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A Note About NavigationThis blog covers a range of topics, but you can separate the content of the blog, based on your interests by clicking the buttons in the menu below the header. Kitchen cabinet construction isn't rocket science nor do you need to know every last detail about it.
That way you'll have a better feel for the different levels of cabinet quality and what you do or don't get for the various levels of cost you'll encounter.
If you haven't already, it may help to take a look at our cabinet glossary page to get familiar with some of the terms you'll encounter along the way. How a cabinet is built varies among manufacturers but they all conform to 2 basic design styles. If you visualize a basic wood box, the face frame is made up of several pieces of wood that are fastened to the forward edge of the cabinet, framing the cabinet box. Framed cabinets are generally considered more traditional looking and offers some style variety based on the amount of door overlay.
This is because there's no inside edge of a frame that's partially blocking the perimeter of the cabinet opening.
Beyond framed and frameless design, the other primary elements of cabinet construction to be aware of are their basic units or "building blocks".
Wall cabinets as their name implies are mounted on the wall, with no connection to the floor.
Most of us think of kitchen cabinets as being made out of wood and that's true for the most part.
Particle board - an engineered wood product that's made from wood chips and particles that are combined with an adhesive and fused together into boards and panels. Medium density fiberboard (MDF) - another engineered wood product that's made up of wood fibers.
Plywood - yet another engineered wood product but one that's probably most familiar to people.
You'll typically see plywood as an upgrade (and corresponding up-charge) from particle board or MDF from many cabinet makers.
Also, be watchful for the terms "solid wood" or "all wood" in a manufacturer's description or literature. The point is, just be sure when you encounter these terms that you're clear on whether it's truly "solid wood" or plywood so you don't run into any surprises.
Plastic laminate - this is virtually the same material that's used on laminate countertops although it's usually thinner when used on cabinets. Thermofoil - a thin vinyl film that's used to cover cabinet boxes, doors and drawer fronts. Methods for building and assembling cabinets will vary based on manufacturer and the level of quality you pay for.
The important thing to take home on this subject is that there is a relationship between the type of construction and the cabinet's level of quality and durability. Dovetail joints - this is a strong method of joining two boards together at right angles, such as with drawer boxes.
Mortise and tenon - another form of joinery, this method uses a square "post" protruding from one end of a piece of wood that fits into a square hole or cutout in the mating piece.
Rabbet - this is not the kind that Elmer Fudd chases but rather, a notch or step that's cut into the edge of a board to accept the edge of another board to form a 90-degree angle. Butt joint - on a butt joint, the ends of two pieces of material are brought or "butted" together, edge to edge.
Nails, screws, staples, glue - while these aren't classified as true wood 'joinery' techniques, they're included because they're also used in a lot of cabinet assemblies. The bottom line on cabinet construction methods is that good joinery techniques where the parts 'lock' together or where one piece is captured in the other makes for the strongest joints. Stainless steel is another material used to make cabinets though it's much less prevalent than wood.
Cabinet drawers are predominantly made from the same materials that are used to construct the cabinet cases such as particle board, MDF, plywood and solid wood. Drawer fronts, the part of the drawer that you see, tend to be made from solid wood or MDF that's either painted or covered with thermofoil. Cabinet doors, except for stainless steel cabinets, are made from solid wood or one of the engineered wood products (particle board, MDF, plywood). One of the benefits of MDF is that it can be routed and cut, similar to solid wood, with better results than particle board which is less dense and tends to chip. Slab doors don't have the separate parts like a framed door and are usually one-piece construction or the combination of several solid pieces of wood glued and joined together to form a solid slab. Cabinet shelves are made from one of the engineered wood products - either plywood, MDF or particle board. There really isn't much to a cabinet shelf's construction except for the mention of thickness and whether it's built with a reinforcing rail. Shelf thickness varies based on cabinet manufacturer and the particular product line (often equating to the level of quality) within a certain brand.
The reinforcing rail is an additional strip of wood that's attached to the front edge of a shelf. They work because (if they're made correctly) they're wider in one direction than the other.

The only problem I've found is that this feature is hard to find on mass-manufactured cabinets. One additional aspect about cabinet shelf construction lies not so much with the shelf itself but how it's held in the cabinet box and whether or not it's adjustable. The amount of material to explain the science behind the varnishes, lacquers and other cabinet surface treatments could fill a book but it's not necessary for a basic understanding of how a cabinet is put together. Stain - Wood stain is a topical color treatment that alters the natural color of the underlying wood while allowing the grain pattern to show through.
Varnish - Varnish is a combination of oil and resin that's used to provide a protective layer over the wood and any other surface treatment like stain. One of the finishing terms you'll probably encounter more often than not is "catalyzed varnish".
Glaze - Glaze is a pigmented but transparent or semi-transparent coating that's applied over a base coating such as paint or stain. The cabinet finishing process is dependent on the type of finishes used and the individual cabinet maker's capabilities and formula. Wood cabinet finishing involves a number of steps that involve preparing the wood, applying the surface treatments and baking the finish.
Larger cabinet makers may have the resources and advanced production capabilities to produce consistent quality finishes.
One final point to remember is that the finish options you choose have a bearing on the final cost of your cabinets. When you're ready to get new cabinets you have a couple of choices for getting them installed.
Doing it yourself is certainly an option and you can find plenty of how-to books and guides on how to do it. I got a renewed appreciation for some of the complexities of cabinet installation when we remodeled our kitchen. My advice is this: if you're going to get new cabinets, leave the installation to the pros. If you need to find a local cabinet professional there's an easy way to find sources in your area using the form below.
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Please Select Username to appear on public areas of the site like community and recipe comments. A self-piloting flush trim bit with a bottom bearing makes the joint between face frame and box almost disappear. Kitchen Cabinets Inspired by Wine Crates - DigsDigs Search for: BEGIN TYPING YOUR SEARCH ABOVE AND PRESS RETURN TO SEARCH.
We measured and planned out the cabinet boxes…Then, we constructed the cabinet boxes for one side of the kitchen, sans the facings.
For example, if you want to view only sewing related posts, simply click the Sewing & Crafting button. For example, if you sign up for the sewing & crafting section, you will receive only updates from that section. You can use images or ideas if you'd like, but please let me know, and link back to this blog. It may seem like a mundane decision, but cabinets are one of the most practical and ill-considered additions to a home. Please do not copy or redistribute this blog design, or any of the images or content found here, without my permission. Face frame cabinets are just plywood boxes with hardwood face frames, and you can buy doors (the hard part) online. A mortise-and-tenon joint may make you feel like a true craftsman, but only you will know you spent all that extra time.
You can buy an entry-level pocket screw jig for less than $50, but if you plan to build several face frame projects, spend about three times that to get a top-of-the-line jig.
In case you have some old wine or beer crates and want to renovate your kitchen or some storage cabinet you can easily get inspiration from this project. By the way, there are even instructions of how to make kitchen cabinets from wine crates to make your life easier.
There is a lot of marketing and hype with most companies and brands, making it all the more important to understand just what you are ordering. This decision is more intricate than most homeowners realize.Cabinets are as much functional as they are an aesthetic part of our homes. Boxes are probably the portion of the cabinet that homeowners come into most frequent contact with on a daily basis. Bruges, Belgium  Bilbao, Spain Bangkok, Thailand Lantau Island, Hong KongNo matter how grandiose and ornate these photos may seem, the design philosophies and emotions they elicit can be incorporated into home design.
Renovation is dynamic and usually inspires homeowners to add to a project or adjust their original plan. This is understandable, but it is also important to see what happens behind the scenes of the change order. I provided this schedule to the client  before they signed the contract.Homeowners that are using a general contractor should ask for a schedule before they sign anything.

TRY TO AVOID THIS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.Just as the contractor should plan accordingly, so should the homeowners. They are mocked on television shows, the subject of complaint among homeowners and usually avoided at all costs. Some horrible contractors have spoiled the name of the profession.The trouble is, the average homeowner is a busy professional with little time to manage and complete a room add-on on their own. Outsourcing to a professional is often the best solution, especially when it concerns the structure and safety of your home.
Below is a list of common complaints and fears, and what you can do to avoid hiring the wrong contractor.They seem dishonest. Whether it is the bid or the final invoice, there is always the fear that the contractor is cheating the homeowner of their hard-earned money without providing any added value to the customer.
Most likely you conjure the image of an unshaven man in a white tank top and cigar in his mouth. Now, of course, the clothing choice of a professional does not equate to his value, but this image connotes a man that is not an authority of his industry. This allows homeowners to preview the past work of contractors via pictures, online recommendations, etc.
My LAST POST explains how you can use Houzz to filter through home remodeling professionals in your specific area. Odds are, Joe Schmo Contractor will probably not have good recommendations or an online presence documenting his past projects.They don’t keep their schedule. Another punctuality indicator is found in the prospective contractor’s behavior before the start of the project. Such contractors do exist, and can most easily be found through recommendations from friends, designers, architects, and online search engines. Simply said, this is an organic and effective resource that I recommend to homeowners and designers alike.Design InspirationThe adjective “inspirational” does not do this website justice.
Daily, there are picture articles demonstrating how to redesign office spaces, measure out dining room layouts, and seasonally landscape your yard.
It is often helpful for homeowners and designers to come up with their ideas here before approaching a general contractor, so that homeowners can easily visualize and demonstrate their dream remodel to the general contractor.A Store of Unique and Individual ProductsLooking for just the right ottoman to bring your living room to life?
Houzz allows homeowners to search for qualified professionals in their areas with good reviews and extensive portfolios. Like most art forms and processes, construction can benefit from the inclusion of technology.
You can elect to receive email notifications when certain tasks have been completedIt makes working remotely easier.
Will random subcontractors have keys and access to my home?Here I explain what is typically found at each home remodel during the process.
In my experience, it has led to the most efficient, quality job and the greatest homeowner satisfaction. A team needs a leader, and this is what the homeowner is paying the general contractor to do. Any professional contractor worth using will ensure that his team is safe.Appropriate work hours. The homeowner should not leave his house unlocked for the crew to enter or make random copies.
Instead, entrust your general contractor a key, and be done with it.On-Site Portable Restrooms for Big Jobs.
For remodels that require big crews and months of time, the contractor should provide portable restrooms for subcontractors and crew to use.
This is not mandatory, but frequently, good general contractors will distribute “Pardon our Dust” letters to the neighboring houses during a remodel. Crew-members and subcontractors should rarely advise owners on design or potential changes. Instead, communication should be directed through the contractor, as it is his job to realize the homeowner’s dream home. The homeowner should feel extremely comfortable entrusting the general contractor with the intricacies of the onsite process. During the process the homeowner should feel that their home is respected and that the process is in the right progression. This is dangerous because, most likely, these guys are not experts at every intricacy of a remodel. Go with the contractor that hires other specialists for particular tasks (plumbing, painting, etc.). Costs listed in TV shows are usually only materials, not labor, change orders or mark-up.What You Want.
Often one spouse will change their mind about budget or design and this will cause familial stress that prolongs the renovation process.

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