kitchen cabinet boxes - sides and bottom - Router Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-31-2012, 10:54 AM Thread Starter
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Default kitchen cabinet boxes - sides and bottom

Normally, the bottom of a kitchen cabinet fits between the sides, usually with a dado in the side panel. I'm going to be supporting my cabinets on a ledger board in the back and adjustable legs on the front. Since the actual carcasses will be simple boxes, I'm seriously considering having the side panels sit on top of the bottom panel. The bottom and sides will be 3/4 inch plywood. My thought is that it will simply be much stronger this way. If the support is under the bottom panel, and there's weight on top (the full cabinets), then I see it as at least POSSIBLE for the weight to cause the bottom panel to push through if it's BETWEEN the side panels.

I know that means the end of the plywood is visible at the bottom of the side panel, but I am going to trim out any exposed ends so they coordinate with the shaker style doors, so the trims would cover that exposed edge.

I don't have a dado blade for my table saw so I'd have to route a dado in each side panel. I'm looking to simplify and speed up construction. I have several carcasses to build ... basically the entire kitchen except for 2 wall cabinets we're reusing.

Still wrestling with frameless vs face frame. It's a "contemporary cottage" theme so if I think "cottage" I think face frames, but if I think "contemporary" then Frameless works fine. Frameless cabinets with shaker style doors (or drawers), Seven and a half foot island, 3 feet wide, with Bamboo plywood for the top, stainless steel range hood over the island, the wall on the "non-working" side of the island is all floor-to-celing pantry cabinets except the last 3 feet is an area we're calling a "coffee bar". Basically it's where the coffee pot will reside but it'll have extra room for serving when we have company. If you're standing at the island and using the cooktop, you'd be facing that pantry wall. Behind you is a 3 foot drawer base, a 36 inch 70/30 stainless steel farmhouse sink that's 10 inches deep, then the dishwasher, then a 36 inch fridge.

Pretty sure I found a source for soapstone slabs for the countertop on that sink run and also for the top of the coffee bar. Cork plank flooring is still what we prefer, but it may get pushed out by something else. Still kinda open on that area as well.

Anyways.... back to the cabinet boxes. Sound like I'm wimping out or sound like I'm planning smart?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-31-2012, 12:57 PM
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The bottoms are dado'd into the sides because the side must be cut back in the front to form the toe space (i.e. kick plate). If you put the sides on top of the bottom, then, in addition to the exposed bottom end grain, the side will not go to the floor and the bottom 4 inches will be open. If you're going to cover this on the end cabinet, then you will have a 1-1/2" thick side on the end. I'm not sure how this would look for a frameless design but a face frame should work.

If it was my cabinet, I'd just dado the bottoms in as usual. The glued joint would be just as strong as if the sides were on top of the bottom.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
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Robert
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-31-2012, 01:54 PM
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Hi Charlie.
If you don't want to go thru the trouble to dado the sides then then you can cut some scrap ply to use as ledgers. Attach them to the insides & below your floor bottom 3/4" below the opening. Cut the length flush with where your toe kick will be. Your cabinet bottom can sit on top of this & it will be hidden underneath. It's the same idea as you are suggesting without being seen or take away from the overall look or dimensions of your cabinets.

Unless you are storing bricks, the cabinet floor is not going anywhere. I would not assemble the cabinet sides on top of your floor as you described. Dado would be the preferred method. You can even add the ledgers flush with the bottom of the dado if you wish for added support.

James
Whittier, CA.

Have a nice & safe day!

Last edited by jlord; 01-31-2012 at 01:59 PM.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-31-2012, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
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The bottoms are dado'd into the sides because the side must be cut back in the front to form the toe space (i.e. kick plate). If you put the sides on top of the bottom, then, in addition to the exposed bottom end grain, the side will not go to the floor and the bottom 4 inches will be open. If you're going to cover this on the end cabinet, then you will have a 1-1/2" thick side on the end. I'm not sure how this would look for a frameless design but a face frame should work.

If it was my cabinet, I'd just dado the bottoms in as usual. The glued joint would be just as strong as if the sides were on top of the bottom.
That's just it. The sides of each cabinet are not planned to go to the floor. The boxes will sit on a ledger at the back (against the wall) and adjustable legs on the front. On the pantry cabinet wall, those cabinets are only 12 inches deep (not 24) and I was planning to make them look like floor-to-ceiling built-ins. On the 24 inch deep cabinets, the legs will be held back from the front far enough to install a toekick board, but again, the cabinet box sits on adjustable legs. The toekick board clips to the legs to hold it in place.

I think I'm going to have to build one just to see if it looks all right.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-31-2012, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by reikimaster View Post
That's just it. The sides of each cabinet are not planned to go to the floor. The boxes will sit on a ledger at the back (against the wall) and adjustable legs on the front. On the pantry cabinet wall, those cabinets are only 12 inches deep (not 24) and I was planning to make them look like floor-to-ceiling built-ins. On the 24 inch deep cabinets, the legs will be held back from the front far enough to install a toekick board, but again, the cabinet box sits on adjustable legs. The toekick board clips to the legs to hold it in place.

I think I'm going to have to build one just to see if it looks all right.
Sounds like it should work. If no side is exposed (i.e. end cabinets are next to a wall) then there's no problem with the open 4 inches at the bottom.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-31-2012, 07:04 PM
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One "old" way to do a kitchen was to lay down a platform...a simple 2x4 or 1x4 framework (no top needed) sized to establish the kick depth, get it level and then just put your boxes on top.

Many old kitchens in our area were built this way, most times on site and each line of cabinets was a quite often single unit with dividers and face frames forming the functionality.


Didn't matter structurally which way the sides and bottoms were configured, the box(s) was supported by the platform.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-29-2012, 03:52 AM
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Default kitchen cabinet boxes - sides and bottom

I am not sure how this cabinets was built. I have a 3x4 cabinets where i putted a boxes below and on side of the platform. When I went to my wood contractor he suggest me to keep boxes below and I have saved a lot of important space in my kitchen. I also built a drawers attached to a cabinets which are compact and when you pull them outside it get stretch and you will get a many drawer area. It is simply new and compact to save your kitchen space.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-29-2012, 06:41 AM
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Hi Charlie

Quote:
Originally Posted by reikimaster View Post
Normally, the bottom of a kitchen cabinet fits between the sides, usually with a dado in the side panel.
American practice is different to how we do things here in Europe. For starters we just don't use dados/rebates because they're just another step and they actually weaken the structure if you are building from MFC (melamine) - our material of choice on cost and hygiene grounds (it also requires no finishing other than the edges being lipped). I've made quite a few carcasses where I've just screwed the sides into the bottom with carcass screws at 6 to 9in centres. The oldest of these kitchens was built in the early 1980s from MFC (melamine) and was still in use until about 18 months ago, so they're reasonably durable IMHO. In frameless kitchens when installed the carcasses are screwed to each other (generally beneath the hinge mounting plates) to form a single run and because I use a horizontal front nailer, a vertical rear stretcher and I screw my 18mm or 3/4in back panel in place in 1 x 1in cleats the carcasses are more than strong enough to support granite worktops providing that you use Euro-style adjustable feet rather than a built-up plinth (which in any case are way easier to level) - and you fix the feet so that they straddle the joints between the bottom and the sides so that weight from the carcass/countertop is then transferred through the feet directly to the floor, rather than through the joints. these carcasses seen single appear quite weak but fixed together in a run and angle plated to the back wall in a few places they are remarkably rigid and very quick to make

This is fundamentally the same approach taken by shopfit builders here to produce counters, display cases, reception desks, bars, etc and is in common use in the USA trade as well as over here in Europe

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I know that means the end of the plywood is visible at the bottom of the side panel, but I am going to trim out any exposed ends so they coordinate with the shaker style doors, so the trims would cover that exposed edge.
It doesn't matter. I think the best way to deal with end panels is always to cover them with a decor panel (fixed through from the inside of the carcass). A separate panel is much easier to scribe in to the wall and floor - which are never level or plumb or even straight in my experience

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Originally Posted by reikimaster View Post
Still wrestling with frameless vs face frame. It's a "contemporary cottage" theme so if I think "cottage" I think face frames, but if I think "contemporary" then Frameless works fine.
Your choice. We see a lot of frameless Shaker stype doors over here, far less framed versions. Frameless is faster and easier to build especially if you avoid trying to over engineer them

BTW we tend to cover the 100 to 150mm gap between the bottom of the cabs and the floor by inserting a plinth strip. These are held in place by clips which pop onto the adjustable legs and they again are coloured MFC in most cases. Decor legs in stainless steel and alumimium are also available if you want to leave the legs exposed, but doing that means that you have to floor beneath the cabinets (best done before installaton) and they can be a chore to keep clean underneath

Regards

Phil

Last edited by Phil P; 06-29-2012 at 06:51 AM.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-01-2012, 02:45 AM
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Phil,

what you described is pretty similar to what we do here in Aus. One difference is that we build a 120-150mm frame for the cabinet boxes to sit on as a kickboard instead of using adjustable legs. The frame has a face board screwed in front of it. Like you, we have face boards (out of MDF) all round, and the carcasses are never seen unless you open up a door/drawer.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-01-2012, 08:32 AM
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One difference is that we build a 120-150mm frame for the cabinet boxes to sit on as a kickboard instead of using adjustable legs. The frame has a face board screwed in front of it.
Hi Darryl

Here 150mm is pretty much the norm, with base cabinets almost always 720mm high - that gives us 870mm under the worktop for slot-in appliances, all of which are made to fit into an opening 400/500/600 wide (stnadard cab widths) x 570 deep x 850 high, and puts our worktop surfaces at 910mm (with 40mm thick worktops - the standard for post-formed laminate). Isn't standardisation hell? Interesting that you don't use adjustable feet - I find they make it really easy to deal with uneven floors, especially in buildings which have settled or moved with age - way easier than cutting wedges

Good to hear how it's done in Oz

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