Author Topic: Built your own kitchen cabinets?  (Read 35371 times)

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Offline tvgordon

  • Posts: 501
  • Springfield, Ohio
Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« on: October 07, 2007, 06:02 PM »
Has anyone built their own kitchen cabinets? 
I had to take down the over the stove cabinet because the new fridge was too tall to fit under it.  Then my wife says she would like a built in dishwasher so that means changing a base cabinet.  The cabinets are old and not to modern standards, so I can't easily remove a base cabinet or just part of one to make room for a dishwasher.  The cabinets we liked at Lowe's were about $100 to $150 a foot.  I would like to build them myself, but I wanted to hear from some of you who have built your own cabinets.
We don't want anything elaborate or exotic wood (we were thinking of using maple), so would it make more sense to build them or buy them?
Are you glad you made better cabinets than you could buy or, if you did it again, would you just buy the cabinets?
Thanks for your help,
Tom.

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Offline Eli

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Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2007, 06:23 PM »
If you think of cabinets as boxes with doors, that sit on a 4" high (or whatever your kickspace is) box with no top or bottom, they are less challenging. If you use 3/4" ply for the boxes, you end up basing your face frame on 1 1/2" (two boxes next to each other, you cover the two box edges with the face frame). Old style is often a face frame for the full run with cleats against the back wall. Dishwashers are rarely in a 'cabinet' of their own, usually the cabinets are built up to them on either side, and they just sit in the hole in the middle, with the counter top spanning the width above them.

If you were going to rip everything out, you might find it a bit of a challenge if you haven't done a whole job, and having no kitchen can be daunting, and even life threatening if your wife is like almost every other wife I've ever met (I noticed you used the royal "We"). It depends on what you want from the experience.

If you want the kitchen up and running quick, and also don't want it to be too expensive, buying a flat pack system from Lowe's or elsewhere, much as I hate to say it, is the way to go. They will beat you in price unless you have access to a lot of free plywood like I did when I built my kitchen. In a hybrid job, you could install their system without doors and make those yourself.

Having said that, I was glad I could point to mine and say "I did those". But now I've sold the house and moved, and if I was to do it again I probably wouldn't. Keep in mind that if you stay in the house, your wife will make you rip them out again in ten years.

Two things to consider with that in mind. Solid wood boxes will last longer, can be painted, and you can always switch doors. But nothing except start over fixes a bad layout.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2007, 06:41 PM by Eli »
Do nothing, stay ahead.

Offline Emmanuel

  • Posts: 174
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2007, 06:56 PM »
Hi Tom,

I am in the process of redoing my kitchen and I am building all the cabinets myself.
I am making cherry cabinet with face frames.

I break down the sheets with my TS55 but I found out I can't get the accuracy I want with it so I always cut the piece to final dimension on the table saw.
I have been using dado and rabbet joinery for the base cabinets. I found out that it is easier for me to square everything that way, the drawback being that you needs plenty of clamps to achieve the job.

For the top cabinets I have been using domino and rabbet for the back.

I have done the face frames with the help of the Domino. I also use some domino to align the face frame to the cabinet.

I don't know if you are planing to do your doors and drawer but if you do I have found that the toughest part is the finish!!! Getting something that looks professional and is durable has been a daunting task for me.

Hope this helps.

Emmanuel


Offline Qwas

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Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2007, 07:19 PM »
I bought my MFT-1080, TS-55, and PS-300 to do exactly that, in soft maple. It's been 1 year now and I have the top cabinets done, almost ready to start on the bottoms. I'm saving all my doors for last.

I am just a hobbyist woodworker. I bought a couple of books on kitchen cabinets to help. "Building Traditional Kitchen Cabinets" by Jim Tolpin is probably the best book on the subject but I have found helpful hints in other books.

The TS-55 and guide rails will do the job but a tablesaw does better. Expect to buy alot of tools. router, table router, joiner, planer, pocket hole jig or Domino, sanders, precision measuring tools (Incra rulers) and squares, and lots of clamps. I didn't have any of these and no workshop. It's cost me about $15,000 to get the tools and a workshop. Expensive cabinets!

My results have not been perfect but satisfactory.  It feels great to look at them and know I built it. Unless you're after that same feeling, I would recommend buying the cabinets and then install them yourself.

Offline Emmanuel

  • Posts: 174
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2007, 07:30 PM »
I second qwas on the tool buying experience. As I was building the kitchen my little basement shop turn into a quasi industrial setup.
Couple of my friends carpenter drop by once in a while just to grab a beer and be surrounded with tools. Drive my wife crazy ;D
I will post some pictures some day.

Offline clintholeman

  • Posts: 301
  • Sonoma County, CA
    • Clint Holeman, Fine Furniture and Cabinets
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2007, 07:42 PM »
Building kitchen cabinets is only daunting in the mind before you do it.  Like someone said earlier, it is just a bunch of boxes sitting on a 4" base.  With some trim strips around to make up for the wall irregularities.

There is truly nothing magical about building the carcases, face frames, nor doors and drawers.  And, unlike the cabinets you might get from one of the big box shops:  they will be made likely of solid wood; you can get a new door/drawer front if you happen to break one; and they will look way better.

While it is one of the things I build for a living, my next door neighbor, who has never built anything before is doing it and his stuff is quite beautiful. Also, they will be there for a while.

I find that my FesTool system is more than adequate for building cabinets.  Accuracy is entirely a matter of you doing it.  It isn't necessarily a function of the tool. You don't need a cabinet saw [read finger eater].  And for the price of a decent one, you can get a FesTool system that will do very nicely.

Don't forget, that a HUGE part of making great cabinets is the finish.  Do an OK job on the construction and a great job on the finish and you'll get raves - do an OK job on a terrific construction job and it will look like it.  Fortunately there are many very good and pretty easy finishes that are available today.

My recommendations for a basic FesTool system for cabinets is:  a TS 55, MFT 1080, either a 1400 or 1010 router; Domino, of course; and a couple of the 6" sander [Rotex 150 being one].  I might also get the HL 850 planner if your kitchen is on the large size [or if you plan to do more stuf, which you likely will].

Just don't get in a big hurry and you'll do just great!!  Make sure your wife understands that it may take you a little longer.  And do it in phases - which is what my neighbor did.  And he hasn't had his whole kitchen torn up.

As they say i the commercial - Just Do It!!!!
Clint Holeman

clint@clintholeman.com
http://www.clintholeman.com

Offline ccmviking

  • Posts: 411
    • Blue River Cabinetry Kitchen and Bath
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2007, 07:47 PM »
You can't really make them better than you can buy them.  Main reason is the finishing.  Take a cabinet as an example.  Better stain and finish quality than any of us can hope to obtain plus they are finished on the interiors without a lot of overspray etc. Even if you don't get full plywood construction the interiors are finished with varigaurd (tm) which is a type of vinyl.  Most custom cabinets are particle board interiors that have to be painted white or they are melamine which all looks pretty crappy.  Another plus is that all the boxes are seperate so you don't get so much bug/rodent transfer if you live in an area where they are plentiful.  One downside to box cabinets is the sizes.  They are only available in 3" (6,9,12,15,18 etc.) increments so design is critical to keep from wasting space with fillers.  The drawer boxes are all 3/4" dovetailed hard wood (usually maple) and can be ordered with different glides including the full extension Blum's with Blumotion.  You can replaced a damaged part a few years down the road and get an almost exact match (depending on what aging the sun/lighting etc. does to them (the finish does have u.v. inhibitors).  There's a lot of fun and pride in building your own but a lot of time and anxiety as well.  I can send you a lot of pictures of installed box cabinet jobs with stacked molding etc.  I install a lot of them plus I also build cabinets.  I can go on and on about the difference but my favorite for most applications would definitely be Kraftmaid cabinetry.

Chris...

Offline clintholeman

  • Posts: 301
  • Sonoma County, CA
    • Clint Holeman, Fine Furniture and Cabinets
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2007, 10:56 PM »
Chris-

I don't really agree with you about the finish.  There are some outstanding finishes available to anyone today.  Lots of them.

As to getting replacement doors and drawers, I get about 1 - 2 calls a week for them from folks who have bought cabs from the big box stores and find that they cannot get a replacement because they simply don't stock "that color" or "that door" anymore.

The cabinets with the Blum slides and hinges and dovetailed drawers are the $150/foot kind either.  Once you are in a quality arena, you are looking at substantially more.
Clint Holeman

clint@clintholeman.com
http://www.clintholeman.com

Offline John Russell

  • Posts: 113
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2007, 11:32 PM »
I am going to build kitchen cabinets in the near future ... I have to agree with Clint that a durable finish that looks professional is within the reach of the person who wishes to do the work. My wife built some bathroom cabinets in the style we plan to use for the kitchen and then finished them with just water based poly. We sprayed that on using an HVLP unit with good results. Finish is very important and there is some knowlege to acquire to understand the basics. We took a semester class in finishing at our local jr. college and it was of substantial help in understand what to do and how to do it. One of the big take away points was how to lay down a layer of finish and then apply stain between coats to make everything look as we wanted it to.  Our main concern in thinking about building our own cabinets was how to finish so that all the woodwork was not compromised by a mediocre finish. We invested the time and we know can do it.  That is my experience so far....

Offline Mark Enomoto

  • Posts: 266
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2007, 12:19 AM »
When we had our kitchen remodeled with custom cabinets was that we then had to put these crappy plastic inserts from Storables or IKEA into the drawers to organize the "stuff" that went inside. If you look at the Blum Tandembox Orga-line they seem to have a great system of interior organizer elements that I really covet over our beautiful custom dovetailed drawers (with Blum full extension undermounts of course). What I am getting at is that IF you are going to all the trouble of building custom carcasses and drawers really put some thinking into the "insides" of your kitchen. What I truly admire about IKEA, is that it is all one ecosystem of "stuff" that works together. OK, maybe it won't last very long but like Festool, it is the system of things that really makes their design outstanding to me. Has anyone done a custom system design for things like cutlery holders or knife blocks? I've got two friends that have installed IKEA kitchens and for the price they are pretty darn nice. Of course they aren't staying there forever or for ten years for that matter. I'm sure this will spark a great discussion or "diss-cussing" about IKEA :-)


Offline Dan Clark

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Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2007, 12:20 AM »
I am going to build kitchen cabinets in the near future ... I have to agree with Clint that a durable finish that looks professional is within the reach of the person who wishes to do the work. My wife built some bathroom cabinets in the style we plan to use for the kitchen and then finished them with just water based poly. We sprayed that on using an HVLP unit with good results. Finish is very important and there is some knowlege to acquire to understand the basics. We took a semester class in finishing at our local jr. college and it was of substantial help in understand what to do and how to do it. One of the big take away points was how to lay down a layer of finish and then apply stain between coats to make everything look as we wanted it to.  Our main concern in thinking about building our own cabinets was how to finish so that all the woodwork was not compromised by a mediocre finish. We invested the time and we know can do it.  That is my experience so far....
John,

I'm thinking about an HVLP unit.  Which brand and model gun and compressor did you use?

Thanks,

Dan.


Offline John Russell

  • Posts: 113
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2007, 12:42 AM »
Dan,
I bought an Accuspray 240. There are several other models that should work well for a home shop, but this one does what I need. I recently used it to spray Sherwin Williams pro white for a lot of baseboard, crown, and door molding and it worked great. Also used it for applying some lacquer for a bed my wife made and it worked well there too. We invested in the 3m Paint Protection System because it is less hassle and saves some time in cleanup. It is worth looking at if you do various types of finishes. Anyway, you probably know there are various HVLP units that work well for the small shop, but for me the Accuspray was an easy choice because of availability, support, and supplies.
John

Offline Eli

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Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2007, 12:46 AM »
Blum slides and hinges and dovetailed drawers are the $150/foot kind either.

NOT the $150/foot kind

I've got two friends that have installed IKEA kitchens and for the price they are pretty darn nice. Of course they aren't staying there forever or for ten years for that matter. I'm sure this will spark a great discussion or "diss-cussing" about IKEA :-)

I like IKEA wardrobe and kitchen systems. She can change her mind all she wants, just move shelf slides and change doors. Also, IKEA is 32mm euro system I think, so if you like IKEA stuff Tom, it's a perfect excuse to buy the SYS LR-32!
« Last Edit: October 08, 2007, 12:51 AM by Eli »
Do nothing, stay ahead.

Offline Emmanuel

  • Posts: 174
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2007, 07:40 AM »
Hi John,

What brand of water based poly did you used? I have exerimented with the General Finish one. It looks very nice but it stains (becomes dull) after using household cleaners (chlorox, dish soap). I want to use water based as it is the only thing I can spray safely in the house.

Emmanuel

Offline Dan Clark

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Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2007, 09:38 AM »
Dan,
I bought an Accuspray 240. There are several other models that should work well for a home shop, but this one does what I need.
John,

That's one of units I"ve been looking at.   That's a very nice system.  I guess the key issue for me is true HVLP vs conversion systems.   I keep reading conflicting information that one is better than the other.   I'm still wrestling with this.

We invested in the 3m Paint Protection System because it is less hassle and saves some time in cleanup. It is worth looking at if you do various types of finishes. .
This caught my eye a few months ago.  One of the things I dislike about finishing (regardless of method) is cleanup.  Even at the cost of extra materials and supplies, the 3M system looks like it would greatly reduce cleanup hassles and offer lots of flexibility.

Thanks,

Dan.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2007, 09:47 AM by Dan Clark »

Offline Eric Franklin

  • Posts: 19
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2007, 11:09 AM »
Not trying to hijack the thread.  I'm just trying to find info on the 3m Paint Protection System.

Thanks,
Eric

Offline Dave Rudy

  • Posts: 771
  • Coloroda Front Range, in the lee of Pikes Peak
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2007, 12:12 PM »
I'm just trying to find info on the 3m Paint Protection System.

Start here:  http://www.finishingequipmentandsupplies.com/

I test drove one at AWFS in Las Vegas and was mucho impressed -- haven't really gotten to use it in the shop yet.  THe PPS system looks phenomenal -- it will work, by the way, with systems other than Accuspray, although they are by reputation the best.

HTH

Offline tvgordon

  • Posts: 501
  • Springfield, Ohio
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2007, 04:23 PM »
Thanks for your input guys!  I actually have most (if not all) the tools needed to build the cabinets.  I've built wall cabinets that matched the cabinets that were already in the kitchen.  I would like to get a TS55 or 75 to break down the plywood for the sides of the cabinets.
The cabinets in the kitchen are painted white, so I didn't have to stain or apply a clear topcoat like I want to do if I build cabinets now.  I don't own spray equipment and I currently don't have room in my shop to set up a spray area, so what are my choices for a good looking a durable finish?  A wipe on poly maybe?  Also, if I remember right, I read an article by Frank Klause (is that right?) and he said he used an oil finish on his cabinets.  I was wondering about the durability, but he said they it was an easy to clean and easy to repair finish.  I'll have to find and read the article again.
Eli, I'm not in a hurry on the kitchen.  I just need to get one cabinet done soon so I can install my microwave.  I'll probably just build a few cabinets at a time and store them until they are all completed and can be installed.  I've never looked into the IKEA products.  I don't think there is a store near me and I haven't visited their website.
Tom.

Offline Eli

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Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2007, 05:38 PM »
Sounds like you should and will build them yourself. ;D
Do nothing, stay ahead.

Offline Emmanuel

  • Posts: 174
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2007, 06:22 PM »
My first finish experimentations for the cabinets were with wipe on poly.
It is very easy to apply but it takes forever to cure. No matter what I tried I always got dust nib on the finish  >:(

Emmanuel

Offline Dan Clark

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Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #20 on: October 08, 2007, 06:56 PM »
My first finish experimentations for the cabinets were with wipe on poly.
It is very easy to apply but it takes forever to cure. No matter what I tried I always got dust nib on the finish  >:(

Emmanuel
Emmanuel,

Hi.  How did you resolve your finishing issues?   Hmm...   maybe I should ask, did you resolve your finishing issues?

Thanks,

Dan.

Offline Emmanuel

  • Posts: 174
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #21 on: October 08, 2007, 07:10 PM »
I am still having my finishing issues  :o
I am 99% convinced I will go with spraying a water based poly. I have a Fuji HPLV unit and do manage to get a very decent looking finish.
The lat problem I am having is that the finish I pick (GF High performance) which rated best overall in FWW did fail after runing some tests with some house cleaners leaving a dull appearence. Someone on another forum commented that I should leave the finish to cure for a while (he mentionned a month) before it can resists chemicals. In the meantime I will try other brands just in case...

Emmanuel

Offline John Russell

  • Posts: 113
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #22 on: October 08, 2007, 08:44 PM »
Hello Emmanuel,
I used an Olympic water based poly that seemed to work fine for our bath cabinets. I have some of the General product, but have yet to try it. I know this stuff does take some time to cure.

Offline Emmanuel

  • Posts: 174
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #23 on: October 08, 2007, 08:50 PM »
Thanks John, I will try it.

Emmanuel

Offline Dan Clark

  • Posts: 545
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Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #24 on: October 08, 2007, 08:53 PM »
I am still having my finishing issues  :o
I am 99% convinced I will go with spraying a water based poly. I have a Fuji HPLV unit and do manage to get a very decent looking finish.
The lat problem I am having is that the finish I pick (GF High performance) which rated best overall in FWW did fail after runing some tests with some house cleaners leaving a dull appearence. Someone on another forum commented that I should leave the finish to cure for a while (he mentionned a month) before it can resists chemicals. In the meantime I will try other brands just in case...

Emmanuel
Emmanuel,

Please post your results here.  I'm interested in what you find.

Thanks,

Dan.

Offline clintholeman

  • Posts: 301
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    • Clint Holeman, Fine Furniture and Cabinets
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #25 on: October 09, 2007, 12:12 AM »
Benjamin Moore makes a water based poly that is often used on floors.  It makes for a very good kitchen and bath topcoat [X 3 or 4].  It doesn't yellow and is quite durable.

There are certainly others as well.  I do like the BM for cabinets though.  It is very easy to apply. Looks like a million bucks!  All of my customers have loved it.  It isn't really cheap, but well worth it!  IMO, others have their way and it works too!
Clint Holeman

clint@clintholeman.com
http://www.clintholeman.com

Offline brandon.nickel

  • Posts: 241
  • Currently Peoria, IL - Eventually back to CO
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #26 on: October 09, 2007, 12:22 AM »
You can certainly do it yourself and for less money than you will get charged by Lowe's or HD.  For instance, if you want to go high-end with your drawer slides, check out:
AH Turf
They sell the Blumotion drawer slides that I thought I got a great deal on at $38/set for $26.  HD charges you a $50 surplus for that feature (on top of the Tandem undermount).

I agree that finishing is the hardest part of doing a quality job.  There's a lot of sanding involved in the drawers and interiors of cabinets.  You'll go through gallons of semi-gloss poly.  I wish I had a spray setup, but I don't (yet).  The Minwax poly I used raised the grain on the 3/4" plywood, so I spent a fair bit of time using my Rotex and 220 Brilliant to smooth them back out.  If I do it again I'll pre-finish the carcasses before assembly (mask your dados!).  I would love to get a DTS400 as those drawers have lots of corners that my RO150 won't reach.  Wipe-on stain and poly require careful attention to avoid runs.  Runs look very amateurish.  Runs in poly are also hard to remove without sanding through the stain layer.  Spraying would definitely help here.

I would consider a pocket-hole system to be a necessity.  Dominos are great but pocket holes are instantaneous and dissassemble-able.

You'll save a lot of time if you batch-build components.  No matter how you decide to build (box on box or integral cabinet sides w/dadoes), you can knock out 20 of something in not much more than the time required for a single.

Work out ALL of your dimensions and joinery first before starting to cut.  Most of my delays were caused be incomplete measurements or calculations.  I use CAD to plan my cabinets.  My wife thinks I'm over the top and that I take to long to start, but it sure is great when you don't ever have to do math.  Just cut and it all fits the first time.  Working out the drawings forces you to make decisions on dado and rabbet placement, length of support pieces, etc.  Plus, if you have all of the parts modeled, you can make a sheet of plywood and spin them until you've got the least waste.  You can do the same thing on paper, but I'm pretty quick with the computer and I always find myself adjusting things as I get better ideas.  This way I can just print a new copy.

Good luck and keep us informed!
TS55, MFT1080, Domino, OF1400, LR32, RO150E, DTS400, Trion, CT33

Offline Emmanuel

  • Posts: 174
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #27 on: October 09, 2007, 09:45 AM »
Thanks clint.
Are you refering to Benwood? Stays Clear? Acrylic Polyurethane Low Lustre 423 ?
Also are you spraying it?

Emmanuel

Offline clintholeman

  • Posts: 301
  • Sonoma County, CA
    • Clint Holeman, Fine Furniture and Cabinets
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #28 on: October 09, 2007, 10:18 AM »
Emmanuel said:  ...Benwood? Stays Clear? Acrylic Polyurethane Low Lustre 423?

Yep that's the stuff.  And, no, I don't spray it.  I use a Corona finishing brush [very fine ends] and sand VERY LIGHTLY, using a fine sanding sponge, between coats.  Sometimes I use the High Gloss for the first couple of coats and the Low Lustre for that final coat.  It can add a lot of depth.

I don't think it takes any longer than spraying if you include the clean up. But I'm a bit of a neanderthal about such things.  I've talked with guys who have sprayed it and they said it went on just fine - no problems at all.
Clint Holeman

clint@clintholeman.com
http://www.clintholeman.com

Offline tvgordon

  • Posts: 501
  • Springfield, Ohio
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #29 on: October 09, 2007, 06:22 PM »
Thanks for your replies.  Finishing is the part that worries me the most.  The reason I wondered about wipe on poly is that I started using it for furniture because I always had runs in the finish when I used a brush.  Of course I didn't find them until the finish was dry. I was looking at Wood magazine and they made cabinets out of sheets that have melamine on one side only.  I don't like the plastic interior look, but then I wouldn't have to finish the inside of the cabinets.  Plus my wife likes the bright white for the inside of the cabinets and likes that they would be easy to clean (how often do the inside of a cabinet need cleaned anyway?).  I still like the wood look over the plastic look.
If I remember right, I read somewhere that the cabinets were sized so you can get one base cabinet and one wall cabinet out of one sheet of plywood.  Does this seem right?  Also, what are you guys using for plywood?  Just birch ply from Lowe's or HD or hardwood plywood that matches the door material?  $35 for birch seems better than $100 for maple for something that will only be seen when you open a door.
Clint, how do you avoid brush marks and runs when applying the finish?
Thanks Brandon for the link for drawer slides.  What hinges are you using - European or other?

Tom.

Offline Jim McFarland

  • Posts: 87
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Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #30 on: October 09, 2007, 06:31 PM »
Not a direct answer for your "one sheet of plywood" question but I highly recommend the Cutlist Plus software for laying out sheet good cuts.  You can download a trial version here.  I have the Silver version and have been very pleased with the product. 

In my experience, product support is excellent:  I moved the software from a desktop to a laptop and my 2 year old license key did not work.  I sent an email to the web page contact mailbox at 8am on a Saturday morning and got an updated key from the software author within 15 minutes.

Update 1:  woops, looks like product is only available for Windows XP or later (no Mac version) if that is an issue -- check the FAQ

Update 2:  software (at least the Silver version) also supports dimensioned lumber layout and provisions for hardware, finish and labor if you want to estimate the total cost of a project.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2007, 07:25 PM by Jim McFarland »
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Offline Emmanuel

  • Posts: 174
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #31 on: October 09, 2007, 07:08 PM »
I would stay away from the lowes or HD ply. When I first started doing the cabinets I used one birch ply from HD to do a prototype and the thing is really unstable. I had to cut my dado oversized because as soon as I was making a cut the thickness of the material was changing unevenly. Also it was a real hassle to find a sheet that was not damage or bent at the store.

I did all my cases with birch ply which unfortunatly is currently  very expensive  :-[

Emmanuel

Offline Dave Ronyak

  • Posts: 2234
  • Flyin' from NE Ohio
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #32 on: October 09, 2007, 11:11 PM »
Tom,

I am writing the following from my own experience, with the hope of encouraging you to "go for it."

I was in much the same position 20 years ago that you are now, except that I had no Festools, no FOG helpers, a Shopsmith and some Craftsman power tools including a radial arm saw.  I redid all of the cabinets in my small kitchen using solid cherry for the face frames and doors and drawer fronts, motivated as you are by the need to modify one of the cabinets to fit a microwave/vent unit over the cooking range, and installation of a dishwasher.   The original cabinets weren't even cheap boxes.  Ryan Homes simply fastened a couple of rails (furring strips to the drywall to support the backs of the shelves and drawer guides, built a toe-kick support for the floor of the cabinet, and installed painted poplar face frames to which they fastned the doors (vinyl coated particle board).

I built new face frames using dowels, assembled them on the garage floor.  One piece for the upper hanging "cabinet" , a second face frame for the lower "cabinet."  To accomodate the utensils and cookware my wife had, I replace the original stack of 3 nearly equal depth drawers with 4 drawers with the top one being less deep than the original (to hold tableware type utensils) and the third down and bottom most drawer deep enough to hold her pots and large boiler for making soupls and chilli.  The drawers were fully dovetailed, front and back using a cheap Craftsman jig with plastic templates, and mounted on Blum slides.

I finished the insides and undersides of the drawers using lacquer sanding sealer and lacquer topcoat.  Everthing else to be exposed was finished using oil-based stains, top coated wih PU varnish.  Back then my brush technique wasn't very good, so I brushed the first coat or two, and applied the final finish coat using spray cans from Minwax.  To get the degree of gloss/flatness of finish that I wanted, I concurrently sprayed the same surface with both a gloss and a satin spray can.  Although I had conventional HP spray equipment, I did not want to use lacquer for the exterior exposed surfaces in the kitchen because it was too brittle and easily damaged if bumped.  I did not want to spray varnish in my garage due to its slow drying time and resulting tacky mist particles that would settle on everything in the garage.  My solution was to take the pieces to be sprayed outside and set them up on inverted plastic drywall pails with ply wood or boards for temporary supports. 

I also made a set of hanging cabinets from scratch (no plywood, all solid cherry), and hung them to serve as a partial divider between that kitchen and the adjoining dining room.  I built them with glass paneled doors on the front and back so their contents could be seen and reached from either room.  I had an art glass shop make a leaded glass fixture which I mounted within the recess in the bottom of that hanging cabinet.  Below that hanging cabinet I made a large butcher block style table top of maple strips with a rim of thicker cherry. which served dual functions as a working surface for food preparation (the left 1/3 portion replaced the original maple top of a single ~24" wide base cabinet) and as my family's (four people) daily meal table.

When it came time to sell that house ~7 years ago, the kitchen was one of the highlights that "grabbed" all prospective buyers.  And my wife still misses it, despite having a much larger professionally done kitchen, also of cherry.  She much preferred the warmth, depth, and clarity of the finish I achieved using the methods and materials described above over the modern HVLP sprayed catalyzed lacquer finish on our present cabinets which is extremely smooth, but lacks the clarity and visibility of the wood grain that my simple techniques provided.

One more point.  The cost of my kitchen project was about 1/5 of the lowest quote that my wife and I obtained, and that did not include the arched cabinet doors, or the new hanging cabinet dividing the two rooms.

We were living in the house when this project was in progress.  Because I did it in phases, the disruption wasn't too bad or long.

Did I make some mistakes?  Yes, but most miscut pieces could be salvaged, and even so, the project cost was still much lower than what others would have charged me.

With my much improved shop including several Festools, I think making the same kitchen cabinets or better ones having actual boxes for frames will be much simpler.   A pocket jig or Domino machine or biscuit jointer would make making face frames and boxes much easier, faster and accurate than the methods I used (dowels, rabbets and dados with glue only - no pin or brad nailer).  I plan to do that after making some furniture items, after making some cabinets, etc. for my current garage/shop.

Go for it!!  You can do it!!

Dave R.
Friends, family and Festools make for a good retirement.  PCs...I'm not so sure.

Offline tvgordon

  • Posts: 501
  • Springfield, Ohio
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #33 on: October 10, 2007, 06:21 PM »
Thanks Jim, I have XP so I might look into getting that program.  I'd seen it advertised,  but wasn't sure how much I would use it.
Thanks Dave for the encouragement and describing your kitchen.  I know this is something I know (or should know), but what is PU varnish?  Would you still brush the finish or would you use a HVLP system and/or a water-based finish?
You guys have talked me into going for it.  Now I have to plan the kitchen and figure all the dimensions, material needs, etc..  I should be able to make nicer cabinets for less than I can buy them and have them just how I want them (or just how the wife wants them).

Tom.

Offline Dave Rudy

  • Posts: 771
  • Coloroda Front Range, in the lee of Pikes Peak
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #34 on: October 10, 2007, 10:12 PM »
Make sure to build some Festools into the pricing. :D :D
Profit, cost savings, needed to make the finished product more polished, etc.


Offline tvgordon

  • Posts: 501
  • Springfield, Ohio
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #35 on: October 11, 2007, 07:10 PM »
Yea Dave, I was looking into that.  Lets see, after watching the Festool video on the TS 75, I'm going to need that so I can stack all the plywood and cut out all the cabinets pieces at the same time!  I think I can sell the wife on that.  I'll need the RTS and LS sander too.  What else am I forgeting?

Tom.

Offline Eli

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Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #36 on: October 11, 2007, 07:59 PM »
I forget what you have....
CT22, MFT 1080, SYS-LR32, OF1400 or 1010. A coupla rails. I'm a TS55, but we've beaten that topic to death all over the place like religion.
Do nothing, stay ahead.

Offline clintholeman

  • Posts: 301
  • Sonoma County, CA
    • Clint Holeman, Fine Furniture and Cabinets
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #37 on: October 11, 2007, 09:42 PM »
Don't forget the Domino!!!!  You'll be glad you have it.
Clint Holeman

clint@clintholeman.com
http://www.clintholeman.com

Offline Eli

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Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #38 on: October 12, 2007, 05:28 AM »
right, duh. In front of my nose....
Do nothing, stay ahead.

Offline Dave Ronyak

  • Posts: 2234
  • Flyin' from NE Ohio
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #39 on: October 13, 2007, 12:02 AM »
Thanks Jim, I have XP so I might look into getting that program.  I'd seen it advertised,  but wasn't sure how much I would use it.
Thanks Dave for the encouragement and describing your kitchen.  I know this is something I know (or should know), but what is PU varnish?  Would you still brush the finish or would you use a HVLP system and/or a water-based finish?
You guys have talked me into going for it.  Now I have to plan the kitchen and figure all the dimensions, material needs, etc..  I should be able to make nicer cabinets for less than I can buy them and have them just how I want them (or just how the wife wants them).

Tom.


Sorry, Tom.  PU = polyurethane.

Dave R.
Friends, family and Festools make for a good retirement.  PCs...I'm not so sure.

Offline tvgordon

  • Posts: 501
  • Springfield, Ohio
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #40 on: October 13, 2007, 08:02 PM »
I knew it either had to be polyurethane or really stinky!.
Tom.

Offline tvgordon

  • Posts: 501
  • Springfield, Ohio
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #41 on: October 14, 2007, 04:42 PM »
Thanks for the book tip Steve, I ordered Jim's book from Amazon (lowest price I could find) and should have it in a few days.
Clint, what material are you using for the cabinet boxes?  Also, how difficult is it to brush the Benwood and not have drips or runs???

Tom.

Offline brandon.nickel

  • Posts: 241
  • Currently Peoria, IL - Eventually back to CO
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #42 on: October 19, 2007, 07:32 PM »
Tom,

Sorry for the long delay.  I've been away.  I used Blum self-closing low profile hinges and the Festool LR32 for drilling the hinge cups.  If you have a drill press and a plastic jig from Rockler or others you can do it for much less money, but I really, really like the ability to drill perfect shelf pin holes with my OF1400.  I only have 7 upper cabinets in my kitchen but that's 224 holes (yes, I just counted).  I also did some of the lowers just because I could without having to do any work.  It's actually kinda fun. 

I didn't have too much trouble with finishing the face-frames and the cabinet/drawer interiors.  My biggest headache was the ~4'x3' exposed side of the island.  I laminated the 3/4" poplar plywood with a 1/4" cherry from HD.  Then I stained it using General American Cherry stain and finished with Minwax semi-gloss polyurethane.  I used a foam brush for the first couple of tries, but it was leaving many, many small bubbles which hardened into little volcano rings.  So, I sanded using the RO150 and 320 Brilliant and tried again.  Then did it again, switching to a horse-hair brush.  That left brush marks, so by coat 5 or 6 I ended up thinning the poly slightly and accepting the slightly imperfect finish.  My wife can't see the flaws, but I can.  Stupid gnats that like to swim in my freshly-applied poly...

I used 3/4" poplar/birch plywood for all of my cabinet sides and bottoms.  I used 1/2" poplar/birch plywood for the backs.  I used 1/2" baltic birch for all of the drawers, including the bottom of the drawers.  I know you can use 1/4", but then I couldn't stand inside my drawers.   ;D

-Brandon
TS55, MFT1080, Domino, OF1400, LR32, RO150E, DTS400, Trion, CT33

Offline Jerry Work

  • Posts: 307
    • The Dovetail Joint
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #43 on: October 20, 2007, 12:44 PM »
Hi all,

I am a bit late coming into this thread but would like to offer an alternative construction technique that is simple, fast, and lighter in weight than hefting all the MDF.  Lay down and level the bottom toe kick box everywhere you want lower cabinets.  Then build two simple frames the width and length of the run using something like 20 x 100mm stock.  These are going to become the bottom and false top.  Place a cross piece centered wherever you want dividers between drawers or doors.  Do tongues and groves for what will become the bottom and assemble it with panels.  No need for panels in what will become the false top.  Butt joints with dominos will provide plenty of strength so no fancy joinery required.  Now lay these out flat beside each other with the front edges aligned and clamp them so they can't move.  Use the guided rail router to cut female DT groves on the center lines to accept the drawer and door dividers.  If the run terminates against a wall center the DT grove 20mm away from the edge to keep it from breaking off during assembly.

Make a set of door and drawer divider frames everywhere you placed the cross pieces.  Add one upright in the center of each of these dividers.  Add panels if the divider separates door sections.  No panels are necessary if the divider separates two drawer sections.  Cut male DTs on what will become the top and bottom of these dividers.  Make it a loose slide fit into the female DT groves.  Apply a finish while each of these components are in the flat and fit the drawer guides to the sides of the drawer dividers while they are in the flat.  Drill a hole in the metal drawer slide if you need to for a screw to go into that center upright to add strength.  Fit the door hinges and drill the adjustable shelf bracket holes while the dividers are in the flat as well.

Make one more frame and panel to fit snugly into the back of each door compartment to keep the final assembly from racking.

Now you can carry all these pieces to the job site for assembly in place.  Check the wall for plumb.  If it is not and the wall slopes towards you, then hold the bottom frame out from the wall by the amount the wall is out of plumb.  Lay the bottom frame on top of the toe kick box and screw it down.  Slide the end most dividers into the sliding DTs.  With a helper, slide the top frame into the sliding DTs on the bottom side of the top frame.  Then slide the other dividers into place.  Since you leveled the toe kick to start with and the dividers are square, the assembly will be square and plumb no matter how far off the floors and walls are from flat and plumb.

The final step is to insert the anti-rack backs into the spaces that will become door/shelf compartments and square up the whole assembly.  As you add the drawers you will be amazed by how stiff this whole thing becomes.  Drop in the doors and you are ready for the top.  The false top frame becomes the very handy way to attach whatever top material you select.

Your back will appreciate the fact that you did not have to flop around the heavy melamine mdf, your shop will love not having all those boxes taking up room, your truck (or the walk to the house) will love the fact that everything transports in the flat, and the homeowner (LOML perhaps) will love seeing it all go together so much more like fine furniture than they might have expected.  You will love the fact that it takes only a fraction of the time required to build "traditional" kitchen cabinets and you get to work with nice solid hard woods instead of that dusty mdf stuff.  Fun.

Jerry
The Dovetail Joint
Fine furniture designed and hand crafted by Jerry Work
in the 1907 former Masonic Temple building
in historic Kerby, OR. 
26 mi SW of Grants Pass on US 199, The Redwood Highway
Visitors always welcome!
http://jerrywork.com
glwork@mac.com

Offline TahoeTwoBears

  • Posts: 194
  • Sugar Bear - South Lake Tahoe, California, USA
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #44 on: October 20, 2007, 06:12 PM »
Nice Jerry, now when can we expect the DVD version? (For those of us that are textually challenged).

Mike

Offline Eli

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Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #45 on: October 20, 2007, 07:54 PM »
Okay. I had to read it five times but I'm pretty sure I've got it. And I really like it. A couple questions.

The bottom frame only has T+G panels under doored sections, not drawer sections?
The anti rack panels are secured how? By screwing down through the top or are they DT'ed as well?

One or two pictures of the inside of an installation would be great.
Do nothing, stay ahead.

Offline tvgordon

  • Posts: 501
  • Springfield, Ohio
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #46 on: October 21, 2007, 10:07 AM »
Thanks Eli and Mike, I thought I was the only one who read Jerry's post many times yet still didn't quite get it.

If you have some time Jerry, how about a few pictures or just dumb it down a little.

Thanks, Tom.

Offline Jerry Work

  • Posts: 307
    • The Dovetail Joint
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #47 on: October 21, 2007, 11:54 AM »
I've never been very good at the "dumb it down" stuff but will try.

Most kitchen cabinets are made up of a series of boxes with open fronts that are hooked together on a common base.  The open fronts get filled with either doors or drawers.  Where two boxes fit together some form of face frame is needed to cover the doubled raw edges.  Often the upper portion of the box is also open with just corner blocks to add rigidity.

In the method I described there is a common base frame sitting on a leveled toe kick so the base frame is level independent of the floor.  Wherever a wall between sections is desired place a cross member between the front and back of the base frame.  Wherever the section is to be a door/shelf section add a panel.  No need for panels under sections that are filled by drawers as you will never see below the bottom of the lowest drawer.  If you want to put in a panel anyway, it won't hurt anything.  Same with the back areas.

The top frame is identical to the bottom or base frame except it has no panels as it will be covered with some form of countertop.  To hold the dividers between sections you cut matching dovetail groves in the centers of each cross member.  To make sure those DT groves line up on the top of the bottom/base frame and the underside of the upper/top frame cut them at the same time with the faces of each aligned.

The dividers are just butt jointed (domino reinforced) R&S frames with one centered up and down member.  That is used as an additional fastening point for the ball bearing drawer slides that would otherwise only be attached at the front and back of the divider.  Run the rails up and down and the rails front to back so the centered up and down unit is a center stile.  Include a panel for the dividers that form the sides of a door/shelf compartment.  No need for panels between two drawer sections as you will never see that once the drawers are in place.  Build these dividers to be greater than the desired distance between the top and bottom frames by the depth of the two female sliding DT slots so once everything is together you have the up and down dimension you want.  Cut male DTs on the top and bottom of each divider component.

Make R, S & P components to fill the back of each section that will be door/shelf areas. 

Finish everything in the flat as it is easier and faster than trying to finish the assembly in place.  Mount all the hardware you need (drawer slides and door hinges) while everything is in the flat for the same reason.

Now you can just slide everything together on site.  The base frame is level independent of the floor so all the upright sections will be plumb once you install the back frames.  The leveled base frame is held away from the wall by enough that the upright dividers will fit and be flush at the front edges of the base, top and divider frames to make up for walls that are out of plumb.  For a door/shelf section between two drawer sections hold those back panels in place via screws from the drawer side into the edges of the upright portions of the back sections.  Where two door/drawer sections sit side by side I use the mortised sliding domino lock shown in the Getting the Most from the Domino manual for mounting sliding doors so the only thing visable from inside the door/shelf area is the small 5mm vertical slot and one screw head. 

You can use either insert or overlap doors and drawers.  There is no face frame so you get a very clean look either way.  It is just a matter of whether the front edges of the base, top and upright frames show or not.

Overhead cabinets can be done in the same way, just think upside down.

Jerry

Thanks Eli and Mike, I thought I was the only one who read Jerry's post many times yet still didn't quite get it.

If you have some time Jerry, how about a few pictures or just dumb it down a little.

Thanks, Tom.

The Dovetail Joint
Fine furniture designed and hand crafted by Jerry Work
in the 1907 former Masonic Temple building
in historic Kerby, OR. 
26 mi SW of Grants Pass on US 199, The Redwood Highway
Visitors always welcome!
http://jerrywork.com
glwork@mac.com

Offline Eli

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Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #48 on: October 21, 2007, 02:18 PM »
Thanks Jerry. Crystal clear. I look forward to trying this out.



(I'd still buy a DVD though) :D
Do nothing, stay ahead.

Offline Dave Ronyak

  • Posts: 2234
  • Flyin' from NE Ohio
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #49 on: October 21, 2007, 10:26 PM »
Tom,


I didn't have too much trouble with finishing the face-frames and the cabinet/drawer interiors.  My biggest headache was the ~4'x3' exposed side of the island.  I laminated the 3/4" poplar plywood with a 1/4" cherry from HD.  Then I stained it using General American Cherry stain and finished with Minwax semi-gloss polyurethane.  I used a foam brush for the first couple of tries, but it was leaving many, many small bubbles which hardened into little volcano rings.  So, I sanded using the RO150 and 320 Brilliant and tried again.  Then did it again, switching to a horse-hair brush.  That left brush marks, so by coat 5 or 6 I ended up thinning the poly slightly and accepting the slightly imperfect finish.  My wife can't see the flaws, but I can.  Stupid gnats that like to swim in my freshly-applied poly...

-Brandon


Brandon,

I've done a lot of finishing in the past few years with brushed Minwax Polyurethane and have never had the experience you described. I first apply a wash coat of Zinser's Shellac.  I dilute it about 50/50 with denatured alcohol and use a very inexpensive natural bristle brush.  After the shellac has dried, I apply oil-based (Minwax brand, mostly) stain, let it dry, then apply another coat of shellac, which can be full strength from the can, or diluted.  Then I apply the polyurethane varnish (preferably with a natural bristle brush, but I have had success with synthetics, too) diluting the first coat considerably.  When the first coat has dried to the touch - a few hours at most, I apply a second coat, which I also thin, but not as much.  I then let the varnish thoroughly dry, then lightly sand, first using a ~280 grit sponge sanding block (like those sold by Klingspor) to kock off any nibs, then with a 280 grit or 320 grit microcellular sponge (these are much softer than the blocks) or equivalent fine grit synthetic fibrous sanding sponge (the stuff that replicates steel wool).  I remove any sanding dust first by vacuuming with a soft natural bristle brush (not the Festool unit but one saved from an old vacuum cleaner), then with microfiber towels.  For the final coat of polyurethane, if I am using material from a freshly opened can, I generally use it undiluted.  At most I add ~capful (tablespoon?) of mineral spirits to ~6 to 8 ounces of varnish, stir it in thoroughly, then brush it on carefully making sure that I maintain a wet edge, and arranging a light source so I can be certain I am fully wetting the surface, and evenly.  Be certain to apply you loaded brush a few inches away from where your last strokes ended and brush back into your previous work.  You'll need to work quickly, and avoid overbrushing.  Using this technique I finished a pair of bifold doors (4 panels, each about 2ft wide in a single day once I got to applying the polyurethane.  I applied a coat late in the evening, another the next morning before going to my regular job, then another late afternoon upon my return home.  The doors were leaned against the wall of my garage during the finishing steps.  The finish is so smooth that most people think they were sprayed.

I did experience some bubbling of the finish when I first started, possibly due to trapped air in the pores of the birch veneer trying to make its way to the surface.  Use of a little thinner facilitated that air getting through the varnish.  I also found I could lightly wipe my wetted brush using long, smooth one-way strokes (all the way top to bottom or bottom to top) to break those bubbles.  I did not experience bubbles in the later coats.  Three thin coats with slight sanding (synthetic steel wool) worked much better for me than one or two heavier coats.  I generally use gloss polyurethane for the base coat(s) then switch to semi-gloss if that is the level of sheen I want.

Best wishes for your success.  I hope the above helps if you have any more to do. 
 
Dave R.
Friends, family and Festools make for a good retirement.  PCs...I'm not so sure.

Offline Emmanuel

  • Posts: 174
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #50 on: October 23, 2007, 09:04 AM »
I am finally done with my finish investigation!!!

I have tried the following finishes:
  • GF High Performance Polyurethane Top Coat
  • GF PolyAcrylic Blend Top Coat
  • Minwax polycrilic
  • Cabot water based polyurethane
  • Oxford super clear polyurethane 9000

If you remember my previous post I was trying to figure out which finish to use for my kitchen cabinets. I was trying to find a finish that would survive the repeated attacks of my wife armed with an array of chemicals.

I originally pick the GF one because it got a good review from FWW. Got the minwax and cabot from my local store and ordered the oxford one because everybody is talking about it in FOG.

I tried my best to apply the finish the same way for all the tested products. My shop has a relatively constant humidity and temperature.

I prepared the wood by sanding it down to 220 with my ETS125, raising the grain and sanding it down again to 220. I did spray the finishes with my FUJI Q4 HPLV unit applying three coats and by taking the finish (strained) straight out of the can without thinning.

My conclusion is simple.

None of the GF products preformed good. The High performance one is getting a noticable haze after wiping some cleaning product (Clorox disinfecting kitchen cleaner beeing the most aggressive for this finish). The polycrilic is even worse and gets disolved by some cleaners. This litteraly ruins the finish. I should note that I purchased both can from the same store at the same time. The product might have been misshandled by the store at some point (cold/hot?). Both have been curing for some time now and don't seem to get any better.

The remaining have only been curing for a small week but already performed much better. The Minwax is getting a very subtle dull appearence after wiping off of the cleaning product and is getting better by the day so it might turned out to be just fine after it fully cures. The cabot and the SC9000 do not seem to be affected at all.

I will go with the SC9000 over the cabot because the later is not compatible with shellac which I plan to use as a barrier between an oil coat and the finish.

Emmanuel

Offline Dave Ronyak

  • Posts: 2234
  • Flyin' from NE Ohio
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #51 on: October 23, 2007, 01:19 PM »
Thanks for sharing with us.  Please keep your samples and test them again after they have sat a month or so. 

Dave R.
Friends, family and Festools make for a good retirement.  PCs...I'm not so sure.

Offline tvgordon

  • Posts: 501
  • Springfield, Ohio
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #52 on: October 23, 2007, 06:29 PM »
Nice test Emmanuel.  I surprised me that the General Finishes HP didn't do very well.  I emailed Jeff Jewitt at homestead finishes a few day ago and he recommended the GF HP finish for spraying and Waterlox for wiping/ brushing for use on kitchen cabinets.  I thought he would recommend Oxford by Target Coatings (what Jerry Work uses).  Did you know that Oxford also makes a water based shellac?  Maybe Dave's right about the finishes have to cure for a month before they reach full strength.
Tom.

Offline Emmanuel

  • Posts: 174
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #53 on: October 23, 2007, 07:57 PM »
I believe that the GF has already cured for over a month. I was also surprise too at the result.
Thats why I was mentionning that maybe the store could have miss handle the finish.

Also after re-reading the FWW article, I noticed that they rated the finish poor for heat resistance which might not be the best choice for kitchen cabinets .

In any case, my kitchen is already in the demolition phase so I don't have time to change my mind again  :o

Offline Eli

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Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #54 on: October 23, 2007, 08:09 PM »
In any case, my kitchen is already in the demolition phase so I don't have time to change my mind again  :o

Nonsense! There's always plenty of time to change your mind. Until she's been doing dishes in a plastic bucket on the back porch for over four months, a kitchen project can't even be considered half over ;D
Do nothing, stay ahead.

Offline Emmanuel

  • Posts: 174
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #55 on: October 23, 2007, 08:41 PM »
In any case, my kitchen is already in the demolition phase so I don't have time to change my mind again  :o

Nonsense! There's always plenty of time to change your mind. Until she's been doing dishes in a plastic bucket on the back porch for over four months, a kitchen project can't even be considered half over ;D

Somehow I feel I will be the one on the porch  :P

Offline Eli

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Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #56 on: October 23, 2007, 09:26 PM »
Did I really say that? I guess I've had a dishwasher for too long already. That did sound sexist.
Do nothing, stay ahead.

Offline Dave Ronyak

  • Posts: 2234
  • Flyin' from NE Ohio
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #57 on: October 24, 2007, 10:42 PM »
Does anyone have any good designs for a dog house?  (Human sized?)

Dave R.
Friends, family and Festools make for a good retirement.  PCs...I'm not so sure.

Offline ccmviking

  • Posts: 411
    • Blue River Cabinetry Kitchen and Bath
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #58 on: October 27, 2007, 11:03 AM »
For top coat I use a product from BM.  It's labeled U.S. Cellulose, a product of AMT.  It's a AMT/Chemcraft coatings product named LC825 (Satin) and LC810 (gloss).  It's KCMA certified and it's the strongest conversion varnish I've seen.  If you try to scratch the finished coating with a key you'll generally only dent the wood under the finish.  Doesn't smell good but lasts...

Offline tvgordon

  • Posts: 501
  • Springfield, Ohio
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #59 on: October 27, 2007, 05:53 PM »
Chris, where do you buy the US Cellulose varnish?  Is it brush or spray and I'm guessing it isn't water based?

Tom.

Offline ccmviking

  • Posts: 411
    • Blue River Cabinetry Kitchen and Bath
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #60 on: October 28, 2007, 10:56 AM »
I get it from my local Benjamin Moore Store.  They stock some of the tintable Lacquer's but I have to order (2-3 days) the product I was describing.  Definitely not water based but it's the strongest product I've had the pleasure of using.  You have to mix the product with some lacquer thinner and add a catalyst.  It lays down really nice and like I said before it's actually difficult to damage it.  I spray all my stains and top coats.  I've never been much good with a brush and at this point don't like taking the time to brush anyway.  Attached are some pictures of cabinets I made for a rental house I own.  I tried to get a few that show the sheen.  There's undetectable orange peel and no sanding occurred after I started finishing.  I sprayed a dye/Sealer (trans tint mixture) on the maple cabinets prior to top coating and the Walnut ones at the wet bar are just top coated.  One picture shows the cabinets prior to finishing.  I put backs on all my cabinets except the sink base.  Most customs are built backless and to me it just gives you more problems with bug/rodents/etc.  I build them box style like Kraftmaid/Etc.  All the sides and bottoms are 3/4" Maple Plywood and the back is 1/4" Maple Plywood.  The kitchen has a Satin finish and the Maple has Gloss.  fyi... it is a smelly, somewhat messy product that you cannot clean up at a water tap.  To me it's worth using though...

Chris... 

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Offline tvgordon

  • Posts: 501
  • Springfield, Ohio
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #61 on: October 28, 2007, 06:36 PM »
Nice cabinets Chris.  I do like the look of the finish and would like the durability, but I have no space to spray solvent based finishes.  I do have the time to brush but I am not always pleased with the results.

Tom.

Offline Barry Londrigan

  • Posts: 180
  • Newark, Ohio
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #62 on: November 01, 2007, 09:23 PM »
Question on wood selection for cabinets....I too plan on buiding my own cabinets and have been going through the tool buying phase for nearly three years!  I wish I would have discovered the nature of the Festool tools and how they work as a system...I would have been purchasing them long ago...as it stands...I am catching up :)  Anyway...on to my question.  I am undecided on what type of wood I would like to select for my cabinets.  I like cherry and maple...I like hearing how some of you have used cherry here.  Question is...have any of you ever used ash??  I ask because I happen to have access to enough to build many kitchens!  How does it look?  Hold up?  Wear?  What do you finish them with?  Do you like them??  The cost to build these for my kitchen would be minimal considering...I am just wondering if it would be worth it?  I don't hear of many people using it for kitchen cabinets??  Thanks!

Offline ccmviking

  • Posts: 411
    • Blue River Cabinetry Kitchen and Bath
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #63 on: November 02, 2007, 10:31 AM »
My favorite to work with is Maple.  I like the soft look of the grain and it's very durable.  I use cherry when I need something to stain a little darker.  Maple has a tendency to blotch up if you try to stain it dark (even using toners).  I don't really like cherry (not a fan of reds) in it's natural state but love it with a medium brown stain and glazes.  Cherry tends to split a little more than other woods so you need to be diligent about pre-drilling your screw holes.

Here's pictures of some Cherry and Maple cabs with the exact same stain and glaze...

 

Offline tvgordon

  • Posts: 501
  • Springfield, Ohio
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #64 on: November 02, 2007, 05:23 PM »
Those are amazing cabinets Chris.  I hope mine turn out as nice (whenever I get around to making them).

Barry, I think ash would make nice cabinets.  I've made display cases and smaller tables from ash and really like the look of it.  I used both a golden oak stain and just a clear finish over the wood,  I prefer the look of just the clear coat.  It seems to be a durable wood, if you have enough to build the cabinets I say use it.  Why buy more wood when you already have some?  Just my opinion.

Tom.

Offline Dan Uhlir

  • Posts: 138
    • www.danuhlir.com
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #65 on: November 02, 2007, 07:26 PM »

 hi Chris



       Flashing some mad skills. thanks for posting the pics dan

Offline Tinker

  • Posts: 3712
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #66 on: November 02, 2007, 09:26 PM »
Question on wood selection for cabinets....I too plan on buiding my own cabinets and have been going through the tool buying phase for nearly three years!  I wish I would have discovered the nature of the Festool tools and how they work as a system...I would have been purchasing them long ago...as it stands...I am catching up :)  Anyway...on to my question.  I am undecided on what type of wood I would like to select for my cabinets.  I like cherry and maple...I like hearing how some of you have used cherry here.  Question is...have any of you ever used ash??  I ask because I happen to have access to enough to build many kitchens!  How does it look?  Hold up?  Wear?  What do you finish them with?  Do you like them??  The cost to build these for my kitchen would be minimal considering...I am just wondering if it would be worth it?  I don't hear of many people using it for kitchen cabinets??  Thanks!

Barry, I have some prefinished ash panneling in our kitchen and bathroom. We have one of those fiberglass shower/tub fixtures and I put some of the panneling between top of shower and ceiling. Unstained, clear finish.
We (BOSS LADY & I) love it.  I like the grain, it is easy to work with and seems to be a very stable wood with minimal shrinkage/expansion from season to season and none above the shower.
Tinker
Wayne H. Tinker

Offline clintholeman

  • Posts: 301
  • Sonoma County, CA
    • Clint Holeman, Fine Furniture and Cabinets
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #67 on: November 02, 2007, 11:38 PM »
Ash is a great wood for cabinets.  It machines well, is very stable and durable.  Looks great!  You can easily add interesting accents by using contrasting pulls - Granadillo is one of my favorites.  Ebonized Maple or Cherry also work.  If you want to go another direction, try a mahogany pulls.

I think you'll like the way your cabinets look and also, Ash is pretty economical.
Clint Holeman

clint@clintholeman.com
http://www.clintholeman.com

Offline Tinker

  • Posts: 3712
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #68 on: November 03, 2007, 06:05 AM »
I think you'll like the way your cabinets look and also, Ash is pretty economical.
[/quote]

I'm not sure how much longer it (ASH) will stay economical.  here in the north east, it is dieing off fast.  i have been told it is happening in most of the hardwood forests in the country.  I have a large ash tree in my own yard that i have been providing yearly care for nearly 25 years.  It is one of the very few in the local area that has not succumbed to Ash Decline (i don't know the tech name for the disease).  My arborist told me how to care for it when i first noticed the problem.  We caught it soon enough that the tree is now, evidently, thriving.  most in the area, once the symptoms show, are goners.  They are headed for the same fate as the American Elm and the Chestnut.

BTW:  There has been a new hardwood scourge showing up in the woods of the north east.  A couple of different beetles ((Powder Post Beetle and Big Eyed Bug) imported from China have gotten into hardwoods, mostly Maples, but beech and oaks are being affected also.  I have been told they are decimating woodlands in northern New England. Not a happy thought.
Tinker

Wayne H. Tinker

Offline Barry Londrigan

  • Posts: 180
  • Newark, Ohio
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #69 on: November 03, 2007, 11:53 AM »
Thanks all for the response on the ash cabinets...its just that I don't see a lot of info on anyone choosing to make their kitchen cabinets out of ash.  I will (after hearing how you all think on ash cabinets) make mine from ash as it was because of the emerald ash bore that I have access to lots and lots of ash...enough to make several kitchens!  A freind of mine has cut down several large ash trees and had them woodmizered and are currently drying.  By the time I am finished purchasing all of the rest of my tools all the wood will be dried. 

Offline clintholeman

  • Posts: 301
  • Sonoma County, CA
    • Clint Holeman, Fine Furniture and Cabinets
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #70 on: November 03, 2007, 05:25 PM »
What kind of info are you looking for? Its a great wood.  If you want to trim out the cabinets in contrasting wood, try purple heart.  I built a couple of chests that way [you can see them on my website in the project area.

I will be building some likely early next year for a client [maybe later this year, but at the rate of decisions, it will be next year... ;) ].  I'll have them up on my blog when I build them if that helps.
Clint Holeman

clint@clintholeman.com
http://www.clintholeman.com

Offline Dave Ronyak

  • Posts: 2234
  • Flyin' from NE Ohio
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #71 on: November 03, 2007, 08:57 PM »
I have seen several kitchens with cabinets made from ash.  As Tinker and others have said, there is plenty of it available now - cheap - due to the Emerald Ash Borer killing these trees.  Some communities in Ohio are cutting down their trees in advance of the advance of the killer borer.  When I think of ash, I usually visualize it as similar to oak, but lighter in color and with more pronounced contrast in grain structure (open pores) between the springwood and summerwood growth areas.  As far as strength and durability, ash is a preferred wood of choice for baseball bats and tool handles because it has good shock resistance.

Clint - how do you keep the purple in purpleheart in your projects?  I have heard that it is susceptible to color change - to a brownish tone.

Dave R>
Friends, family and Festools make for a good retirement.  PCs...I'm not so sure.

Offline clintholeman

  • Posts: 301
  • Sonoma County, CA
    • Clint Holeman, Fine Furniture and Cabinets
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #72 on: November 03, 2007, 11:23 PM »
I keep my purple heart purple by using a UV inhibitor and applying my finish immediately after sanding.  On large surfaces, I sand and finish by section. 
Clint Holeman

clint@clintholeman.com
http://www.clintholeman.com

Offline Dave Rudy

  • Posts: 771
  • Coloroda Front Range, in the lee of Pikes Peak
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #73 on: November 05, 2007, 08:59 AM »
I keep my purple heart purple by using a UV inhibitor

Clint, What product do you use?

Offline kugiman

  • Posts: 2
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #74 on: November 05, 2007, 02:53 PM »
Hi all, to get back to the original, original post:
Here is my over simplified formula for building kitchen base cabinets in a 'nutshell':
1. Get the 7 ply 3/4" (actually 11/16") from Home Depot and usually free
2. Have them rip it down so that you have 2 pieces, 8' x 24". Easier to carry and cut on the table saw.
3. Cut these down to 34.5" x 23.25" (a left and a right panel for each cabinet)
4. Cut the toekicks, usually 3" deep x 4" high
5. Build faceframes from the wood of your choice ( I use 2" wide x 3/4" thick). Take in consideration drawers or doors and properly place rails in the proper places
6. Attach faceframes together with pocket screws
7. Cut dadoes for shelving, cross supports, etc.
8. Accurately measure the box width to the face frame. I leave about an 1/8" on each side so that FFs can snug up tight together at installation time.
9. Build box ... glue and nail gun
10. Attach FF to box with pocket screws and sand with Festool RO sander
11. Doors: I like 3/4' overlays, euro hinges. Connect rails and stiles with Dominos
12. Drawers: 5/8" poplar. Hardwood fronts. Put together with Dominos ... let them show thru on the sides like thru tenons. Use hidden slides like Mepla or Blum with dampening and auto close
13. Spray everything using HVLP (3M) with M.L. Campbell precat water based lacquer "Agualente". Dries fast and is hard as a rock. I use satin. The best, in my humble opinion.
14. A light sanding with worn out 200-320 Abranet on a wood block (between coats and final) makes it smooth as silk and does not show any sand marks.
15. Install drawer slides
16. Smile, you are done, ready to install, which is another chapter
Uppers: 1/2 sheets yield 2 sides per width for standard 12" deep upper cabinets
Please feel free to contact me for particulars. I build cabinets for a living. knottymoondesign@gmail.com

Thanks for putting up with this!!

kugiman www.knottymoondesign.com
« Last Edit: November 05, 2007, 02:55 PM by kugiman »

Offline tvgordon

  • Posts: 501
  • Springfield, Ohio
Re: Built your own kitchen cabinets?
« Reply #75 on: November 05, 2007, 06:25 PM »
Thanks for the help Kugiman.  I checked out your website and Todd and Amy's kitchen was about what I was looking to build.  I was just looking to use a lighter color of wood.  Looks like you do nice work.

Tom.