How to Build Cabinet End Panels

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Cabinet end-panels have exposed faces that are highly visible. There are two types; custom and modular. Custom end-panels are 3/4 inch thick and part of the cabinet construction. Modular panels are 1/4 inch thick and overlay the sides of existing cabinets after they are installed. End-panels for base cabinets have a 3-by-3-inch notch cut from one bottom corner for the toe-kick -- the place where your toes slip under the front of the cabinet. Upper cabinet end-panels do not have a toe-kick.

Things You'll Need

  • Table saw
  • Hardwood plywood, 3/4-by-48-by-96 inches
  • Hardwood plywood, 1/4-by-48-by-96 inches
  • Tri-square
  • Jigsaw

Base Cabinet End-Panels

  • Set the fence on a table saw at 35 1/4 inches from the blade for base cabinet end-panels. For custom cabinet base panels use 3/4-inch plywood. For modular cabinet panels use 1/4-inch plywood.

  • Place a 48-by-96-inch sheet of the chosen plywood on the table saw with the grain perpendicular to the blade. Turn on the saw and push the plywood across the table to cut a 35 1/4-by-48-inch piece. Use an assistant to help you cut the plywood.

  • Set the fence on the saw at 23 1/4 for custom panels. Set the fence at 24 for modular panels.

  • Place the 35 1/4-by-48-inch piece of plywood on the table saw with the grain parallel to the blade. Turn on the saw and push the plywood across the table to cut an end panel that measures 3/4-by-23 1/4-by-35 1/4-inches for custom panels, or 1/4-by- 24-by-35 1/4-inches for modular panels.

  • Draw a 3-by-3-inch notch on one corner of the panel. Use a tri-square to draw one line 3 inches up on one side parallel with the grain, 3 inches from the corner. Draw another 3-inch line perpendicular across the grain to intersect or meet the parallel line. Cut the notch out using a jig saw. This is the toe-kick notch. It's the same for custom or modular.

  • Build the custom panel into the cabinet during assembly by attaching a face frame to the front. Attach the modular panel directly to the side of an existing modular cabinet.

Upper Cabinet End-panels

  • Set the blade on the table saw at 30 inches. Place a 48-by-96-inch sheet of hardwood plywood on the table saw with the grain perpendicular to the blade. Use 3/4 inch thick for custom panels. Use 1/4-inch-thick plywood for modular panels.

  • Turn on the saw and push the sheet of plywood across the table to produce a 30-by-48-inch piece of plywood.

  • Set the blade on a table saw to 11 1/4 inches for custom end panels. Set the blade on the saw at 12 inches for modular panels.

  • Place the 30-by-48-inch piece of plywood on the table saw with the grain parallel to the blade.

  • Push the sheet of plywood across the table to produce one custom end-panel that measures 3/4 by 11 1/4 by-30-inches, or one modular panel that measures 1/4-by-12-by-30-inches.

  • Build the custom end-panel into the construction of the cabinet during assembly by attaching it to the cabinet face-frame. Overlay the modular end panel directly over the side of the existing modular cabinet.

Tips & Warnings

  • The measurements are for examples. Cabinet sizes are standardized but can differ. Consult the drawings or plans before building custom end-panels. Measure the sides of modular cabinets before building end-panels. Cut all the end-panels for all the cabinets at the same time.
  • Wear safety glasses when using a table saw. Large sheets of plywood can be hard to handle, an assistant to help you lift and cut them.
  • Photo Credit Kim Steele/Photodisc/Getty Images
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