There's nothing quite like a custom cabinet designed to illustrate a lifestyle. The basics of cabinet making begin with the differences between kitchen and bathroom cabinetry, which is mainly size. Base, or floor cabinets, in the kitchen are 36 inches tall, and those in the bathroom are 30 inches. The wall cabinets in either room will depend on taste and design.
The Table Saw
Identifying the parts of a table saw will help you gain confidence while using one. Locate the fence, which is a bar that runs across the top of the table saw perpendicular to the front and will have a flat surface against which the material is placed. Familiarize yourself with the way it fastens into place and loosens so you can move it to the measurement you need.2
Most table saws will have a bar on the front that the fence clamps to and will have a means for measurement. Even though these measurements are fairly accurate, the cabinet maker should double check it with a measuring tape.3
Practice feeding wood through the table saw before attempting to cut out parts for cabinets. Once you get a feel for using the table saw, it will become one of the most important tools in basic cabinet making. With it you'll be able to cut out doors and drawer parts, shelves, face fronts, quarter-inch backing material and even molding.
Assembling cabinet parts is a snap with pneumatic tools. Make sure the setting on the air compressor matches the pounds-per-square-inch noted on the tool.5
Next, pay close attention to the nails or staples required for the tools. In addition, be certain to use the correct length and type of staple or nail required for each step in cabinet making.6
Place the tip of the pneumatic tool so that you know it will shoot a nail through one piece of your cabinet into another, such as when you attach a shelf to an end panel.
Measuring and cutting the end panels is the first step in making cabinets. For the floor cabinets in the kitchen, cut the material 24 inches deep and 35 inches tall. Wall cabinets in the kitchen are 30 inches tall, so the measurement for the end panels will be 30 inches, with a depth of 11 inches. The floor cabinets for the bathroom end panels measure 29 inches tall and are 20 inches deep.8
Cutting the shelves is another part of basic cabinet making. For the floor cabinets in the kitchen, the basic depth of the shelf is 24 inches, or the same as the end panel. The second shelf in the floor cabinet is either the same as the bottom shelf or half the depth. The sink cabinet does not have a second shelf to allow for the plumbing.9
Designing the face frames is the most intricate part of basic cabinet making. The frames are built from wood that is 1 inches wide and inches thick. The face frame parts include ends, rails and stiles. The space needed for the height of the doors in kitchen floor cabinets is 21 inches and for the bathroom it is 16 inches. The space for the wall cabinet doors will be whatever the end panel height is, minus 3 inches for the rails. Stiles are used to separate the doors and drawers from each other.10
The backs for the cabinets are cut from quarter-inch Masonite or plywood. The smooth side of the Masonite will go to the inside of the cabinet.
Deciding what type of hardware you want to use in cabinet making is the biggest factor in choosing hardware. Hardware includes the hinges for the doors, the rail system for the drawers, adjustable shelf track for the wall cabinets and the knobs and pulls.12
Installing the drawer hardware is the most difficult task concerning hardware for cabinets. There are several systems to choose from. The most common is the rail system, which includes two rails that attach to the drawer box and two that attach to the cabinet. These rails slide together and give the optimum support for the drawer.13
Installing knobs and pulls for the doors and the drawers requires drilling holes that match the particular hardware you have chosen. Choices are wide and varied but include one of two options. These options are pulls that require more than one screw to secure it to the door or drawer. Also, find out what size drill bit you need to drill holes for the screws.