Basic Cabinetry Tips

by Cabinet Man
(California)


Plain or fancy a cabinet is basically a box. Large cabinets often consist of a solid frame support either manufactured or solid wood panels. Smaller boxes don't require the support of a frame.


To make a drawer, rout grooves along the bottom edges of the drawer from and sides to accept a thin plywood or hardboard bottom panel. (The back is narrow and rests on top of the bottom panel; thus it needs no groove.) Cut dadoes for the back in the side pieces, and construct two dovetail, finger or rabbet-and-dado joints for the front corners. Next assemble the front, sides, and back.

Slide the bottom panel into its grooves from the back (this helps square the box), and nail or screw the bottom to the back. Shelves, if they are adjustable, rest on clips inserted into the holes of a metal track (above, right) or on wood dowels or metal pins inserted into holes drilled in the cabinet sides. Stationary shelves are often dadoed in place.

Doors may be of solid plywood or finale-and-panel construction a solid wood frame around a panel of plywood or solid wood. The frame is joined with mortise-and-tenon, mitered spline, or stile joints (facing page). Tables, chairs, beds, and the bases of some cabinets use leg-and-rail construction, made usually with dowel or mortise-and-tenon joints. If the latter, tenons can be either stub (at least an inch long) or mitered to avoid meeting within the leg. To reinforce leg-and-rail joints, fasten blocks with screws (right). For more on joints, on frames and panels,.

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