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Aragorn's Kitchen *Large*

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Aragorn

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Hi Folks
I've been off out of town for the week finishing off the kitchen I've been building for what seems like forever. :roll:
Got it all finished now except for some boxing in where the extractor duct is running and a freestanding butchers block trolley that I've been putting off til last, coz that's going to be fun!
I wanted to do a good "Work in progress" photo-journal to post here, but inevitably the camera got forgotten at all the key moments, and my photos are a bit pants. Total renewed respect for every one that manages to do the stage by stage photos of their projects!

The kitchen started with a blank canvas on site, because the kitchen is a new build onto the existing house. My brief was easy - to design a kitchen that maximised the space available; followed the unusual angles of the room; looked clean and simple; rural and "cottagey" yet also quite modern; not so modern that it would date too quickly; not so rural that it would look, well, too rural; and of course, extremely functional and beautiful to boot!

The English oak came from British Hardwoods. It was excellent quality with almost no wastage. The carcasses are made from birch ply (18 sheets) from a local supplier. In my 6x4m workshop I wasn’t left with much room to move!
Here’s some of the stock after cutting to length. The rest is in the garden on trestles.



I had recently bought the Festool plunge saw, and realized that it was time to make a “cut table” to bring the 18 sheets of ply down to size for the kitchen units. I needed this to be easily put up and dismantled and small to store. I just used loose-ish mortice & tenon joints and made the height to fit over my table saw.



The Festool was a life saver on this project. In the workshop it allowed me to quickly cut the sheets to exact size and leaves a superb edge without any feathering.



For doing repeat-sized cuts, this would have been slower than the table saw, because of having to measure each time, but since all the units are different sizes in this project, this wasn’t much of an issue this time.
But on site during installation, it truly came into its own, giving me the ability to trim parts by fractions of a millimetre with the same quality of cut. Also the plunge action allowed me to cut very neat kerf cuts for ventilation in the oven and microwave housings.

The unit carcasses were screwed and glued together on site and the oak face frames glued and pinned on. I used pocket screw joinery extensively for the frame work and anywhere the joins don’t show.



The panels on the sides of the units that are exposed where simple frame and panel construction, again using pocket screw joinery. I cut the grooves for the stiles on the table saw using the DeWalt groove cutting. It leaves a nice clean cut, allows for micro adjustment of 0.1mm and above all is very fast and easy to use.



The doors where made using more traditional joinery. I cut the stile grooves for the panels on the router table so that they can be stopped top and bottom (so that the groove does not show through - what’s the point of fluffing about with haunched tenons?)
The mortices and tenons were cut using the Leigh FMT. Tenons first:



This leaves me with a twin tenon on the rails:



One or two hours later the rails are finished



And the mortices follow shortly after that



All the panels for the doors and elsewhere are cut from 6mm oak veneered MDF. I glued up the doors in batches depending on how many clamps I have.
I wanted an easy solution for morticing for the hinges, as I didn’t relish the idea of having to mark and cut all 48 hinge mortices by hand on site. I made up 3 different router jigs, two to take care of each of the common door sizes, and a third for cutting a single mortice for irregular sized doors.
The jig clamps onto the door, aligned top and bottom, which accurately locates the mortice position. I routed out the mortice and squared it up by hand. The same jig is then clamped to the faceframe on site, spaced away from the top by a 2mm spacer and the mortices are routed in the frame.



The granite worktop was cut using my dremel.. oh no sorry. That was done by some pros. They did a good job in the end, though they had to make a return trip because first time round they plastered all the joints with messy silicone. The customers did not want the sleek look of a polished worktop, and so this is honed rather than polished, and then buffed to a soft sheen with beeswax.



Here’s some pics of a few of the titbits
Base units:

I had the knobs turned from black walnut at a local woodturning place. They are copied from an antique chest that the customers have and love.

Under-hob drawers and fridge:

All drawers are on exposed full extension runners. Drawer construction is from oak and oak veneered ply using mostly pocket screws (hidden) and an applied oak front.

Dishwasher and small drawers:


The inside of the sink unit:


The inside of the wall units:

Each unit has a couple of oak-edged shelves which can be adjusted in height on spade-like shelving pegs.

The door closing mechanism:

Each door has a couple of magnets recessed into the stiles top and bottom, hidden by oak plugs. These little “catches” in the photo have another magnet behind the plug which align with the ones in the doors. I experimented with these for a while and love the door action. The magnets (two in the doors, one in the catch) hold the door closed so softly that they are a pleasure to open. When you push a door closed, the air is displaced which slows the door to a soft stop and the magnets just pull it home.

The fridge freezer:

Don’t get me started on this one. The appliance doors were not designed for face-frame mounted external doors. I don’t know if you can see the “design opportunity” I came up with from the photo. Let’s just say it was a happy moment when the solution was seen to work well. The sun actually started shining through the windows, the bird’s started chirping…

Oh, and I did their adjacent downstairs toilet/utility room too


All hardwood is finished with several litres of Liberon’s finishing oil. The plywood is finished with 3 coats of a water based floor varnish.

I’d like to do a better work-in-progress account of the butcher’s trolley if you’ll tolerate the indulgence?
 

DaveL

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Well Aragorn,

What a wonderful job. :D I hope the customer is pleased with the results. We are looking at redoing our kitchen and this will go in the ideas folder. 8)

Thanks for posting the pictures and I look forward to the trolley. :lol:
 

Alf

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Aragorn":1a2xraa6 said:
I’d like to do a better work-in-progress account of the butcher’s trolley if you’ll tolerate the indulgence?
Heck yes. That's was great, despite your claim to have missed out key bits. A bootiful job. Have the clients seen any of the WIP pics, or wouldn't they care? The shots of all the stiles and rails lined up with the M&Ts is a bit of an eye opener. :shock:

Cheers, Alf
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi Aragorn

What a beautiful project. The sheer scale of it must have been daunting but you overcame adversity with an excellent solution. The walnut handles really finish it off well.

Your customer must be very happy that you've met and, I feel, exceeded their expectations.

Thank you for taking the time to produce the wip photos. It really makes it so much more interesting.

Cheers
Neil
 

Woodythepecker

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Aragorn, what a surpurb job.

I can see you liked the Festool. In my view it is the best circular saw on the market today, especially for sheet work. The accuracy is spot on with no breakout.

Regards

Woody
 

Chris Knight

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Aragorn,

It looks stupendous and the work in progress shots underline the scale of the challenge. I am mightily impressed.

If I ever needed a reminder, this reminds me not to attempt to remodel our kitchen!
 

Noel

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Aragorn, excellent post and a well exucuted project.
 

Keith Smith

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Aragorn that is a beautiful job.

Only one complaint, I have been trying to resist buying the Festool and your article has rekindled the desire.

Plus, all those m&t's, now I know I really need the Leigh jig too.

I must resist :(
I must resist :(

Keith
 

Gill

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Fabulous, Aragorn. I almost feel inspired.

Gill
 

jasonB

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Aragorn, as someone who also makes kitchens I can appreciate the time & effort that has gone into this project. They can drag on for a while but when the job is complete it all seems worthwhile.

I have been working on one since the start of the year which has a couple of weeks 'till finished so watch this space.

Jason
 

tim

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Sensational job - looks beautiful and I love some of your details like the angled panel for shelf pins in the upper cabinets and the hidden magnets.

I hope your customer is really thrilled - they should be.

I didn't realise that you could have a more dull surface to granite - did it come honed and waxed or did you do that? I think that it is so much smarter than the shiny finish.

One other question, given the various threads about it recently: what grade of birch ply did you use 'cause it looks great with a clear finish on it.

Looking forward to seeing the butcher's block trolley.

Cheers

Tim
 

Aragorn

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Thank you all very much for your nice comments. Posting a project is a quick way to get a swollen head :!:
The scale of the project was intimidating for me too, and having clear landmarks of achievement was a definite help to me, for example, finishing cutting the ply up; or planing, thicknessing and cutting the oak to length etc etc.

Alf - I was planning on putting together a little scrapbook for the customers once it's all finished with WIP photos and the inevitable before/after shots.

Tim - the honed granite is new to me too. This was a choice given to the customer by the granite people, after discussing that they didn't want it too shiny. It is more expensive than having a polished finish, which seems a bit of a paradox to me - surely it must be more work to get it shiny. The customer's waxed it themselves to cut down on the cost and it looks very good in real life.
I don't know what grade of birch plywood it is! I just ordered "birch plywood". One side had a superb finish, almost entirely free from defects and colour variations. The other side was also good, but had more patched up defects and was a less clear finish. Much of the time, once cut down, I didn't know which was the "better" side.

Thanks again. Trolley will follow in the next couple of weeks.
 

Neil

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What a fabulous kitchen & a fabulous post! Thanks for taking the time, Aragorn. As Alf says, the pic with the mortice & tenons says it all, really :shock:

Cheers,
Neil
 

Chris Knight

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Aragorn,

Looking again at your pictures, I realise the wood was probably delivered as PAR? If this is the case can you say a bit more about it. Was it square for instance? Did you have to do much thicknessing etc .?
 

Aragorn

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Hi Chris
Yes the order was for PAR - the intention being to reduce time spent sorting, planing and thicknessing.
I find the PAR timber from British Hardwoods to be really well prepared. It tended to be straight and square, and not far off a usable finish.
For this project I had to plane all the timber to guarantee straight boards, and thickness to size because I wanted very specific measurements to fit in with my plans. Working from PAR meant I was only making 2 or 3 passes instead of maybe double that from sawn.
I'm not sure if the time saved working this way is cost effective compared to the saving I'd have made from buying sawn, but it is certainly much less tedious and boring than spending days preparing this much sawn stock.
For other kinds of project I would say that it could be used straight from the packaging, with only the most minimal preparation.
 

frank

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aragon thats a fantastic job i like the way you sorted the door catches with magnets ,i think we will all be fitting them now :wink:
 

johnelliott

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That's one well groovy kitchen, Aragorn. I did something not totally dissimilar some time ago, but haven't done any more since due to the cost. I guess that's what quite a lot of us would like to know, but are much too polite to ask. Anyway, speaking as one who has also done a face frame kitchen, I see you also set the frames on the wall units so that the base of the carcase is level with the opening and that leaves a light pelmet underneath.
I approve your use of PAR material. I p&t'd all mine but I'm not going to if I do another one. I will buy PAR and a thicknessing sander.
Interesting about the honed granite. I will have to ask my granite people about that. I'm pretty sure that their stock comes in already face polished, which may explain why the honed is extra?
John
 

Mdotflorida

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Aragorn":2srx69u2 said:
I’d like to do a better work-in-progress account of the butcher’s trolley if you’ll tolerate the indulgence?
Are you kidding. :shock: I can't wait. Stunning piece of work. 8) 8) 8)
 
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