How to Make Homemade Kitchen Cabinets

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Homemade kitchen cabinets can look as professional as any cabinet on the market. There are some principles to learn before starting a project like homemade kitchen cabinets, but they apply across the cabinet-making spectrum. Homemade kitchen cabinets consist of floor cabinets called base cabinets and wall cabinets called upper cabinets.

Things You'll Need

  • Two pieces of 23-by-35¼-by-¾-inch plywood
  • Framing square
  • Wood glue
  • Two pieces of 4-by-19-by-¾-inch plywood
  • 2d box nails
  • Two pieces of 23-by-22½-by-¾-inch plywood
  • 4d finish nails
  • One piece of 4-by-24-by-¾-inch plywood
  • Two pieces of 11-by-23-by-¾-inch plywood
  • One piece of 22½-by-6-by-¾-inch plywood
  • Two pieces of 24-by-30-by-¼-inch plywood
  • Two pieces of 2-by-32-by-¾-inch solid wood
  • Five pieces of 2-by-20-by-¾-inch solid wood
  • Two pieces of 11-by-30-by- ¾-inch plywood
  • Four pieces of 11-by-22½-by-¾-inch plywood
  • Two pieces of 22½-by-2-by-¾-inch plywood
  • Two pieces of 2-by-30-by-¾-inch solid wood
  • Four 30-inch bar clamps
  • 1-inch veneer edge band
  • Utility knife
  • Iron
  • One piece of 21-by-22½-by-¾-inch plywood
  • One piece of 21-by-27-by-¾-inch plywood
  • One piece of 21-by-5½-by-¾-inch plywood
  • Sanding block
  • 100-grit sandpaper

Base Cabinets

  • Place the two pieces of 23-by-35¼-by-¾-inch plywood (kitchen cabinet end panels) on a work table. Measure in from 35¼-inch edge and make a mark at 4 inches. Do the same from the 23-inch edge.

  • Place the framing square on the marks and draw lines resulting in a 4-by-4-inch square in one corner of the plywood. Cut this square out with a jigsaw or hand saw.

  • Apply glue to the area behind the cutout and secure the 4-by-19-by-¾-inch plywood (cleats) to the end panels with the 2d box nails. Secure one of the two pieces of 23-by-22½-by-¾-inch plywood to the tops of the cleats against the end panels with the 4d finish nails. Place the two pieces of 11-by-23-by-¾-inch plywood (shelf support) on top of the bottom shelf against the end panels, set the remaining shelf on them and secure the shelf to the end panels with the 4d finish nails.

  • Apply glue to the ends of the 22½-by-6-by-¾-inch plywood and secure it between the end panels at top back corners. This is the nailing strip used to secure the kitchen cabinet to the wall. Apply glue to the back of the nailing strip, edges of the end panels and bottom shelf and secure one of the 24-by-30-by-¼-inch pieces of plywood to it with the 2d box nails.

  • Turn the cabinet on its back, apply glue to the front edges of the cutout from Step 2 and secure the 4-by-24-by-¾-inch plywood to the cabinet with the 4d finish nails.

  • Place the two pieces of 2-by-32-by-¾-inch solid wood (sides) on the work table along with three of the five pieces of 2-by-20-by-¾-inch solid wood (rails). Measure from one end of the 32-inch pieces and make a mark at 6½ inches, place the framing square on the mark and draw lines across the 2-inch width of each piece.

  • Apply glue to the ends of the rails, place one at the top, one at the bottom and one on the line drawn in Step 6 so that there is a 4½-inch space between the top rail and the second rail. Place bar clamps across each rail to clamp them tightly against the sides. Allow the glue to dry before installing the face frame on the cabinet with the 4d finish nails.

Upper Cabinets

  • Place the 11-by-30-by-¾-inch plywood (upper end panels) on the work table so the long edges are touching. Measure from one end and make marks at 1½, 10, 10¾, 19 ¼, 20, 28½ and 29 inches. Place the framing square on the marks and draw lines across the 11-inch width of both pieces of the plywood.

  • Place the 11-by-22½-by-¾-inch plywood (shelves) on the work table along with the two 2-by-22½-by-¾-inch pieces. Apply glue to the 22½-inch edges of the 2-inch pieces, place them on the 22½-inch edge of two of the shelves and secure them with the 2d box nails. These are the nailing strips used to secure the upper cabinet to the wall.

  • Apply glue to the 11-inch edges of the shelves, place them on the lines drawn in Step 1 and secure them to the upper end panels with the 4d finish nails. The shelves with the nailing strips are the top and bottom shelves. The strip on the top shelf hangs down while the one on the bottom shelf sticks up.

  • Turn the cabinet so that the nailing strips are facing up. Apply glue to the exposed ¾-inch edges and the nailing strips and secure the remaining 24-by-30-by-¼-inch plywood to it with the 2d box nails. Next, turn the cabinet over so the ¼-inch back is on the bottom.

  • Apply glue to the edges of the remaining two 20-inch pieces of solid wood and clamp them between the 30-inch pieces; one at the top and one at the bottom. Allow the glue to dry before installing the face frame to the cabinet with the 4d nails.

Doors and Drawer Fronts

  • Cut two pieces of the veneer edge band 23½, two pieces 28 inches and two pieces 6½ inches long with the utility knife. Secure them to the 22½-inch edges of the 21-by-22½-by-¾-inch plywood, the 27-inch edges of the 21-by-27-by-¾-inch plywood and 5½-inch edges the 21-by-5½-by-¾-inch plywood with a hot iron. Break the corners over and sand the edges with a sanding block and 100-grit sandpaper.

  • Cut six pieces of the veneer edge band 22 inches long. Secure them to the 21-inch edges of the 21-by-22½-by-¾-inch plywood, the 21-by-27-by-¾-inch plywood and the 21-by-5½-by-¾-inch plywood with a hot iron. When they cool, break them at the corners of the plywood.

  • Install the hinges to the 21-by-22½-by-¾-inch plywood (base door) and the 21-by-27-by-¾-inch plywood (upper door) according to the manufacturer's instructions. Next, build a drawer box for the drawer front according to the drawer slide manufacturer's instructions.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cabinet shelves are 1½ inches narrower than the width of a cabinet. Clean excess glue immediately with a damp cloth. Drill pilot holes for the 4d finish nails when securing the face frames to the cabinets.
  • Do not leave power tools or the utility knife unattended in the presence of children. Do not stain or paint the homemade kitchen cabinets without proper ventilation.

References

  • Photo Credit Augie Schwer: Flickr.com
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