My first kitchen cabinet build

My first kitchen cabinet build

Before and After

The kitchen faucet that came with house was starting to leak after 11 years, so I decided to do what most anyone would do and gut the whole kitchen and build all new cabinets. I figure that would keep the wife from complaining about the leaky faucet. This was my first venture into a full on set of kitchen cabinets and doors. I've built a few different garage cabinets with slab doors, but nothing this size, nor fancy. I used soft close hinges and slides as well.

New kitchen has a much more useable island, 6" more counter space left of the fridge, a much more user friendly and larger pantry, and a huge sink. The old sink was a 40/60 split surface mount, and the overall length of the pantry side of kitchen only increased by around 2 inches. Getting rid of 2×4 framed pantry helped gain that space. I also did big drawers in the lower cabinets because the original cabinets were doors with these wobbly pullouts. They were a pain to use.


I now have space for the kids to have a snack. I also moved the island to the left by a couple inches, it wouldn't seem like that would be a big deal but it feels much easier to walk by the fridge and island now. In essence the old island had a 2×4 plus sheetrock, so that alone is ~2" so overall it's about 4 more inches of walking space created. The only thing I would change at this point would be to make the island taller. The sink sits pretty low since it's so deep and it seems if it were an inch or two higher it would be a bit more comfortable.

Way high useless stub wall, builder grade cabinets. The osb on the floor is from the dishwasher leaking (that also might have had something to do with the reno…)
Before corner by pantry

This corner really didn't serve much of a purpose other than collecting dust. It also allowed me to drip coffee from the machine to the sink, great combo.
Before bad Pantry

This is with the door removed, the door made you lose about 4" from one side on top of the already narrow opening
Before fridge wall

Here's the before of the fridge wall, you can see how anyone under 6' would have a hard time even opening the cabinet. Also, the reason it looks off is because I bought the new fridge and had to raise that cabinet just to get it in.
Frame up

Beginning the quick addition to the wall
Sheetrock and mud


Getting ready to start, I think 19 sheets all told, I used prefinished birch ply for the bodies. I used 4 sheets of nice unfinished maple ply to flank the pantry cabinet, fridge, and Island. When I placed my order I asked for 3/4 prefin birch ply, the guy said all I have is import no added formaldehyde. I think to myself no problem. It wasn't till I started assembling the cabinets that I realized import is metric and means it's not quite a 1/16" smaller. Not a big deal, but over the span of several cabinets it offset my overall dimension. This actually worked out well in the end because I was able to add a 3/4 piece right of the fridge when I assumed I'd have less than a 1/2" to spare for a trim piece, basically I got lucky.

I call this guy my third hand, some of the plywood had a slight bow in it, the lead weight keeps it more in contact with the table.
Track saw

Ripping a straight edge down on all the sheets, boring repetitive work but makes things straighter and less fussy later down the line.
Cut down

Sheets cut down labeled, and square.

This ply was really bowed, so I put a 5 gal pail of sound deadener on it while putting the small dado down the back, otherwise my dado would be shallow in spots.
Edge banding

These are the edge banding pieces for the lower part of all the upper cabinets. These are ~ 1.5" tall and attach to the bottom piece. Serves two purposes, one to reinforce the shelf, and the second is to give me somewhere to hide the leds.
Edge banding

Clamping the solid wood edge banding. You can kind of see what I did on the bottom of picture. I made my piece about 15/16 tall, then cut a rabbet out of the edge banding about 3/4 tall and close to 3/16 deep. This helped reinforce the shelving for all those can goods etc.

I have limited room for putting all these cabinets so I would stack them and then clamp them in case I accidentally bumped one
Drawer supports

I used some story sticks and some creative clamping on the big pantry cabinet to hold the drawer supports in place while I screwed them in.

Big bertha pantry cabinet assembled. 4 drawers behind the doors, and a big upper area with an adjustable shelf. I used fastedge edge banding on all the cabinet edges that were behind the doors. The nicer plywood that I used for the island, pantry and fridge all got solid edge banding.
I could bathe some children in this thing

I went with a kraus 32x10x19 sink. I think it's 19, might be 17. I love the sink, but it is kind of a pain to wash things down sometimes. I originally thought in my mind that the weight of the disposal would pull down too much on the sink so I put in a support shelf under the sink. I'm regretting making it so tight because if the disposal would've pulled the sink down a bit it might make things easier to rinse out. The sink does drain on its own, it's just sometimes you're chasing food scraps around.
Flush sink

Had to router out the cabinet for the flange of the sink and since I didn't like the idea of screwing sink to the granite, I flushed it into the cabinet itself. Plus the sink was as wide as the cabinet so there wouldn't be any room available to screw the sink into the counter.

I used 4/4 maple for all the doors, and solid wood edge banding of the shelves. I've never milled rough lumber down before (just got a jointer prior to this project) and it was quite the task/learning experience.
Cutting to width

Looking back, sure was a lot of work.

Finally milled and cut to length. To keep track of everything I used r.a. for rail and s.t. for stile. Then assigned a/b/c etc for each of the cabinet doors. You can see some where I crossed them out if I found a defect that would be hidden better on a lower cabinet etc. Notice my wonderful clamp storage on the left, I made a rack since finishing the cabinets.
Time for routering

And here's where I ran into the most frustrating part. The cutter on the bit has two blades, one was off by .008. This created a small step inside the dado cut (I'm forgetting correct term here). When I first discovered the problem I thought maybe it was some kind of purposeful design as I've never built cabinet doors before using a router bit set.
Lower cutter

Upper cutter

Not quite right.

I did a few pieces and started to scratch my head, then I decided to clamp the pieces together for a test fit and everything lined up just fine so I thought good to go. It wasn't until I ran through all of them that I decided to revisit the problem. That's when I decided to use a chisel and just remove the remaining bit out of the end of the stiles. Not sure how long it took but I was cursing here and there. They sent a replacement bit, I could've waited for it but figured it might take some time.
close up

You can see the little step there

Square jig for door assembly I threw together real quickly. Didn't take me long to figure out I would need something like this.
Drawer boxes

I used prefinished drawer sides, I can't remember the name of this joint, but it seemed like an okay application given I wasn't doing dovetails on my first cabinet set. I did 1/4" bottoms on the small drawers and 1/2" on the big pot and pan drawers. The prefinished sides already had a 1/4 dado in them so I just had to enlarge for the pot and pan ones.

Doors are all assembled and sanded.

Took quite a bit of work to get that old sheet rocked pantry out. Someone was sure nail happy when they built it. I also found a 3" hole in the floor under one of the cabinets that the builder never sealed up, no wonder it felt drafty.
Island frame

I reframed the island as best I could. I used pocket screws and also some right angle brackets. I originally used my tracksaw and cut the island to the right height, but once it was assembled it was way sloppy. I ended up rebuilding it all and should've done that from the get go.
New Island in

New island cabinet etc. I put the switches for the disposal and the light above the sink behind the face panel to the cabinet. I figured this was best way to keep kids from turning on the disposal while someone was cleaning it etc. I also lined up the dishwasher perfectly and used T-nuts countersunk from the top to screw it in. I hate the wood screws slammed in from the underside, they always seem to work themselves loose, or get blown out if you have to remove dishwasher more than once. I also used adjustable mounting feet on all the cabinets to make things a bit easier for install.
Cabinets no doors

Most of the installation is complete. You can see on the island there are 4 notches in the top 2×4, these are for the 1/2" steel countertop brackets. The website I ordered them from suggested three for my span, so I ordered 4 to be safe. They supplied wood screws which were somewhat beefy, but I opted to use machine screws and bolts through the top two 2×4's.
Solid wood edge banding

Here's a better look at the edge banding on the lower part of the upper cabinet
Recycle pull out

I swear I took more pictures and I can't find the one of how I made the opening cut out perfect around the trash can. It involved rough cutting the hole to get the trash can to sit where I wanted it in a scrap piece of plywood. Then waxing the trash can and slapping some bondo to create a perfect sized hole. Then I stapled that jig onto my final piece and routered it using the bondo as a guide.

I don't really like tiling. I also screwed up the grout, not once, but twice. So I removed the grout twice. That sucked. My final grout job I decided to do half at a time and it worked out much better.
Toe kick

Vent for the toe kick under the island. I used router fence and a 5/16 bit with some stops in place
Vent in place


I decided to make my own moulding for around the cabinets, mainly because I could, and mostly because I wanted some really thin unobtrusive moulding. Oh, I also had some leftover material so I figured why not

Tight fit

Self explanatory. I was afraid I'd have to get out the butter to get the stove n there.

Island in

Left lower cabinet is a pull out recycling bin


Both the upper and lower leds are on a motion switch, it's pretty bright in there
Source : Henryhooker from Reddit