Creating Material Lists and Cutting Plans

Creating Material Lists and Cutting Plans


A floor plan of the kitchen you are about to build is an important first step. It is your information source and road map to completing the project successfully. Draw the plan to scale so that any potential problems can be discovered before beginning construction. You’ll find this exercise is valuable and well worth your effort.

There are design software programs, costing between $50 to $100, on the market. Some allow you to render a 3D image of the proposed kitchen on the screen. A few programs allow you to “move” around in the kitchen, showing different perspectives of the cabinets.

However, the most important exercise is drawing a simple scaled overhead floor plan, as illustrated in Figure 15-1. Accurately measure the room dimensions, locating all the doors, windows and any special features of the walls. You may have a plumbing run or heating duct pipe that has been boxed in with drywall that creates a “bump out” on the wall. These special features have to be accounted for, as they may change your cabinet installation procedures.

Using graph paper, scale the cabinets on your plan to get an accurate representation of the size and location of each unit. Check the work triangle distances and traffic patterns, and the direction of opening with the cabinets, refrigerator and microwave.

The ideal floor plan is difficult to achieve given the dimensions of many kitchens. For example, the floor plan in Figure 15-1 places the refrigerator at one end of the room and the sink on another wall at the other end of the room. The distance is greater than it should be for comfortable food preparation, but because of power requirements and the location of other appliances, we were forced to compromise. A table placed in the center of the room will seriously affect the traffic pattern. So, in this case, a kitchen table was placed against the wall opposite the stove/fridge wall. It was the best alternative to many possible floor plans that were analyzed.

This floor plan is shown to illustrate a point, that you sometimes have to work in existing rooms that do not allow you to follow all the accepted “normal” design practices. It’s not an uncommon situation, and I’m sure some of you will be faced with design challenges such as this.

One alternative would be a complete relocation of existing services. However, this project, because it was a kitchen in an old three-level apartment building and because of budget constraints and tenants, did not allow changes to existing services.

Once the floor plan is finalized, a materials cut list should be created. This list will allow you to calculate how much material to order and provide you with a system to number each finished piece. An average kitchen requires one hundred or more PCB pieces, so this list is invaluable during the assembly phase of your project.

The previous tables detail the W white mela-mine particle core board material cut sizes that are required for the kitchen in the floor plan.


I set my table saw to 10 vs” and make all the rip cuts at that dimension. I then set the saw for the next rip cut size. This method eliminates the need to constantly change the saw and gives uniformity to cuts of the same dimension. It is difficult to set the saw at exactly the precise dimension each time. By setting it once for the rip cuts at 10 vs” I’m sure that all the pieces are the same dimension.

Preparing the cut lists should take you one to two hours, depending on the complexity of the kitchen design. However, it will probably be the most effective two hours that you’ll spend building the kitchen. These lists are critical, as they define the sizes of the finished pieces for the carcasses, face frames, doors and drawer faces.

I transfer the carcass cut list sizes to a diagram of 4′ x 8′ sheet material.
Sheets are drawn with the reference numbers relating to each individual piece. Once completed, this layout provides information on the number of pieces of 4′ x 8′ material you will require. This process also minimizes waste because you can move pieces around to get the best results prior to cutting. The quantity of sheet goods required is also necessary when calculating your material cost.

Preparing the cut lists and sheet layout diagrams reduces the amount of time required to cut the cabinet parts to size. Cutting the 4′ x 8′ material can be a tiring and time-consuming process without proper planning.

The countertop size should be calculated at this time. For our sample kitchen we will need a 303/4″ run for cabinet J. We want Vs” overhang on each side. Both sides should have a 1/4″ veneer panel (no molding is needed) beside the stove and fridge. The other countertop section required will be a right-angle joined section. The left-side run will be 54%” long (this dimension includes the 1/2″ overhang on the left side of cabinet K), and the right leg will be 99″ long with an unfinished end.

If the countertop is custom fabricated, as detailed under Countertops in chapter twelve, you will have to order the PCB, 1″ x 2″ hardwood edge, 1″ x 3″ wood for the backsplash, and laminate. If it’s to be a standard unit from a local supplier, send your order in, as there can be a delay if the design that was chosen is not locally stocked. This issue of stock countertop designs should be discussed with your supplier to avoid delays, as some designs can take four to six weeks to arrive from the manufacturer.


Material required for finishing should also be calculated at this stage, including:

• 1/4″ veneer-covered plywood for finishing the exposed sides of cabinet J, the left side of cabinet K and half the exposed sides of cabinets B, D, F and H. This veneer plywood is also required to cover the underside of the upper cabinets.
• 1″ x 4″ hardwood for the toe boards
• top molding for the upper cabinets


For the countertop ends on each side of the stove, order a “profile” edge instead of a “full-finished” edge. The profile style is not built up with a filler piece, so it wont bind against the cabinets if your cabinet run is slightly longer because of wall irregularities.


I create a working file for the project. I include my notes on the various designs and changes, the approved layout, my cut lists, order lists and any other information relating to the project. As the project proceeds, I will add information on ordering, the hardware style numbers and final comments after the project is completed.

I find the file system to be one of my most valuable tools. I can refer to the project at any time and use the information if similar projects arise in the future. Also, you may run into a situation where you need an extra door handle or replacement door, or you may want to add another section two or three years down the road.

Project Planning

I lay out all my needs on the cut lists, order the materials, get firm delivery commitments from any sub-contractors such as my countertop supplier or cabinet door supplier, and calculate shop time needed to build the cabinets. I can then realistically plan when to tear out the old cabinets and install the new kitchen. This gives you the opportunity to arrange for the other required services such as new flooring installation, new appliance delivery, the plumber or possibly an electrician.

The planning stage is very critical: A project can turn into a real nightmare if you make mistakes at this point in the process. I’m not suggesting that this is a difficult process—it’s actually very simple. Unfortunately, many people do not pay enough attention to this process and get into serious trouble. Analyze all the required steps, detail your material needs, estimate realistic time frames based on the data and keep the other people who you will have to depend on informed about your progress.

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