How to make kitchen units

Written by michael straessle
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How to make kitchen units
One-of-a-Kind Kitchen Unit (Image and Illustrations by Michael Straessle)

The key to making a kitchen unit is designing it to serve many purposes. A kitchen unit that houses a hob, double sink and an icemaker as well as storage for cooking utensils and other items is ideal. Kitchen units can be a simple as an island on wheels or a custom-built pie rack.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • One piece of 92½-by-44½-by-¾-inch plywood (bottom shelf)
  • Framing square
  • Two pieces of 44½-by-35¼-by-¾-inch plywood (end panels)
  • Five pieces of 44½-by-4-by-¾-inch plywood (cleats)
  • Wood glue
  • 3d box nails
  • Two pieces of 44½-by-30½-by-¾-inch plywood (dividers)
  • 1¼-inch drywall screws
  • 4d finish nails
  • Three pieces of 44½-by-3¼-by-¾-inch plywood (cleats)
  • Six 1-by-4-by-34½-inch lumber (countertop support)
  • Four 2-by-35¼-by-¾-inch plywood (face frame sides)
  • Two 2-by-90-by-¾-inch plywood (top of face frame)
  • Two 4¾-by-90-by-¾-inch plywood (bottom of frame)
  • Corrugated fasteners
  • Three 2-by-28-by-¾-inch plywood (stiles)
  • Veneer edge band
  • Hot iron
  • Sanding block and 100-grit sandpaper
  • 48-by-96-inch countertop

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Place the 92½-by-44½-by-¾-inch plywood (bottom shelf) on your worktable. Measure from each end of the plywood and make a mark at 34½ inches. Place the framing square on the marks and draw lines across the 44½-inch width of the plywood to indicate where the dividers will go.

    How to make kitchen units
    Marking for the dividers
  2. 2

    Place the 44½-by-35¼-by-¾-inch plywood (the end panels) on the worktable along with two of the 44½-by-4-by-¾-inch plywood (the cleats). Apply glue to the 44½-by-4-inch area of the cleats and secure them to one end of the end panels with 3d box nails.

    How to make kitchen units
    Cleats support the bottom shelf
  3. 3

    Place the 44½-by-30½-by-¾-inch plywood (dividers) on the worktable. Stand the bottom shelf on its long edge, apply glue to the 44½-inch edge of the dividers and secure them to the bottom shelf between the lines drawn in Step 1 with 1¼-inch drywall screws.

    How to make kitchen units
    Secure the dividers to the bottom shelf
  4. 4

    Apply glue to the tops of the cleats on the end panels and lay them on their 35¼-inch edge. Place one at each end of the bottom shelf and secure them to the bottom shelf through the end panels with 4d finish nails.

    How to make kitchen units
    The bottom shelf goes here
  5. 5

    Place the other three 44½-by-4-by-¾-inch plywood (cleats) on the worktable along with the three 44½-by-3¼-by-¾-inch plywood. Apply glue to the long edge of the 3¾-inch plywood and secure them to the 4-inch pieces. Space them evenly apart and secure them to the bottom of the bottom shelf with 1¼-inch drywall screws.

    How to make kitchen units
    More cleats support the bottom shelf
  6. 6

    Apply glue to the ends of the 1-by-4-by-34½-inch lumber and secure them to the tops of the end panels and dividers with 1¼-inch drywall screws. Install one at the front and back of the kitchen unit and one in the centre. These will secure the countertop to the kitchen unit.

    How to make kitchen units
    1-by-4s support the countertop
  1. 1

    Place the four 2-by-35¼-by-¾-inch plywood (face frame sides) on the worktable along with the two 2-by-90-by-¾-inch (top of face frame) and the two 4¾-by-90-by-¾-inch plywood (bottom of frame). Lay the 90-inch pieces so their long edges are touching. Measure in from both ends and make a mark at 32 and 34 inches.

    How to make kitchen units
    The rails are marked for the stiles
  2. 2

    Separate the frame ends far enough to put the 90-inch pieces between them. Put one of the 2-by-90-inch pieces at one end of the frame sides and one of the 4¾-by-90-inch pieces at the other end and secure them with corrugated fasteners.

    How to make kitchen units
    Making a face frame
  3. 3

    Repeat Step 2 for the remaining frame pieces. Place the 2-by-28-by-¾-inch pieces (stiles) on the marks drawn in Step 1 and secure them to the top and bottom of the frame with corrugated fasteners.

    How to make kitchen units
    Installing the stiles
  4. 4

    Apply glue to the edges of the end panels, dividers, bottom shelf and cleats and secure one of the face frames to the cabinet with 4d finish nails.Turn the kitchen unit over and secure the remaining face frame to it.

  5. 5

    Cut the veneer edge band to fit inside the face frame openings and secure it with a hot iron. Sand the edges of the edge band with a sanding block and 100-grit sandpaper. Install the 48-by-96-inch countertop on the kitchen unit and secure it from the bottom side though the 1-by-4s.

Tips and warnings

  • Sand the inside parts of the kitchen unit before assembly.
  • Clean up excess glue immediately with a damp cloth.
  • Do not leave power tools unattended in the presence of children.
  • Do not paint or stain the kitchen unit without proper ventilation.

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