Just some rambling thoughts from my head...
Do NOT attempt to make a raised panel with a hand held router. You need it to be mounted under a table and have a fence to help guide the panel across the cutter. 2 1/4hp router will do the job but a 3 1/4 is mo better. I have both and have made the raised panels using each one. The big cutter is about 3 1/2 inch in diameter and would certainly be dangerous if operated hand held.
A table saw would be a big help in your preparations.
What I usually do is ask the guys at the lumber yard to cut my sheets either in half or thirds. I prepare a cut list ahead of time so I know if I need a sheet cross cut at 48, or three pieces cross cut at 32 inches. You can also get them to rip a sheet say at the 24 inch mark. That way, you can get a couple of base cabinet sides and then rip the remaining side at 11 1/4 inches to make the sides for the upper cabinets.
Some basic dimensions are :
Base cabinets w/ face frame - 23 1/4 inches deep (add a face frame of 3/4 inch thickness to equal 24 inches total) x 34 1/2 inches tall (add the countertop on top of that to equal 36 inches total).
Upper wall cabinets w/face frame - 11 1/4 inches deep (add 3/4 thickness for face frame = 12 inches total). Height depends on what your existing cabinets are and the clearance above the finished counter top (18-20 inches).
When we remodeled our kitchen I made the uppers 39 inches tall. That put them at the meeting point of the vaulted ceiling and the shortest wall.
I built my face frames first so I could guarantee they would fit the walls. I allowed a few inches on the exposed end because I planned to put up crown molding. It worked out perfect (so happy).
I use pocket screw construction to make my face frames. I have the tools to do that and they turn out nice.
BTW, we started our kitchen remodel in August and finished the week of Thanksgiving. I built everything in a one car garage. However, I do have all of the tools I needed to do the job. That may be a deal killer for you right now.
Those tools include table saw, miter saw, planer, jointer, drill drivers, random orbital sander, air compressor, 18 gauge brad nailer, glue and lots of screws and a boat load of clamps.
OK. Enough rambling for now. Holler if you have any questions.
That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!
Last edited by MT Stringer; 12-17-2014 at 02:41 PM.