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Or perhaps I should say "not hanging" because we've got you covered with the base cabinet plans, but no wall cabinet plans yet! And of course, we've got you covered with the DIY plans for wall kitchen cabinets following! It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. I am getting a vintage Tappan stove from 1950 to be the hearth of my kitchen, so I hope you can include plans for that beautiful range hood cover. I think I've looked at the plans and Brooke's blog about 10 times drooling over these cabinets!
Screw all but one of the stiles and rails together and then slide your cut plywood into the grove, capping it off with the last piece of the frame and wah la, a Shaker floating panel door. 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. Designated trademarks, brands and service marks are the property of their respective owners.
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