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How Do I Build My Own Kitchen Cabinets?

by HomeRepairExpert.com
Building your own kitchen cabinets can save you a lot of money, because you do not have to pay for labor--you just use your own free time. You can build the kitchen cabinets to your own specifications and choose your own wood and colors, whether you prefer stained or painted. When choosing your own wood, you can pick anything, but it is advised that you choose a hardwood such as oak, as softwood, like pine, dents and scratches much easier, even with paint or stain.

Introduction

Building your own kitchen cabinets can save you a lot of money, because you do not have to pay for labor--you just use your own free time. You can build the kitchen cabinets to your own specifications and choose your own wood and colors, whether you prefer stained or painted. When choosing your own wood, you can pick anything, but it is advised that you choose a hardwood such as oak, as softwood, like pine, dents and scratches much easier, even with paint or stain.

Tools and Accessories

Gather several tools needed to build your own cabinets; most are obvious (such as saws, hammers, screwdrivers, drills), but the one tool you need if you want to any kind of decorative cutting for cabinet doors is a router. A handheld router can be purchased at any big box home improvement store and comes with several different bits. The bits make different cuts as outlined in the instructions for the bits, so that you can cut grooves or make beveled edges. Additional accessories that you may want to include when building your own kitchen cabinets are lazy susans and specialty drawers.

Measurements, Doweling and Gluing

Draw a rough sketch of your current kitchen cabinets. Measure each cabinet and write the measurements on the sketch. Purchase enough wood to cut out each panel for the new cabinets. To make the cabinets sturdy, they must be glued and doweled. Fit the pieces together for the first cabinet, then measure out the mapping for the dowels. You need at least three dowels for each linear foot. Mark the first board and drill 1-inch deep holes using a drill bit the same size as the dowel (usually ¼ inch). Measure from the end of the panel to the center of the first hole, then from the center of the first hole to the center of the second hole. Write down the measurements. Continue until all dowel holes have been measured. Mark the second panel with those measurements, then drill the dowel holes in the second panel. Put a drop of wood glue into the holes on the first panel, then push the dowels into the first panel (the dowels need to be 2 inches long). Before putting the glue into the second panel, line it up with the first panel to make sure the holes match up. If not, hollow out the holes until the second panel fits perfectly on the first panel and its dowels. Put a line of wood glue between the dowels on the first panel, then put a drop of wood glue into the dowel holes on the second panel. Push the second panel onto the first panel. Clamp the panels and allow the wood glue to try. Repeat this process until all sides and bottoms of the cabinets are put together.

Finishing Up

Cut the doors out of another piece of wood. These go over the open front of the cabinets. Make sure the doors line up with the edges of the cabinet. Use the router to create decorative cuts or beveled edges in the doors. Paint or stain the cabinets and the doors. Attach the doors to the cabinets with decorative hinges. Use decorative hardware for handles, or, if you prefer a smooth look, use the router to cut out a grip at the top of the cabinet door, so that you can use the tip of your finger to open the doors. Remove the old cabinets and install the new cabinets. Install the countertops, plumbing (sink, disposal) and accessories.

Tips

Use L-brackets in inconspicuous places to make the cabinets even sturdier, though with the dowel and glue method, they are extremely sturdy.