My New Blog: TF Workshop

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Cabinet Face Frames

I completed most of cabinet face frames today, using the assembly technique I gave below. I will do the final one tomorrow. Once complete, I will start on the plywood for the boxes.

Since I used a planer on all the wood surfaces, I only need to give them a light sanding. For the cherry cabinets, I am going to use Minwax Sedona Red stain.

Once stained, they will need another light sanding, then a second coat of stain. After that I will seal them with 3 coats of Mixwax Polycrylic.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Hutch Design

We decided on the final hutch design.
  • The design mirrors the island
  • The upper cabinets will have pewter screen for panels
  • The center will have open plate racks and bead-board backs

I already have the rough face frame wood cut and the doors purchased. I will assemble the face frames and hopefully cut all the plywood pieces this weekend.

Updated Kitchen Model

I updated the kitchen model (created in Home Designer Suite 6), adding lighting and other details. It really help to be able to visualize the plan.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Cabinet face frame cuts

I cut all the face frame lumber.

The standard height of all the cabinets boxes is 30 inches.
  • Standard uppers are 30 inches for a room with an 8 foot ceiling. You can go higher, but the top shelves are not reachable without a ladder.
  • The bases are also 30 inches, plus the kick-plate below at 4 1/2 inches, and the counter top at 1 1/2 inches. This gives a total of 36 inches.
Some details about the face frame construction:

The face frame lumber is all 1 1/2 inches wide and 3/4 inches thick. There are 1/2 wide and 1/4 inch deep dados in the back to allow solid connection to the cabinet boxes. Cutting the dados is a bit of work, but makes assembly much easier. It also creates a very strong cabinet

I am assembling the frames at the corners with a couple of 1" staples and a 1 1/4 screw. The staples align and hold the pieces together, and screw reinforces it. I cut a small shoulder next to the dado to make shooting in the staples easy - again, a little extra work up front that ensures everything will go well.

Here is a picture of the assembly on some scrap pieces:

I am not using any glue on these joints. The holding power you get with glue on this minimal, and any glue that bleeds out of the front of the joint is going to cause problems when staining the wood. The cabinet boxes will be glued and stabled into the dados, which will give plenty of strength.

Getting all this lumber cut from rough to "ready to go" took about 10 hours total.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Change the Island and Hutch Color

After the street of dreams tour, we decided to change the color of the hutch and island to green - similar to below. We are also going to put mesh in the upper hutch cabinets.

Started Working on the Cabinets

I cut, planed and dadoed all the lumber for cabinet face frames. Set-up, milling and clean-up took me about 8 hours - no additional $$, just work.

What tools do you need make cabinets?
  • Table saw
  • Jointer / planer
  • Chop / crosscut saw
  • Air compressor
  • 18 gage finish nailer
  • 18 gage stapler
  • Drill
  • Various hand tools
  • Latex paint sprayer (air compressor driven) - optional

Once I start making the cabinets, I will take detailed pictures to show how its done. It is not simple or easy, but very doable if you are moitivated and willing to learn how.

New Cabinet Doors Arrived

The cabinet doors for the new island and the hutch we ordered arrived. They are exactly to specifications and look to be good quality.

We ordered them from Cabinet Door Depot. They offered a really good price for custom doors, and the delivery was two days early.

  • Island Doors 6 - 11.375 * 28 inches - $22.17 each
  • Hutch Lower Doors 4 - 11.375 * 22 inches - $17.85 each
  • Hutch Upoer Doors 4 - 12.5 * 22.5 inches - $18.16 each
  • Hutch Drawer Fronts 2 - 23 * 5.5 inches - $20.00 each
  • Shipping & Handling was a flat $10

Total cost: $327

To customize the doors, we are adding wood appliques in a grape pattern.

These are pressed from hardwood plywood - since the doors will be painted, this won't be a problem. We bought them at Lowes, 2 for $15. We bought 10 of them for a total of $75. They are a little bit spendy, but add a nice custom touch.

Grand total $400

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Kitchen Design Software

I purchased Better Homes and Gardens Home Designer Suite 6.0 for $99 at Fry's (same price on line). I have used Punch and Visio - this package seems to be much better. It takes a little bit of time to figure it out, but once you get it, you can do a lot. Here is an updated picture of the design.

This has been really helpful for my DW and I to make deicisions. It gives us a better understanding of just how things are going to look. Part of keeping the remodel to $10K is not making any major mistakes...

Applicance Lift for the Island

We are installing an appliance lift in the island - the design is in the previsous post. The one that gets the best reviewes by far is the Rev-A-Shelf 60lb lift. It basically takes a full cabinet, but we decided it was worth it.

We are putting a wider shelf on ours than is shown below, at 20 inches. This will allow us to both the kitchen-aid mixer and a food processor on it.

The best overall price for it is from Rockler at $95 direct from their local store, no shipping. I did find a couple of online ones for $90, but the shipping made them about $100. Besides, if I can just buy it, I will - if there is a problem I can return it easily.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Island Design

Here is the final island design...


Rendered image:


  • 30 inches wide x 90 inches long
  • 42 inch clearance to counter with range, 36 inch clearance to the wall on the other side
  • Oak and alder wood, painted off-white and then glazed to antique
  • Bead board for the interiors, backs of cabinets
  • Spot for two stool
  • Applicance lift
  • All pull-shelves
  • Display shelf on the end toward the dining area

I used the following diagram for clearances. I found it posted on the Fine Homebuilding web site.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Backsplash Design

We went to the Portland area Street of Dreams to tour the showcase homes and hopefully get some ideas. Most of the designs are much too "over the top" for us, but we found some great details we are going to use in our remodeling plans.

We found our backsplash inspiration: brick-pattern background with a basketweave design framed beind the stove. Our stove will not be as wide as this, but we should be able to properly scale it down.

We have not decided on the material yet - it will likely be travetine stone or Italian porcelian tile. To keep the cost down we will buy 12x12 tiles and cut them with a wet-saw. I have a 1 HP tile saw from Harbor Freight (link), which works great.

The pot-filler faucet will also be part of the design. This is part of our strategy, to add in high-end features (similar to the drawer slides we are using) to make the kitchen really stand out.

Tile saw


Appliances are the single most expensive items in this remodel (granite would be more, but we are doing it ourselves - more to come on that later).

After doing the research (my wife is the expert here), we settled on higher-end Sears Kenmore. We have had Kenmore in the past, and we were happy with the quality.

On a negative note, the service we received at Sears for the appliances was overall pretty poor. Their sales people were not that well informed on thier merchandise. They didn't seem to be interested in getting us what we really wanted, but making a sale.

After going back and forth, we picked the black ones instead of stainless. We currently have white, but the ceramic cooktop we wanted did not look good in white. Also, black added a some class alsong with the cherry cabinets. We did not go with stainless, since it is a chore to keep clean with kids running around (we have four).

One open item we need to work through: we have a white fridge inset into the wall on the othe rside of the kitchen. We will need to see how the budget goes...

Total $3264

Cabinet Lumber

I purchased the lumber for the kitchen cabinets from Shuway Building Centers. This will include: cabinet boxes, shelves, and drawers.

I have bought most of the plywood and hardwood lumber I have used over the years from Shurway. If you live in the Portland, Oregon area, I highly recommend them. They specialize in discount materials.

Materials bought:
  • 18 sheets of 1/2 " prefinshed maple plywood at $28 each - cabinet tops, bottoms, sides; drawer sides; shelves
  • 12 sheets of 3/8 prefinshed maple plywood at $22 each - cabinet backs; drawer bottoms
  • 75 board feet of first-grade alder at $4 a bf - cabinet face frames
Total cost $1068

I chose alder instead of cherry for the following reasons.
  • The cherry cabinet doors I have now are stained and have matched it on other projects (Mix Wax Sedona Red) , so I only need to match the grain
  • The cherry was $8 a bf, and really did not look that good
  • The alder is great looking - very nice figure
  • It will get a painted anyway for the hutch and island

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Door and Window Trim

We are going to continue using the door and window trim we came up with for the rest of the main floor of the house.

The trim is made from MDF with PVC rope molding (LP brand), purchased at Lowes. The MDF comes in 4' x 8' sheet for $25 and the rope is $6 for 16 feet. To do a typical 30" wide door, the trim ends up costing about $5, and taking 30 minutes to fabricate and install.

The pictures below are from our bedroom, which we just completed last month. We like the look - its classics without being to large or ornate. The symmetry comes from having the flat area of the top molding, be the same width as the side moldings. We have 8' ceilings in the house, and wanted to keep the right proportions.

The doors are basic 6-panel doors from HD. $60 each, pre-hung.

Toile Curtains for the Sliding Glass Door

Keeping with frnech country theme, my wife made the curtain from toile (pronounced TWALL). She did these for about $150 in material, plus $50 for the curtian rod at Lowes. So about $200 total.

Current Cabinets We Have

As I noted in a previous post, the cabinets in place right now have really nice doors, but the refacing job stinks. Also, the layout needs to change a bit with the double oven we are adding in. The challenge is to get the sizes we have to work with the modifications we want to do. After about 10 hours of fiddling with the sizes and a layout in Microsoft Visio, we have a plan we like. I will attempt to upload the before and after drawings.

The doors are raised panel cherry. The detail is simple, but very well done.

The refacing material is OK, but the workmanship is poor and the underlying cabinets are very low quality - all 1970's particle board and paneling. There is no way this would fit into the type of remodel we are trying to do, so we are ripping them out. Here they are with the doors removed.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Decorative Cabinet Hardware

We decided on an "arts and crafts" style hardware that will tie the two different types of cabinets together. The wall cabinets are cherry, while the island and hutch will be a cream color with antique glazing.

My wife is decorating with a french country style, and the rustic hardware fits in nicely.

Cost was $2 for the smaller pulls (doors) and $2.50 for larger pulls (drawers). We need 58 of them to do the entire kitchen. We added 5 of each in case something breaks or is added in the future (this is a lot cheaper and easier than trying to find matching ones 5 years from now). Shipping was only $6 for the whole lot. Total cost was $160.

We bought them through the Sonoma Cabinet Hardware ebay store ( Delivery was quick. We have not mounted them yet, but the quality looks good.

The same ones are available by special order at HD for $5 and $7 respectively, which would be $380.


I just thought I should add the fact that I am not associated with any of the websites or suppliers listed in this blog. I am just passing along my review of them.

I work in high-tech, and nothing we make would have any use in remodeling.

Island legs - score!

I was in Rockler to look at their wooden on-lays, I noticed that some 29" country oak table legs were on clearance, and then 50% off the marked price. Instead of paying $25 each, I paid $8. I need 7 legs for the island and hutch design - so I paid $56 instead of $175. I am painting the island and the hutch, so the wood type is not that important, as long as it is hardwood.

I would have rather bought 34.5 inch legs for the island, but with the design I have in mind, I can use the 29" ones. The larger ones are about $50 each (best online price I could find).

I also got two 15 inch cherry legs for $2 each, which I will integrate into the sink cabinet design.

I try to get into the local rocker store ( about once a month. They have non-advertised specials like this, and you have to go in to see what's available.

I did not find the on-lays I wanted...

Received the cabinet hardware

We ordered the the drawerslides and hinges.

In the past I have ordered off-brand or no-name brand for functional cabinet hardware. These have worked OK, but not really well. For the small additional cost, I went with only high-quality brands, since the kitchen is the hardest working room in the house.

The drawer slides are high-end: Accuride full extension, 100 lb capacity, self closing. A&H Turf ( had the best price I could find. With shipping - there were 130 pounds of them - we spent about $12 a pair. This is way better than the $28 you would pay at a big-box store. Delivery was really quick and the order was accurate.

Total cost was $450. This is a lot for drawer slides, but they are critical to having great cabinets.

The cabinet door hinges alos came from A&H Turf. They are blum brand: hidden, /2 inch overlay, adjustable face-frame hinges. They cost .97 each plus shipping, so we spent about $1.30 per hinge. Total cost was $40. HD or Lowes will cost about $6 per pair, or $3 each.

Based on the pricing, order accuracy, delivery time and the friendly response I got on the phone when I confirmed the order, I will order functional hardware from A&H in the future.

Note: I am not trying to bash HD, Lowes, etc. We will end up buying a lot of things through them, and my experience has been overall positive. That being said, I have found that any hardware bought in larger quantities should be ordered on-line.