Learn How to Build Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets add worth to a home along with providing a lot of helpful storage space but they can be very costly. However, if you have prior experience with woodworking you can make cabinets on your own and remove the price of hiring a professional; here’s how.

Required Tools

Table Saw/circular saw

A doweling jig or a horizontal boring tool




Clamps for gluing


Required Materials

Cabinet grade plywood for carcass (frame)

Plywood for door, false front insert and kick plate face

1″ x 6″ oak for face frame





Finishing nails (6d)

Self drilling screws

Drawer materials and slides (if needed)

Counter top materials


The base for the cabinets should be 3¼ inches high and the size should be the same as the floor of the cabinets minus the sides, front and back of the cabinets. Use the table saw or a circular saw to cut the plywood to the desired length and nail it all together.

Use the cabinet grade plywood to create the floor of the cabinet and use a little glue and some finishing nails to hold it to the base. Next glue and nail the sides of the cabinet to the base, using the clamps to secure them in place while you drive the nails. Ensure that the carcass is correctly squared. You can now put in whatever shelving you plan to include.

When the carcass is finished move on to the face frame; cut the oak wood to the required length and then decide where the dowel holes will go and set out the face frame and the stiles (vertical pieces) to make sure that everything fits correctly. Use the doweling jig or horizontal boring tool to drill the required holes for the dowels you are using. Put wood glue on the stiles, dowels and in the dowel holes and then place the dowels into their chosen holes using the mallet to set them properly. Use the clamps to hold the assembly together until the glue dries and everything is dried in position.

Drill holes along the top, middle, bottom and sides of the face frame to keep it to the carcass. Apply glue to the edges of the plywood (the carcass) and the face frame and use clamps to keep the face frame in position. Ensure that the face frame is properly lined up before tightening the clamps. Next nail 6d finishing nails into the pre-drilled holes to secure the face frame in place.

You can choose to order ready-made doors or you can make them too. As with the face frame use dowels, clamps and glue to put the doors together, however, for the doors you need to use the router to create a slot for the door insert. Glue, clamp and nail the drawers together too and install the slides for the drawers and doors.

Install the door inserts and sand down all the segments of the cabinet and then put in the doors and drawers. Fill in all nail holes with wood putty and put on whatever finishing touch you desire like stain, varnish and polyurethane.

Put in the drawers, doors, knobs, handles, hinges and set the cabinet in place. Use a drill and the self drilling screws to secure the cabinets to the wall and lastly, put in the top of the cabinet and you are finished.

Tips and Warnings

Use a clamp to hold a ruler or other straight item onto the plywood when cutting to function as a guide.

Any height or width the counters are to be, build the frame about ¾ of an inch lower and narrower so that the cabinets are the designated size when the doors and counter tops are attached.