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I am a design engineer for a medium sized plastic extrusion company and am fortunate enough to have Autocad experience and used the software to design every piece of the cabinetry. I basically started right to left around the U-shape of the kitchen cabinet area designing and building one unit at a time. I began taking measurements considering the space I had to work with and built each unit to fit the available space.
At any rate, as you can see from the pictures on the right which shows a couple of views of the left wall upper, microwave and lower base cabinets (and in the pictures below), the project didn't turn out too bad! I can tell you for sure that early on in the project, I added some more stock to my "bonepile" though!
I chose 3/4 inch red oak veneered plywood for the cabinet cases and of course I used solid 3/4 inch thick red oak hardboard for the door frames, drawer fronts, decorative trim and the top of the modified shaker sideboard which sits against the wall opposite the U-Shaped cabinet area in the kitchen. The insides of the drawers in the base cabinets and in the pantry were made from 3/4 inch thick poplar. I used dovetail joinery on all the drawers using my Porter Cable Model 4212 Dovetail Jig (This jig can be seen in the South wall view of Ol' Dave's Woodshop)
Our kitchen is basically a square room with an entry way from the family room on one side and an open entry into the dining room on the other side. The cabinets are in a U-Shaped configuration opposite the throughway between the two entry ways.
I decided to make the cabinets in somewhat of a shaker style. Major breakaway differences are that I used burnished copper handles instead of wooden knobs and I used cope & pin joinery on the doors and end panels. You may be able to see the detail in the doors in some of the photos elsewhere on these pages. A good example would be in the photo of the full length pantry on the left. I installed a three tiered lazy susan in the top half of the pantry and made five drawers in the bottom half on full extension sliders. The top two drawers in the lower half of the pantry were designed for spices and the bottom three were made to hold larger items such as cereals and canned goods, etc.
A good look at the pantry with opened top and bottom halves can be viewed in the two photos below. Also in the view of the lower half of the pantry, you can see that I made a smaller cabinet that sits between the pantry and the gas range. This small cabinet was designed to store hot pads, trivets and the like in the upper drawer and baking sheets or cookie sheets in the lower section. I also captured a view of the spice drawers in which I built some slanted dividers to hold the spices.
The first unit that I built was a 24 inch deep storage cabinet on the very end of the right side of the "U" and is placed above the refrigerator. You might be able to see it in the photo on the right.
The next unit built was the upper unit that fits between the 24 inch deep upper storage cabinet and the right hand corner of the U-shaped area. The unit is all one piece with three sections and corresponding doors. There are two full length shelves inside the unit. You can see this unit in the photo below left. It also shows the upper corner unit right of the sink and window. This corner unit provides a blind storage area when the right hand door is opened.
There are several photos
below of the lower cabinet units, each of which presented some problems
along the way but they all turned out just fine. Again, when I approached
this project, I started by building the top units from right to left around
the U-shaped kitchen cabinet area. Then, when it came time to build
all the lower units, I used the same approach. I didn't use the conventional
way of using a story stick because I didn't trust my experience level to
do it that way. Needless to say, as a result, my kitchen was torn
up and spread around for nearly nine months that it took me to complete
The lower cabinet with drawers (positioned between the refrigerator and the corner cabinet that houses the lazy susan) was the first base cabinet that I tackled. This cabinet was fairly straight forward in its construction but upon completion, it gave me the remaining distance from its left edge and the corner or the room. From obtaining this distance, I could then begin the CAD drawings that would allow me to make everything fit to the corner. I used this approach on both the upper and base cabinets working right to left. The view of this first base cabinet with closed drawers can be seen in the photo on the right.
The kitchen cabinet project was both fun and nerve-racking for me. As I said before, I had never undertook a project of this scale before but I figured there would never be a better time than now. I was very pleased with the outcome but more importantly, I learned a lot of new tricks and bettered my skill level in the process. I would be open to your comments if you feel so inclined. E-Mail the comments to the address below.
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