kitchen cabinet plans

How to build kitchen cabinets

kitchen cabinet plansWelcome to Kitchen Cabinet Plans we will show you how to build kitchen cabinets. We will talk about the tools needed. And selecting your wood along with building the cabinet box, face frame, doors and draws. Choosing overlays and the hinges needed, we will go over draw glides and how to install them. All the things you will need to know before you start Building your own kitchen cabinets.




Table Saw: 

The table saw  is one of the most used tool when we are making kitchen cabinets. From ripping and cutting the panels to cutting the dado’s and rabbits. We also use it when we are cutting mitered door frames, with the use of a miter sled. The 3 main points in using a table saw are:

#1  The fence:
Check to make sure yours is square to the blade  and if you can add an extension to the fence. The longer the fence the easier it is to cut the panels square.

#2  In feed and out feed tables:
By having larger in feed and out feed tables. This will make the task of cutting large pieces easier and cut a smoother edge.

#3  The Blade:
A good quality blade is a must. You can use the cheaper blade but they do not cut as smooth as the higher end blades do. And they don’t last as long. You will also need 80 tooth or higher when cutting plywood. The lower tooth count will take out small pieces when cross cutting.

#4 Pocket Screw Jig:

A Pocket screw jig will help make building your own cabinets easier. It can be used to assemble the base and face frames. You can even use it to mount the face frame to the base. Using pocket screws can reduce the time it takes to make kitchen cabinets. For more on pocket screws 

# 5 Router table or Shaper:

      The router table has many uses in cabinet making. From cutting the rabbets and dado joints in the panels to making the doors and draws. No limit on what you can use it for. With all the different cutters available you can make any type of design you want. If you don’t have one I would be looking into buying one.

  These are the main tools we use when building kitchen cabinets. There is a lot more you will need like clamps, squares and tape measures. But the three we went over will make cabinet making a little more enjoyable.


          We will show you how to build a cabinet base. The custom cabinet base we are building is 39″ wide 28 1/2″ tall and 21 3/4″ deep using 3/4″ plywood. It will have a 12″ wide space for a wine cooler on the left side. And the right side will have a 27″ opening with a draw on top and two doors on the bottom. When making kitchen cabinets you will find that very few cabinets you make will be a standard size. So we will tell you how to measure each piece so you can make your cabinets any size you need.
Now when you select your wood do not use construction grade plywood. If you look at the edge you will see that the plies are not very good. And will warp easier than cabinet grade ply wood. If at all possible use the oak plywood because the top veneer is thicker than the birch. 


When cutting the size for the side panels. Cut them the full size needed in this case it will be 28 1/2″ tall and 21 3/4″ wide. Then cut the toe kick 4 1/2″ x 2″.  Once cut out we now we will cut 1/4″ deep rabbets on the inside back of each panel. This is where the back panel will go. Now we are ready to cut the dado’s. They will be 4 1/2″ from the bottom and will run the full width of each panel. But wait until you are ready to cut the back panel. And then cut all three pieces at the same time. It is easier to get them to line up this way.



 In order to get a 39″ overall width we will cut the back panel 38″. This is because of the 1/4″ deep rabbets. That are cut in each of the side panels if using 3/4″ plywood.  The height will be cut 28 1/2″ or the full size you need. We now need to cut the dados. The first cut will be 4 1/2″ from the bottom and will run the full length. This is for the bottom to slide into. Tip cut the side panels the same time you cut the back; this is so the dados will line up on all the pieces.






Use 4 pocket screws on each side of the back of the back panel. They will fasten to the side panels. Place 4 pocket holes in the back of the underside of the bottom and 2 or 3 on each side. These will fasten to the back panel and the two sides. Now put 5 in the front under side. This will fasten the lower part of the face frame to the cabinet.

We used pocket screws on our gun cabinet plans






In the kitchen cabinet plans you start to assemble the base start with one of the sides and back. Apply the glue to the rabbet align the back in the rabbet. You may need to place a few bar clamps to hold in place when you shoot the pocket screws. Then apply glue to the dadoes for the bottom. Align the bottom inside the dado’s and clamp then shoot screws.

If the dado’s where cut correctly then the base should be close to square. Now take the last side. Apply glue inside the dado and rabbet. Place the bottom in the dado and align the back in the rabbet. You may need to use a mallet to tap in place apply clamps and shoot screws. Next is the center panel adding glue to the dado insert panel add clamps. You can shoot screws in the back and from the underside bottom.


  When building your own kitchen cabinets, there is two ways you can make the toe kick. The first is to cut it out of the side panels as shown to the left. Which should be 2″ deep and 4 1/2″ tall. This should allow plenty of room. If you are going to match kitchen cabinets that’s already there just make it the same.






Or you can make the base cabinet without a toe kick. You will make the cabinet  about 4 1/2″ shorter  in height. Then build the base out of 2 x 4 s and fasten the cabinet on-top of it. You will need to make the base 2″ shorter in width.

Kitchen Cabinet Plans Making Face Frames

When making face frames for kitchen cabinets, the use of pocket screws will speed up the assembly. There may be other ways of doing it but. I don’t think they would be any faster or easier. Pocket screws will allow the intermediate woodworker to make a very nice looking cabinet in a short time. We will show you how we use pocket screws to make our face frames.  If you like our kitchen cabinet plans pleases hit the Face Book like button on the first page.


The purpose of a spreader is to help support the sides and to fasten the face frame to the cabinet. I only use it on larger bases that need extra support.
To make the spreader just measure the length from inside of the cabinet at the bottom. Then cut the spreader to that length. Then drill 2 pocket holes at each end to fasten to the cabinet. And 4 to 5 more to the front edge to fasten the face frame. We put the holes to the underside so they don’t show. If you have a center panel you will need to notch out where the spreader will go. Make sure it is flush to the top sides of the cabinet.



When making the face frames always remember that the finish size of the cabinet is the face frame and not the cabinet itself. The face frame will be 1/4″ overhang on each side. And flush to the top and flush to the inside bottom of the cabinet. And the width will be 1 1/2″ wide. When measuring for length most cabinets will have the verticals run from top to bottom. And horizontals will run on the inside. This way you will not see the end grain from the sides. But we will be pouring a concrete counter top and didn’t want the end facing the top. To see more on face frames see video below.



Once the face frames is finished it’s now time to attach it to the cabinet base. We already have pocket holes on the spreader. And front under side of the bottom of the base cabinet we have added more on each side. So we have pocket holes all around to fasten the base cabinet.

We will use plugs on the sides that don’t show and add a skin to the sides that will show. Now apply glue to the edge of the base cabinet. Align the face frame clamp in place and shoot the pocket screws. Then remove the clamps and attach the toe kick. And you are finished with cabinet, ready for the doors and draws.





In the kitchen cabinet plans we show how to make a miter door frames you will need three cutters. 1st left is a bit for cutting the face of the door frame. There is a lot to choose from. This one is one I use the most.  2nd middle is to cut the biscuits. This one is for#10. 3rd is to cut the panel grove for the raised panel to slide into.




Using Feather Boards

 When making cabinet doors the first thing I do is cut my lumber to size. You can cut it to the width of the cutter. Or you can cut it oversize. So you will have a little hang over on the top and bottom as shown here. Then cut to size on the table saw this is the way I like. Then install the feather boards. You will need one for the top and one for the bottom. This to keep steady pressure on the board to be cut as well as safety.

You may want to raise the bottom feather board closer to the center of the piece being cut. It will help keep it from moving when cutting. You will make three passes cutting a little each time until the work piece hits the bearing at the top. I also find it better to cut short (3-4 ‘) pieces over long (8 ‘), I have less sanding when finished.

Using The Miter Sled

When measuring the size for a full overlay cabinet door. Start from outside to center of opening and from outside bottom to center of face frame. If a draws is above the doors if no draws then go to the top. You can make these measurements a 1/6 shorter so you will have a little room for adjustments.  When it comes to cutting miters I use a miter sled that I had made for the table saw. This allows me to place a block so I can cut the pieces the same size.

Use a miter saw if it cuts accurately. always check by cutting scrap first. Remember that it takes 8 cuts to make a miter door frame. So even a little off will end up making a big gap and the two sides. And the tops and bottoms need to be exactly the same size. If one is a little shorter than the other you will have gaps. If all pieces are the same size and you still have a gap. Do not try to cut one piece at a different angle to make it fit. This will take the door out of square so you will have to re cut the correct miter. Remember each time you re cut, the door will be a little smaller and you may need to remake them.

Cutting Biscuits

Once all the miters have been cut it is time to cut the biscuits and grove for the raised panel, I prefer to cut the grove first. The grove for the raised panel will 1/4″ and will be center. You will cut this in one pass so set your fence. So the piece being cut will touch the bearing on the cutter. Once you have cut all the frames then change to the biscuit cutter. You need to mark a center location on each side of the fence. So you will cut all the pieces the same. If you have a lot of doors and draws to make try to make them at the same time. It is easier when you can have one set up for each step vs reset for each piece.


 Cutting The Raised Panel

 When making the raised panel for the cabinet door you will measure side of the grove you cut on the frame, you need to allow for expansion and if you are using space balls you need to subtract the thickness for them. When you cut the panel out always check to make sure it is square. There is two ways to setup the shaper or router table. 1st set the fence by placing a straight edge across the fence. And move the fence back until it touches the bearing on the cutter.
Then mark the location and set the height.  Then move the fence back until a third of the cutter is past the fence and make your first pass. You will make three passes. On the last pass you should have a smooth finish.  2nd set the fence as you did for the first way but instead of moving the fence back. Leave it in place. Now attach a 3/4″ board the table top with a cut out the same size as the cutter. Now raise the cutter though the first cutting height and make your first pass. Instead of moving the fence you will raise the cutter to the height. I can change height within 10 seconds after the shaper has stopped. After the profile is cut lower the cutter. And you can do the undercut if you want without moving the fence. Make sure the edge of the panel is no more than 1/4″ thick. So it will fit in the grove of the door frame. Do not try the second way if you cannot attach the board the top safely.  
    After all the panels are cut do a dry fit before you add glue. If everything fits start adding biscuits and glue. When clamping I like to use banding clamps. They work well on mitered door frames and some of them are cheap.

We will show you how to glaze kitchen cabinets, just one of many ways to finish .You can do it to new or give a face lift to older kitchen cabinets.