include all necessary notes. Lettering should be neat
PLAN AND LAYOUT
After the working drawings are completed and
approved, a plan and layout of procedures are done.
This saves time and eliminates mistakes. A good
cabinetmaker will always lay out and plan the work
before starting to build. A number of construction
problems are solved during this planning period. With
a good layout and plan, those who do the work have few
One of the most common ways to lay outwork is to
use a rod. A rod is normally a 1-inch x 2-inch strip of
lumber which indicates the actual location of all the
parts of the cabinet. One side of the rod is used for
marking the width. Another is used for marking the
height, the third side is for the depth, and the fourth side
is used if other cabinets are to be built that differ in only
one dimension. This technique is similar to laying out
studs on a floor in rough framing. The rod shows the
locations where the cuts would bethe drawers, the
shelves, the rails and stilesany detail it takes to
construct a cabinet. Cabinetmakers use different
techniques and methods in developing these rods and
making a layout rod more easier to read.
Making a Cutting List
Once the rod layout is complete, all measurements
for cutting the stock should be taken from it. A cutting
list can then be made listing all the parts and sizes. A
cutting list must include the quantity of each
component, the thickness, width, and length of stock,
exact cut of each component, and should include the
type of joint for each component.
Developing a Plan of Procedure
A plan of procedure must be developed before
making a piece of cabinetwork. This involves writing
down all the steps of construction.
The complexity of the work may determine the
order of the steps to be taken to complete a job. In most
cases, the following order should be used:
1. Make a layout rod from the sketch or drawing.
However, many Builders or cabinetmakers bypass this
step due to their experience in cabinetry.
2. Make a cutting list, using the measurements
obtained from the layout rod and drawings.
3. Select the right type of stock for the project;
then cut the stock to rough lengths. Rough length is 2
or 3 inches longer than actually required. Cutting to
rough lengths makes handling the stock easier and
4. Face one side of the stock. Facing produces a
straight surface and eliminates any cup, bow, or twist.
5. Plane the stock to thickness. This is the first
step to bring the stock to size. Make sure all parts are
planed at the final setting of the planer to ensure equal
6. Joint one straight edge on each piece. This
straight edge will be held against the fence of the table
saw for ripping to width.
7. Rip the stock to the required width. Use the
correct saw blade for the smoothness of the edge
desired. Rip all pieces of the same width without
changing the setting of the rip fence.
8. Cut the stock to the overall length. This is the
last step in cutting the pieces to their overall finished
size. Use a stop block to cut equal lengths.
9. Make rabbets, dadoes, mortises, tenons, and
bore holes; and perform other machining as necessary.
Set up machinery and make all similar cuts without
changing the setup.
10. Sand the inside faces before assembling. Once
you assemble the inside of a cabinet, it is difficult to
sand. These surfaces must be smoothed before
11. Assemble the parts. When possible, assemble
the parts using only clamps (no glue or fasteners) to
check the quality of fit. Then assemble the piece
permanently as required. After assembly, wipe off any
excess glue that may make finishing difficult.
12. Prepare exterior surfaces for finishing by
sanding if the exterior surfaces were not sanded before
assembly. Handle the pieces carefully to avoid marring
the finished surfaces.
13. Apply the finish. The finish may consist of
filling, staining, and applying clear or pigmented
14. Install the necessary hardware. Hardware is
often installed before finishing; then remove and
replace after finishing. If there is no danger of marring