Building Kitchen Cabinets on Site
Make face frames after the doors are hung for a perfect fit and quick, no-hassle installation.
Synopsis: The author builds traditional face-frame kitchen cabinets with minimal tools and time by constructing plywood or melamine boxes, unifying them with a poplar subframe, and then installing the face frames after the doors are hung. Although the cabinets look conventional, they are much faster to put together than a standard shop-built job—and they look right.
Back when I had a small cabinet shop in Connecticut, I built kitchens the old-fashioned way, the right way. Although beautiful when finished, the cabinets took forever to build. Over time, I slowly modernized my methods. But I was really making only minor refinements of an essentially antique process. Then I had the good luck of moving to Austin, Texas. I worked briefly for a man named Paris Carroll, a craftsman with no fear of technology. He came to each kitchen-cabinet job with a stack of plywood, preripped face-frame stock, a few basic…