Shop Assembly Procedures

Shop Assembly Procedures

Following the completion of the cut lists and the purchase of the material, I begin the assembly process in the shop.

1 Build the Face Frame

Cut to size and assemble the hardwood face frames so they can be sanded and finished. For this particular kitchen project, I finished the face frames with three coats of clear satin polyurethane. Do not finish the backside of the face frame, as it will be glued to the carcass edge.

2 Assemble the Door

Doors can be assembled and finished with the face frames while the carcass cutting and assembly is taking place.

3 Cut the Carcass Parts to Size

Rip the 4′ x 8′ sheets of white PCB and plywood for the sink base to size with the aid of the cut lists and layout sheets. Melamine-coated particle core board edges chip very easily, so special precautions must be taken. Primarily, your table saw should be equipped with a carbide-tipped triple-chip PCB blade. Even though this blade greatly reduces the edge-chipping problem, there is some edge damage to the melamine coating. The tendency, particularly with my saw and many others that I have used, is to chip on one side more than the other. I orient the boards during cutting so the “good side” is always maintained. The only boards that will be exposed on both sides are the shelf boards and the drawer carcass sides. Chipping can be minimized on these boards by double cutting (the saw blade is set at half the thickness of the melamine PCB, cut on one side and then flipped over to complete the cut). Mark each ripped board, noting the reference number on each piece.

4 Crosscut the Ripped Boards

Following the ripping process, crosscut the boards on a radial arm saw. If the boards are extra wide, as in the case of the base cabinet boards, I use a sliding table attachment on my table saw, or you can just as easily use a circular saw and straightedge. Since the saw chips on one side more than the other, orient the boards paying attention to the board’s “good side.” Mark each piece with its reference number.

5 Drill Adjustable Shelf Holes

After verifying the board sizes, begin the assembly of the cabinets. Upper cabinet sides are first drilled for the adjustable shelf pins.

6 Assemble the Upper Cabinet Carcass Parts

Following the drilling, fasten the sides to the top and bottom boards with 2″ particle core board screws. The back is installed flush with the bottom and top boards as well as one side board. When using the 2″ PCB screws, make certain that a 1/2″ pilot hole is drilled through the board to be secured and into the center of the edge of the second board. Use a marking gauge set at 5/16″ as a guide for the drill bit. The screws should be tight; however, be careful they are not overtightened, which may cause the threads made by the screw in the pilot hole to strip. I use a 1/2″ drill bit in a carbide-tipped ‘A” countersink assembly to a depth that allows the screw head to be set flush with the surface of the PCB.

7 Trim the Back Board

Since the backs are cut wide, as previously described, trim the excess flush with the side after fastening the back on all four edges. A square-cut back board will ensure that the cabinet is square.

8 Install the Upper Cabinet Face Frames

Install face frame on the cabinet, making sure of the orientation of any “special” face frames. For example, cabinet A has an 11/2″ stile on the left side, designated on Figure 16-8 as + 1/2″ L, so the face frame must be installed with respect to that orientation. The face frame outside top is set flush with the carcass outside top. The carcass edges should be hidden; then the face frame is glued and nailed to the carcass as previously described.

9 Install Cap Molding

Cut the plastic cap molding to fit the exposed edge of the shelves and secure with contact cement or a glue gun. The cap molding fits very tightly on the Ys” melamine; however, I add a little glue to make sure it’s held firmly in place.

10 Assemble Base Cabinet Parts

The first step in assembling the base cabinets is determining whether or not the cabinet will have a shelf or pull-out installed. Drill holes for the shelf pins or fasten the wood cleats at the correct height, with 11/4″ screws in pilot holes through the outside of the cabinet side into the cleat.

11 Install Cabinet Legs

Install the cabinet legs, four on cabinets under 30″ and six on cabinets over 30″, on the base bottom board. Legs are installed so that they extend out from the base board by ‘/,” to help support the sides. The exception is when the cabinet is open-ended and the toe kick board has to be recessed 31/2″ from the cabinet edge, as in the case of base cabinets J and the left side of K. Install the cabinet legs so that they are 31/2″ back from the face edge of the base board. Do not fully tighten the leg assemblies at this time, as they may not allow the bottom edge of the side to be flush with the bottom of the base board. They can be tightened after the cabinet carcass is fully assembled.

12 Join Cabinet Parts

Fasten the sides to the base board and install the back board. When installing the back board, verify that the inside dimension of the cabinet is correct at the top of the cabinet, between the two sides. The base cabinet does not require a top board; however, you must make sure the inside dimension, at the top, is correct to guarantee a square and plumb cabinet.

13 Install Countertop Brackets

Install the countertop brackets with %,”

14 Install the Face Frame

Install the face frame as previously described, noting any special orientation. Check that the top of the face frame is flush with the top of the sides and the side overlaps are equal.

15 Apply the Side Veneer

At this point, cut to size and apply 1/4″ plywood veneer to any cabinet side that will be visible. In the sample layout, veneer plywood will be contact-cemented to the right and left sides of cabinet J, the left side of cabinet K, the right and left sides of cabinet B, the left side of cabinet D, the right side of cabinet F and the left side of cabinet H. On the upper cabinets, extend the veneer plywood below the side so that it will cover the end of the veneer plywood that will be applied to the underside of the upper cabinets. If you want to add wood doorstop molding as a perimeter trim with standard 1″-
wide stiles, you must use a thinner veneer. Apply a (1/2″-thick, or less, veneer to the cabinet sides so that you can use the 1/4″-thick wood doorstop molding.

16 Assemble and Install Drawers

Assemble the drawers, as previously detailed in chapter nine, Building the Drawer and check the operation. Follow the drawer glide manufacturer’s instructions with respect to clearances. Drawer side clearances are very critical. Try to be as accurate as possible with your cutting and assembly procedures.

17 Install the Doors

Drill the doors with a 3 5mm flat-bottom drill bit at 4″ centers from the top and bottom of the door and 1/8″ in from the door edge. Pay particular attention to the door orientation if the door is designed with a top and bottom. Some door styles can be reversed, while other designs, such as a cathedral style, must be installed one way. In some instances you have a right and left door and, with single-door cabinets, the side you want the door to open will determine where the holes are drilled. Mount the doors on the cabinets as previously described in chapter nine Installing the Hidden  Hinge.

18 Attach Handles

Make sure the holes are properly spaced for the handles being used, and plumb or level the door edge or drawer front edge.

19 Dado the Toe Kick Board

Make sure the holes are properly spaced for the handles being used, and plumb or level the door edge or drawer front edge. Cut a groove on the back of the toe kick board to accept the plinth clip assembly. Leave the toe kick boards longer than required to allow custom fitting during installation.

This completes the assembly process and the cabinets are ready to be installed. Compare the cabinets with the layout, noting any special features such as drawers, pull-outs, wider stiles, and door opening direction, to guarantee that all dimensions and requirements are correct.

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