Author Topic: Better Methods for Building Cabinets  (Read 5723 times)

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Offline TSO Products

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Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« on: May 20, 2018, 11:13 AM »
We all build cabinets of one kind or another, for our shop,  for the kitchen, a book case: basically all boxes. So a while back a FOG post mentioned Bob Lang’s  book The Complete KITCHEN CABINETMaker (sorry, don’t recall the author). It sounded useful so I bought a copy.  I quickly realized that this is a 221 page treasure trove of useful information - a 19 Chapter reference book for the shop showing not only what and how to do  but also why.

We quickly realized that this would be helpful to all but the most seasoned Pro. So we comparison-shopped other texts to make sure our selection was on target. We discovered and bought a copy of Greg Paolini’s BUILDING KITCHEN CABINETS MADE SIMPLE.

After re-reading both books cover to cover, trying to decide which one would be best it became apparent that these books are complementary – the make a perfect set. For those not familiar with Greg Paolini, he teaches a regular series of official FESTOOL Auhorized training programs in addition to running his own full time cabinet shop near Asheville, North Carolina. His teaching experience shows through loud and clear in his 121-page book (organized into 9 Chapters) and the included step-by-step professional video. His course participants receive a copy of this book. That said, neither of these books teach how to use FESTOOL tools – they present universal  principles of design, construction, finishing and installation. If you’re fortunate enough to have FESTTOOL in your shop it will just go that much faster.

You don’t need to reinvent cabinet making.
Do you yourself a favor and flip through the digital online preview pages on our product page for each of these BOOKS.

https://tsoproducts.com/books/the-complete-kitchen-cabinetmaker/

https://tsoproducts.com/books/building-kitchen-cabinets-made-simple/

https://tsoproducts.com/books/
 TSO Products has them in stock now and they ship free in all 50 US States

enjoy!

Hans
PS: the first order came in from Alaska! last week after TSO INSIDER newsletter went out
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Offline TSO Products

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2018, 11:18 AM »
oops - the second thumbnail image didn't make it in the first post.
In any case, the links in the OP should take you there.

Hans
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Offline Cheese

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2018, 11:35 AM »
Hey Hans, which book deals more with Euro-style cabinetry?

Offline TSO Products

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2018, 11:49 AM »
@Cheese  - both books address EURO style frameless and american face frame style construction.
The table of contents in both books' Flip-through digital previews show it clearly.

Bob Lang's COMPLETE KITCHEN CABINETMAKER has tons of helpful and clear drawings throughout.

Greg Paolini's book shows you "how to get it done" - movng right along.
We originally thought to offer it only as a set but then realized that more than a few will already have one or the other book.

Would be great to hear comments from others who have one or both of these books.
Any other suggestions for useful resource material, books, plans and YouTube are welcome so we can share in an accessible format.

Hans
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Offline lwoirhaye

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2018, 01:34 PM »
I've not bought books on cabinet making in awhile but I've read a bunch of the older ones.  One gap was in-depth explanations of how to develop a 32mm system for the small shop with a limited equipment budget.  Dave Lers's website, while a little hard to understand at first, delves into nuances of 32mm design on several finicky fine points.   I haven't seen anything that addresses design principles using moldings and reveals to make frameless cabinets look more like high end face frame cabinets, which is something some customers want.   Bob's a draftsman so his book might address the style. I haven't looked at it so I can't say.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2018, 01:38 PM by lwoirhaye »

Offline TSO Products

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2018, 01:47 PM »
@ lwoirhaye - we really appreciate the specifics of your feedback. We're adding your comments to our file of "unmet needs" from which we draw those with broader interest for new products or future "Resource" pages on our website accessible to anyone for free. That section will start with some fundamental topics applicable to a wide audience.

Bob Lang's book specifically addresses the Euro frameless 32mm system including the 5mm Shelf pin hole pattern.

We hope to see further comments like yours - thank you for responding with your post!

Hans
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Offline Sparktrician

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2018, 03:27 PM »
Three more publications that I refer to are:
  • Taunton's Building Kitchen Cabinets by Udo Schmidt
  • The Complete Cabinet Maker's Reference by Jeffrey Piontkowski
  • Illustrated Cabinetmaking by Bob Hylton

 [smile]
- Willy -

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Offline RustE

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Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2018, 04:04 PM »
Which of these covers a variety of construction and joining methods?

Just skimming through the previews, I see a lot of butt joints with pocket screws.  That doesn’t seem ideal for a shop cabinet on casters.

Offline lwoirhaye

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2018, 04:58 PM »
Which of these covers a variety of construction and joining methods?

Just skimming through the previews, I see a lot of butt joints with pocket screws.  That doesn’t seem ideal for a shop cabinet on casters.

The cheapest, fastest carcase joint I know is butt joints with glue and crown staples.  Alignment can be an issue which can be resolved with rabbets, biscuits, etc.   I made a right angle vacuum clamp I use with a vacuum pump sometimes for aligning case joints. Any joint which is held tight without fasteners is going to have you messing around with clamps.   I made some small rolling shop cabinets with those Festool pullouts for Systainers recently and used dowels, which are great for alignment and don't show externally but they take more time and clamps are involved.

Cabinet shops that stay in business use what their customers will pay for, not what's elegant.  If you line up a crown staple with the grain on a wood cabinet the staple hole can be filled and the cases can be banged out quick.  A shop with the equipment budget and space for a case clamp and the other machines involved in production doweling can put them together pretty quick too.

Pocket screws are fine too but the joints can shift, the holes are ugly and filling them is a hassle.  Appropriate joinery depends on a lot of factors, especially tolerances.   

I don't think any of the books I've looked at cover these sorts of nuances.  They usually emphasize relatively accessible methods for home shops like dados, screws and biscuits.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2018, 05:06 PM by lwoirhaye »

Offline TSO Products

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2018, 05:07 PM »
Three more publications that I refer to are:
  • Taunton's Building Kitchen Cabinets by Udo Schmidt
  • The Complete Cabinet Maker's Reference by Jeffrey Piontkowski
  • Illustrated Cabinetmaking by Bob Hylton

 [smile]

@Sparktrician - thanks for your list of references you have found useful. Ultimately no one book offeres everythign for everybody, But for building what are essentially plywood boxes, the two on our list will help many.

I look forward to hearing from others as well.
Virtually all of the books out there take a general audience approach and do not get into more advanced methods like the DOMINO or even quality track saws- a reflection of the broader market vs the more advanced methods we work with.

keep the comments coming!
Hans
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Offline TSO Products

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2018, 05:16 PM »
Which of these covers a variety of construction and joining methods?

Just skimming through the previews, I see a lot of butt joints with pocket screws.  That doesn’t seem ideal for a shop cabinet on casters.
@RustE - you'll find more in Bob Lang's book.
Whether you use staples and glue, Pocket Screws or DOMINOs does not change the basic approach to cabinet design - you can choose your preference -  really up to the individual woodworker.

Greg Paolini's approach shows you what works for stationary cabinets and his joining methods reflect functionality, speed and economy people are willing to pay for.

Hans
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Offline TSO Products

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2018, 05:24 PM »
Which of these covers a variety of construction and joining methods?

Just skimming through the previews, I see a lot of butt joints with pocket screws.  That doesn’t seem ideal for a shop cabinet on casters.

The cheapest, fastest carcase joint I know is butt joints with glue and crown staples.  Alignment can be an issue which can be resolved with rabbets, biscuits, etc.   I made a right angle vacuum clamp I use with a vacuum pump sometimes for aligning case joints. Any joint which is held tight without fasteners is going to have you messing around with clamps.   I made some small rolling shop cabinets with those Festool pullouts for Systainers recently and used dowels, which are great for alignment and don't show externally but they take more time and clamps are involved.

Cabinet shops that stay in business use what their customers will pay for, not what's elegant.  If you line up a crown staple with the grain on a wood cabinet the staple hole can be filled and the cases can be banged out quick.  A shop with the equipment budget and space for a case clamp and the other machines involved in production doweling can put them together pretty quick too.

Pocket screws are fine too but the joints can shift, the holes are ugly and filling them is a hassle.  Appropriate joinery depends on a lot of factors, especially tolerances.   

I don't think any of the books I've looked at cover these sorts of nuances.  They usually emphasize relatively accessible methods for home shops like dados, screws and biscuits.

@Iwoirhaye - your points are well taken.
It's easy to envision a shop cabinet with all sorts of elegant methods that will be finished when "you get around to it". On the other hand if you want to "git'r done" and still have a workmanlike endproduct that a customer will be willing to pay for, both of theses two books form a solid basis.

Building heavy duty shop carts obviously adds other demands which each woodworker can choose to fit the particular need.

Hans
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Offline tomp

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2018, 05:50 PM »
Here's another one

"Making Kitchen cabinets: A foolproof system for the home workshop", Paul Levine  The Taunton Press, 1988

A good overview, without a lot of detail, and mostly covering frameless (Euro-style as it was called back then) cabinets.

Offline cpw

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2018, 06:41 PM »
I'm a huge fan of Bob Lang's book.  It paid for itself many times over while I was doing my kitchen last year.  There was a lot of useful information about the actual construction, but at least for me the biggest thing to take away is that proper planning is essential.

I ended up writing a computer program that would generate my cutlist and draw some elevations of what I wanted.  There's plenty of commercial software out there too; but being on a DIY budget (and my day job being software), I also DIYed this part of it.  Being able to make tweaks in the design and end up with a proper cutlist was essential, because the design went through a few iterations as we were figuring out what we really wanted.

Offline TSO Products

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2018, 07:32 PM »
Here's another one

"Making Kitchen cabinets: A foolproof system for the home workshop", Paul Levine  The Taunton Press, 1988

A good overview, without a lot of detail, and mostly covering frameless (Euro-style as it was called back then) cabinets.

@tomp - what's not to like about Taunton's books? - back then and now!
I held on to my 1980's  B&W copies of FWW until we moved to Florida but thank fully they are available digitally now.

Greg Paolini's "Kitchen Cabinets made simple" is, of course, published by Taunton too.

Hans
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Offline SRSemenza

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2018, 08:10 PM »


Pocket screws are fine too but the joints can shift, the holes are ugly and filling them is a hassle.  Appropriate joinery depends on a lot of factors, especially tolerances.   



For cabinet boxes this problem can pretty much be eliminated by simply putting the pocket holes on the outside of the boxes.  The adjoining cabinet, top, countertop, or the fact that they are on the bottom hides them. For an end cabinet I would just add another flat panel to the outside.

Seth

Offline Mario Turcot

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2018, 08:17 PM »
oops - the second thumbnail image didn't make it in the first post.
In any case, the links in the OP should take you there.

Hans

@TSO Products , Hans

From your original post (OP) you should see additional options on the right hand side like

Click on Modify, this will give you full editing capabilities. That way you can add more picture to any of your existing post. When adding multiple pictures to a single post, you have to make sure to move/re-position the cursor between each picture. Also under  attachment you have (more attachment) you need to click there to add more pictures each time.

Hope that helps (Sarge ©)
« Last Edit: May 20, 2018, 08:19 PM by Mario Turcot »
Mario

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2018, 08:27 PM »
My methods are T&G, miter locks, pocket screws, Domino’s, glue, clamps.

Easy to hide pocket screws, they save clamp time.

8’ Miter locks and a bunch of T&G with pocket screws.

It put a stiffener behind all the rails.

I also screw the backs on, that way I can remove them for finishing. They’re re set in a groove not a rabbit.

(Odds are the photos will need to be rotated, uploading from my iPad)

Tom

Offline Cheese

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2018, 08:36 AM »

8’ Miter locks and a bunch of T&G with pocket screws.


Well you've certainly got the lock miter down pat.  [not worthy]  I'm assuming you used a router on a rail for that?


Offline Billedis

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2018, 08:47 AM »
I have relied heavily on Marc Sommerfelds videos and products and built many cabinets from 30" to 96" and they are always strong.  I am, however, going to take a page out of Tom's post and use screw on backs rather than rabbets and dados.  Bill

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2018, 09:01 AM »

8’ Miter locks and a bunch of T&G with pocket screws.


Well you've certainly got the lock miter down pat.  [not worthy]  I'm assuming you used a router on a rail for that?

(Attachment Link)

@Cheese

Don’t be taken aback by the fat old ugly guy in the video.....



Tom

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2018, 09:08 AM »
Thanks for sharing the video.  A video always makes things clearer.  Is that you in the video?  It's cool getting to see what a poster looks like in real life!
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Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2018, 09:10 AM »
I have relied heavily on Marc Sommerfelds videos and products and built many cabinets from 30" to 96" and they are always strong.  I am, however, going to take a page out of Tom's post and use screw on backs rather than rabbets and dados.  Bill

I do place the backs in a groove. I cut them about 1/32” shy of the width, then screw them in place. Having them in place allows me to move the cabinets without racking them. Once they’re ready for finish I pull the backs.

My preferred method of finish is pull the face frame, finish, reinstall, but with all of the panelized ends it’s not possible on most of these cabinets.

In the photo below you can see the dado for the back panel.

It use 1/2” back panels because most installers get carried away tightening the screws and don’t bother shiming behind the attachment point.

This set of uppers will be installed on French cleats, the uppers are 13” deep.

Tom

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2018, 09:12 AM »
Thanks for sharing the video.  A video always makes things clearer.  Is that you in the video?  It's cool getting to see what a poster looks like in real life!

Yes, I’m the fossil in the video....who else would be crazy enough to try this?

Tom

Offline Cheese

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2018, 10:23 AM »
Ya, thanks for the vid Tom...the extensions on the fence probably make a big difference.

Curious what thickness of ply you use for the back.  Is that the new shop?


Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #25 on: May 21, 2018, 10:30 AM »
Ya, thanks for the vid Tom...the extensions on the fence probably make a big difference.

Curious what thickness of ply you use for the back.  Is that the new shop?

(Attachment Link)

See reply #22.

Yes.

Tom

Offline Mario Turcot

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #26 on: May 21, 2018, 12:47 PM »
Back to the topic!

Anxiously awaiting my order  [scared]
Mario

Offline live4ever

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #27 on: May 21, 2018, 02:47 PM »
To echo @lwoirhaye, definitely what's missing from the cabinet book world is some of the "art" of cabinet building and installs.  The tips and tricks that go beyond plywood boxes.  For example, in a kitchen:  vent hood covers, the little tricks to keep in mind for appliance cabinets, different methods for installing cabinet molding, glass doors, incorporating undercab lighting/wiring, island design, etc.  And though the various YouTube videos are awesome, perhaps it's time for someone to write a tome on Festool and cabinetmaking. 

@tjbnwi Maybe after this current adventure is over...   [big grin]
Current systainer to productivity ratio:  very high

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #28 on: May 21, 2018, 03:26 PM »
To echo @lwoirhaye, definitely what's missing from the cabinet book world is some of the "art" of cabinet building and installs.  The tips and tricks that go beyond plywood boxes.  For example, in a kitchen:  vent hood covers, the little tricks to keep in mind for appliance cabinets, different methods for installing cabinet molding, glass doors, incorporating undercab lighting/wiring, island design, etc.  And though the various YouTube videos are awesome, perhaps it's time for someone to write a tome on Festool and cabinetmaking. 

@tjbnwi Maybe after this current adventure is over...   [big grin]

The most important thing to the “art” part is the appliance selection prior to fabrication. The cut sheets will define what needs to be done with the appliances as far as fit and function.

In and undercab lighting can make or break a project. Below are a few pics of grooves routed to accept LED channel. Groove is exposed for wire pass through.

I’ll get some more pictures as I move along on this one.

Tom

Offline jobsworth

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Re: Better Methods for Building Cabinets
« Reply #29 on: May 22, 2018, 10:04 AM »
Here's another one

"Making Kitchen cabinets: A foolproof system for the home workshop", Paul Levine  The Taunton Press, 1988

A good overview, without a lot of detail, and mostly covering frameless (Euro-style as it was called back then) cabinets.

I got that book. I used it as my cab making bible when I first started out. I got the video to.

Its a great book and video if ya can find a copy.


Im taking Paolini's Cab making and doors and Drawers class in Sept. I figured who would know them better then a pro cab maker.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2018, 10:07 AM by jobsworth »