haven't finalised the finishing, certainly varnish the unseen surfaces, SWMBO is thinking about papering the insides. I'm not sure on this would probably need sealing to stop it getting dirty or mouldy.

Any advice will as always be gratefully received.

edit: PS I did do a search for a few kitchen threads before starting my own :oops:
 

Racers

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A frame with the cabinets sat on sounds like a good plan to me.

I made some big draws for my sons room from 12mm birch ply biscuited together and they have stayed together really well, the big ones are a 800 wide and 500mm deep, I did glue in the 6mm bottom, so don’t worry about dovetails on your draws.
I sold my jig it was hard to setup and the size was limited you to multiples of the width of one dovetail.

Pete
 

Just4Fun

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PlacidCasual":2zu4pofn said:
The kitchen floor is quarry tiles and a little uneven in places, my intent was to put basic plywood boxes on a plinth that I would level and then attach the carcasses to.
For my kitchen I made a base of solid timber, 100mm x 50mm, and put the cabinets on that. Totally over-engineered but it is what I had to hand and it certainly did the job. I scribed the base to match the floor but that was easy enough.
 

custard

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Are you sure about this?

Making carcases, but buying in doors and then getting a professional to fit the work surfaces, sounds a pretty expensive route to a kitchen. What's more, you're setting yourself up for problems. If anything goes wrong then it'll always be someone else's fault, problems with the doors? That'll be down to your carcases. Problems with the worktops? It's your carcases again.

Here's some other issues you need to plan for. Doors need to match drawers, or at least have some design commonality. How are you going to sort that? It sounds like your kitchen has some awkward dimensions, but you won't have the expertise and experience to squeeze the most out of them, and even if you do, how can you be sure that commercially available doors are then available to suit your solutions?

A dovetail jig isn't a get out of jail free card either. The expensive ones have a steep learning curve, the rest aren't very flexible so you'll be stuck to certain dimensions. And do you even need dovetailed drawer boxes? I can hand cut dovetails in my sleep, but when I built my kitchen I went for ply drawer boxes Dominoed together with false fronts. If I hadn't have had a Domino machine I'd have used dowels, because dovetailing ply is actually pretty tricky if you're to avoid some horrible spelching.

And what about hardware? Drawer runners and hinges will eat up hundreds of pounds, and they're more expensive for you to buy than for a professional. Furthermore, this hardware will dictate some key dimensions for the carcases, so you need to be 100% positive it will all fit together or you'll have chucked a lot of money down the drain.

My advice would be to tackle some simpler projects in ply first, say a pair of bedside cabinets with drawers and soft close doors. Then maybe move on to a fitted alcove or understairs storage area. Only when you're confident that you can master projects like that should think about a kitchen.
 

AJB Temple

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The carcasses are probably the cheapest part of the kitchen and the area you will make least savings versus buying ready made. Don't underestimate both acquiring and fitting decent hardware as that is easy to make a mess of and expensive. Frankly, if you are not capable of making the doors, I would not do it.

Have you considered levelling the floor?
 

PlacidCasual

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Thx for the comments.

With regards to the drawers I hadn't intended to make them out of ply, I had been thinking softwood. I have a project on the go which will include some practice at draw making for tool storage in ply. If that turns out well ply would be cheaper.

With respect to the doors and draw fronts there are a number of companies that make to doors size, but I'm planning for the majority of the cabinets to be standard sizes for the concerns that have been mentioned same with respect to the cabinet furniture. The only reason I hadn't planned to go down the route of making them myself was the volume of work and didn't want to commit to more work than I would reasonably achieve.

It is a very good point about the relative cost for trade versus retail I'll give that some thought.

As to the awkward spots I'm hoping my approach when I size it all out allows for me to get some use from those areas that the designs we had so far have boxed away and wasted.

It is a fair point about building up experience, I going to make trial carcass before committing to the entire project to make sure I can actually make to the standard necessary. Then if I'm happy I'll be making all the lower cabinets before I rip anything out of my existing kitchen.

As ever the forum is a source useful advice thanks.
 

PlacidCasual

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@ AJB Temple Levelling the floor enters the category of a "big job" and I may as well commit to the megabucks route. It is a very fair point about the carcasses. The reason I was looking to take on that part specifically is that run of the mill components don't offer a solution not because it's necessarily too hard but there won't be the volumes. Specifically I'll have at least 2 cabinets that will be bigger at the back than the front flairing backwards at 45°. Noone makes that product and whilst it's not a particulalry useful space it is quite large to waste. Likewise when I get towards one wall I end up with an odd dimension for which I can make a bespoke set of open shelves but no standard unit fits and the kitchen designers I've seen tend to blank over. To use these spaces with off the shelf gear means a mix and match of home made and bought in which I also thought was fraught with trouble.
 

AJB Temple

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Hi Placid

What sort of square footage are you talking about? Putting a new, level floor down is not difficult. And may suit your design better.

Consider finding a local joinery shop rather than the typical kitchen suppliers, and see if they can do your cabinets. Give them an accurate drawing for pricing. If you are not used to awkward shapes I would seriously consider some pro help. Kitchens need to last 20 years and you will use it several times every day. Do it right, once. Good luck. AJ
 

AJB Temple

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Just to add to this, I am about to start work on a much delayed (by other projects) new kitchen myself. I have the luxury of it being in a part of the house that is not used for anything else, and so the existing kitchen will stay in use until the new one is done. If my wife lets me (she is not keen on public forums) I will make it into a build thread. In my case it is about 10 metres by 8metres, plus a new build utility of about 5m by 3m. Presently it is not attached to the main house and has a dirt floor....
 

SteveF

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I am ready to go down this route also
why we think we can do better than the sheds I don't know
but I suppose we feel it would be an improvement on what is on offer
I have decided on materials for cabinets doors etc
just cant decide on drawer construction \ materials yet

Steve
 

custard

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I used to work in a job that regularly took me to the US. I met many American woodworkers, both professional and hobbyist. What surprised me was that there was a distinct group of American hobbyists who consciously focused on sheet goods work and only used solid timber as an adjunct to this.

Whether they were more fulfilled with their hobby I couldn't say, but one thing's for sure, they weren't half productive!

These guys were churning out furniture and built-ins at a rate of knots, and the high point for all of them was to make their own kitchens. I met one guy who was on his third iteration, as his skills improved he kept ripping out the previous example and upgrading!

Oddly I've never met their equivalents in this country. I don't know why, but I suspect that the cost of sheet goods raw materials is just too much for UK woodworkers to swallow.
 

sammy.se

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custard":2mxjmgik said:
I used to work in a job that regularly took me to the US. I met many American woodworkers, both professional and hobbyist. What surprised me was that there was a distinct group of American hobbyists who consciously focused on sheet goods work and only used solid timber as an adjunct to this.

Whether they were more fulfilled with their hobby I couldn't say, but one thing's for sure, they weren't half productive!

These guys were churning out furniture and built-ins at a rate of knots, and the high point for all of them was to make their own kitchens. I met one guy who was on his third iteration, as his skills improved he kept ripping out the previous example and upgrading!

Oddly I've never met their equivalents in this country. I don't know why, but I suspect that the cost of sheet goods raw materials is just too much for UK woodworkers to swallow.
I agree about cost. Could it also be space? We don't have F-150 pick up trucks to haul our materials, and many more people in the states (especially in suburbs) have garages and big yards to store and work in...

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
 

thomashenry

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SteveF":1cii56a1 said:
I am ready to go down this route also
why we think we can do better than the sheds I don't know
but I suppose we feel it would be an improvement on what is on offer
I have decided on materials for cabinets doors etc
just cant decide on drawer construction \ materials yet

Steve

Because we 100% can do better than the sheds. A lot better, and for a lot less money. Just takes time and patience.
 

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