Friday, December 30, 2011

Kitchen Cabinet

the empty space

When we purchased our house, the kitchen was a nightmare!  I won't go into all of the gory details but the soffits were built without any framing, cabinets were mismatched, glass on some cabinet doors was broken, there were three floors on top of each other, etc.  So before we even moved in I tore the kitchen down to the bare studs and remodeled it.  The only thing I saved from the original kitchen were the granite countertops.

I ordered the cabinets from Cabinet Liquidators.  Their prices were fantastic and the quality is excellent.  They are constructed out of furniture grade plywood with solid maple faces.  To get that same quality from a name brand like Thomasville or KraftMaid you have to upgrade to their premium line which is ridiculously expensive.  Their standard stuff is made out of crap particleboard and is still expensive.  The only downside to Cabinet Liquidators is they have a limited selection of styles and cabinet types.  You are not going to find any odd shaped or custom cabinets.

#%*@ angles!!!

That presented a problem since I was reusing the original countertops.  I had this stupid end piece cut at an odd angle.  The previous owner simply took a skinny cabinet and placed it sideways under that counter, exposing the unfinished side of the cabinet.  It looked terrible.  I wasn't sure what to do with the space, so it sat empty for about two years!  We needed a little more storage so I knew it was time to build a cabinet for that space.  Luckily Cabinet Liquidators sells the cabinet faces by themselves.  I figured I could purchase a face frame and just build the cabinet to fit.  Sounds easy enough, right?
side panel, face frame, kick panels, and shelves from Cabinet Liquidators

First I started off with an easy warm-up project.  I added a piece of trim below the cabinet over the refrigerator to finish that off.

trim added

Next it was time for the cabinet.  All of the angles required some very careful measuring and planning.
I had grand plans of rabbet joints and special routered lock joints for the box...but after the first few hours with very little progress, I gave in to butt joints with lots of screws and glue.  After the first day of work (yes, I said FIRST day) I had the cabinet completed but not installed.  I didn't have the courage to try to fit it in place before bed because I knew it wouldn't fit and I wouldn't be able to sleep out of pure frustration!

What did Norm Abram say? Measure six times then run back and forth to the saw until it fits?

the humbling result of about 8 hours of work

the end of day one

The next morning I anxiously tried to slide the cabinet into place.  It fit!  Just required a little sanding in one corner.  I spent the rest of day two getting the cabinet fastened in place, fitting the shelves, installing the door, and adding the finish pieces.

inside view

I am happy with the result but this project sucked!  Took way too long and beat me up.  I haven't been that exhausted after each night since Tough Mudder.  I probably spent about 20 hours building and installing the cabinet.  And now that it's done, I have no idea why it took so long.  It's really only four pieces of wood!  Sixty percent of the time was probably spent measuring and planning.  Getting those mitered edges to line up just right also took a long time.  Oh, and now I remember why I work with metal and not wood.  Metal shards may slice through your skin, but sawdust gets EVERYWHERE!

Bosch jig saw
PS - This project reminded me of how much I love my Bosch jig saw.  It cost way more than you think you should pay for a jig saw but it was worth every penny.  It impresses me every time I use it.  When your jig saw cuts straighter than your table saw, you know it's good.