panels and down through the case bottom. Remove any
bow by keeping the toeboard the same distance from the
front edge of the bottom all along its length.
14. The back helps hold the case rigid. The case
must be absolutely square before fastening the back.
Use the Pythagorean theorem to find the diagonals.
This will square up the frame.
15. Fasten the back to the end panels, bottom, shelf,
and skeleton frame. Straighten any bow when
16. Fasten the face frame to the front of the case.
Keep the top edge of the bottom rails flush with the top
surface of the case bottom and the outside stiles flush
with the face of the case ends.
CONSTRUCTING A WALL UNIT
All the steps in constructing the base unit apply to
constructing the wall unit. However, there are certain
steps NOT needed, such as constructing toeboards,
openings for drawers, and the installation of a counter
top, which we will cover later in this chapter.
OTHER CONSTRUCTION METHODS
Cabinets are constructed in a number of different
ways than those described in this unit. Construction
depends on the quality desired, the time required, the
materials used, and the experience of the craftsmen.
Cabinets may be made of hardwood, plywood, solid
hardwood, or a combination of softwood, plywood, and
solid softwood lumber. Often particle board is used,
sometimes with a vinyl coating on one side to eliminate
finishing the inside of the cabinet.
In many cases, the end panels are not dadoed to
receive the interior pieces. Skeleton frames are
eliminated. The end panels are then held together at the
top by the back and face frames. Sometimes the back
is not installed and a 1-inch by 3-inch or 1-inch by 4-inch
strip is used between the ends at the top, flush with the
Members of the face frame in lesser quality work
are butted against each other. They are fastened
together with power-driven corrugated fasteners on the
inside of the frame. In some cases, the bottom rail of
the frame is eliminated. The front end of the bottom acts
as the bottom rail of the face frame.
The cabinetmaker often is required to install kitchen
and bathroom cabinets. Cabinets must be installed in a
straight, level, and plumb line. This action requires skill
because floors and walls are not level or plumb,
especially in older buildings.
When cabinets are installed, many installers prefer
to mount the wall units first, so work does not have to
be done over base units. Lets cover the installation of
a kitchen cabinet (fig. 5-12).
The first step in the installation of the wall unit is to
locate the bottom of the wall unit (normally 52 inches);
then measure up 52 inches from the lowest point of the
floor. This usually leaves a 16-inch space between the
counter top of the base unit and the bottom of the wall
unit. Second, using a level and straightedge, draw a
level line from the mark across the wall. The bottom of
the wall units are installed to match this line.
Next, you need to locate the wall studs. When a stud
is found, mark the location with a pencil; then measure
16 inches in both directions from the first mark to locate
the next studs. Drive a finish nail to test for solid wood.
If studs are not found at 16-inch intervals, then tap the
wall with a hammer to locate each stud or use a stud
At each stud, use a level and draw a plumb line
down below the line for the bottom of the wall cabinets.
Projecting below the wall units makes it easier to locate
the studs when installing both wall and base units.
Then mount a temporary ledger board (1 by 2) to
the wall along the bottom of the cabinet line. This action
will help level and support the wall unit.
The following procedures are only a guide to
installing the wall units:
1. Place the unit on the ledger board or a stand that
holds it near the line of installation. If the unit is not
level, use wood shims to bring the unit to level.
2. Test the front edge of the unit with a level for
plumbness. If the unit is not plumb, shim it between the
wall and its back edge with wood shims until it is plumb.
If the unit is not plumb to the wall, you need to cut the
back edge of the cabinet.
3. Scribe the back edge by riding a set of dividers
against the wall and marking the back edge of both end
panels to the contour of the wall.