Cabinetry Confession

So I have a confession to make.  Mr PoP and I have been keeping a secret.

Set of upper corner cabinets. The center one was a PITA to make with all those angles but I got it!

Hidden in the last few months of recent income statement posts are about $3,000 worth of expenses that we (okay, I – Mr PoP couldn’t have cared less) weren’t ready to share with the world.  They were just lumped in with “Kitchen Renovation” without giving a whole lot of information on what on earth was costing so much those months.  But now that we’ve got walls and our flooring is due to arrive soon, some readers (and Mama and Papa PoP!) have been starting to wonder what the heck we were planning on putting back into our kitchen.  (As much as we love how big the kitchen feels without anything on the walls, it’s not really conducive to the long term functionality of the space as a kitchen.)  So here goes.

I’m Building All Of Our Cabinetry

Now, I don’t mean that I’m assembling all of our cabinetry.  There are lots of places that you can get RTA (ready-to-assemble) cabinetry out there (IKEA, Cabinets-To-Go, etc) and every time we tell people that I’m building our cabinetry this is where their minds go.

But when I say I’m building our cabinetry, I mean that I started with 24 sheets of plywood, a bunch of poplar 1x2s and 1x3s, and am turning that into cabinetry.

When I originally suggested the idea to Mr PoP, he thought I was a little nuts.  But the more I explained to him the reasons WHY I wanted to build our cabinetry (and convinced him that I wasn’t just adding something to HIS honey-do list, but really wanting to do it myself!), he bought in and encouraged me go for it – despite knowing that it would probably add a couple of months to our kitchen timeline.

And there’s really two essential parts to the why.

Why #1 – I Have Expensive Taste In Cabinetry

I didn’t start out thinking that I’d build our cabinetry.  Instead, we did what everyone who’s renovating their kitchen does, and visited as many cabinet showplaces as we possibly could to see what was available and how much it would cost to get our “forever cabinets”.  Those visits were disheartening.  In short, we’d pay a crap-ton of money (ball park estimates of $15-$20K for semi-custom cabinets) and I probably still wouldn’t be thrilled with the sacrifices we’d need to make on our design vision.  It’d be one thing if it was $15K and fulfilled my every hope and desire.  But it wasn’t.  =/

We I had a list of “wants” for the cabinetry that kept driving the price higher and higher everywhere we looked (if the “wants” could even be met at all).

  • 33 Linear Feet of Cabinetry – This is a lot of cabinetry for a relatively small kitchen.  This was one of the main drivers of cost as cabinets are generally ball-parked using a $/linear foot figure.
  • Taller Upper Cabinetry – 30″ tall upper cabinetry is standard (and what we pulled out!), but with our new higher ceilings I wanted to take advantage of that (36″ uppers FTW!) and make our upper cabinets taller to have more not-daily use storage up there.
  • Two Fairly Large Custom Units – Part of widening our kitchen involved taking out our pantry.  While we’ve been making do with a cardboard pantry-box in the meantime, this is not a long term solution.  Instead, we want custom units along both walls in the “dining room” part of our kitchen.  One which will be bench seating cabinetry underneath our newly expanded window, and the other which will mirror it on the other wall, but be full height (but not full depth) pantry cabinet units that I have some very specific ideas on.  Oh yes, and a custom between-the-studs in-wall spice cabinet, though this one wouldn’t have been too expensive it was just a matter that not all companies did it.
  • Super Sturdy Boxes – Having recently pulled out cabinetry that was literally falling apart, Mr PoP was with me that the cabinetry we put in needed to be super sturdy.  Not just to hold up the (likely heavy) butcher block countertop that we’ll be building (out of that heirloom cherry and walnut wood), but that we wanted it to outlast the kitchen and still be in good shape in 30 or 40 years.  We wanted most of the cabinetry to be built out of 3/4″ plywood, an option that wasn’t even available with much of the cabinetry we looked at.
  • Fancy Features – Lets be honest, I drooled over fancy cabinet and drawer features like some of these from Houzz and wanted them.  Well, not all of them.  But enough of them that I knew an order wouldn’t come out near the bottom end of those “ball park” figures that the cabinetry salespeople were giving us.

So yeah.  I have expensive taste in cabinetry.  And I could have decreased that list of wants a bit and maybe gotten the price a little closer to $12K.  I would have had to decrease them a LOT to get the price in the range of $8K or less.  And that’s still a lot of money to be paying for something that’s not everything I hoped and dreamed of.

But building your own cabinetry is a metric crap-ton (an actual measurement) of work, so the second part of my WHY? is incredibly important.

Why #2?  I Enjoy Woodworking

The desk and table I built to learn woodworking 10 and 9 years ago.

Though I haven’t done a lot of it (well, before this project), I really enjoy woodworking.  It was something I always wanted to do (appealing to my exacting and geometric nature when it comes to measurement and design), and Papa PoP taught me how by helping me build a desk ten years ago before we moved to Florida.  I enjoyed that so much that I designed a matching coffee table to go with the desk and built that in my tiny studio apartment (after Papa PoP kindly cut my wood to size in his garage shop up north from my specs and delivered it to me) when I first moved to Florida.  But I never had a project that was worth buying all the right tools for until this one.

And once I got the idea in my head that I could build our cabinetry, I knew it was the right decision.  I just wanted to build some of it and have plenty of “proof of concept” before telling anyone because I hate listening to naysayers.

So How Am I Doing It?

Well, first I read as many “how to build cabinetry” books as I could get from our local library and picked one that I wanted to use as my guide.  For me, this is Building Kitchen Cabinets (Taunton’s Build Like a Pro), which I eventually bought when someone else requested the library’s copy and I couldn’t keep renewing it indefinitely.  =)

Then I started by buying some of the starter tools and starter wood to make a mini proof of concept and get full buy-in from Mr PoP (and to prove to myself that I could do it!).  For me, this was buying a Kreg pocket hole jig  and some poplar 1x2s to make face frames.  (Proof of concept outlay ~$120.)  Once Mr PoP saw how strong and square the face frame joints were, he bought in and gave me his full support in this cabinetry making endeavor.

Look how gorgeous this wood is with just a little poly urethane varnish!

After that, I ordered the plywood when we ordered our windows back in April since I knew it might take a while to arrive.  For the plywood we went with Purebond birch plywood (veneer core and formaldehyde free) and since we couldn’t find it locally, Home Depot helped us source it from a lumber company in South Carolina.  The wood took almost a month to arrive, but is just gorgeous and looks so good.  (They charged us for C2 grade plywood, but this stuff is gorgeous I might melt at what an AA-grade face would look like!)

Only then did I started ordering tools (after researching which ones would be easy for a short, not particularly strong, girl to use on her own).  Here’s a list of the tools I have bought so far.

Papa PoP stopped by and took some glamor shots of me and my new saw while I was on cabinetry-cation.

And most recently, I gave myself time to screw up and learn.  I took last week off of work, and starting on July 3rd commenced my cabintry-cation.  Well, technically Mr PoP helped me cut some of the big pieces (I cannot handle a 3/4″ thick 4×8 piece of plywood on my own) down on the evening of July 2nd, and then I sent him off on a well-deserved SCUBA day trip the next morning.  Then when he left, I started making my very first piece.  Though I started with what I knew would be one of the most straightforward pieces, I made mistakes, had to pull it apart and start over almost from scratch at one point.  But by the time Mr PoP was getting dropped off from his SCUBA trip that evening, I was in the driveway with my first cabinet.  (Mr PoP says all the SCUBA guys in the car were very impressed!)

My first cabinet that impressed Mr PoP and his SCUBA buddies so much. =)

My cabinetry-cation lasted from July 3rd – 11th and it was invaluable to be able to spend time learning immediately from my mistakes and each subsequent cabinet that I made has gone better and better.  In those nine days I made eight cabinet boxes (about a third of what we’ll have total), and got a good head start varnishing the interiors.  And most importantly, I had an absolute blast doing it.  Mr PoP would come home from work and I’d be almost giddy ready to show off what I had worked on all day.

The Numbers

Cabinets similar to what we wanted would have cost in the neighborhood of $15-$20K.  So what are we going to spend?

All told, I’ve spent about $1,000 on tools and about $2,000 on wood and miscellany (screws, wood filler, varnish, etc.) so far.  I expect to spend another $2K or so on these cabinets before I’m through.  (High quality drawer slides aren’t cheap, yo!)

Despite the fact that my efforts are decreasing our cabinetry spend by somewhere around $10-$15K, given the number of hours I expect it to take before I’m through, my actual hourly wage on this isn’t all that high.  Luckily I’m having so much fun doing it that I don’t care.


So that’s my cabinetry confession.


What would you have done in my shoes?  Decrease the list of wants?  Pay the insanely high prices? Or dive into the gigantic DIY cabinetry adventure?

69 comments to Cabinetry Confession

  • That’s a huge saving! If I was confident in my DIY skills I take the plunge too. Good luck with the project.
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  • Wow those cabinets look gorgeous! You go Mrs. PoP!
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  • That is incredible! I am so excited for you and I’m in complete and total awe. Mr. Crackin’ the Whip wants to try his hand at woodworking one day. Me, I have trouble assembling stuff from the box with all parts included! You have inspired me though.

  • Wow! Those look great! While I might or might not have taken on the cabinetry project, I have found myself building other things that could easily be bought. And not because it’s super cheaper, but because I think it would look better. Plus it’s customized to your space, and you can brag that you made it!

    That’s why I made our little wall-mounted charging station and built-in bookcases, and why I’m building a shed now. I just got a Kreg jig too, so I think more woodworking is in my future!
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    • How are you liking your Kreg jig so far? If it’s the pocket-hole one, I highly recommend a couple nice face clamps and the right angle clamp that Kreg makes as well. The right angle one is fit to slide one end into a pockethole and keep everything aligned at the corners while you screw in your joint.

  • That is amazing! You go, Mrs. PoP! I’m not sure what I would have done in your situation. My dad’s done some woodwork in the past, but I’m not sure he would ever consider making their kitchen cabinets!
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    • Thanks, Leigh! Mr PoP’s dad is in the same boat as your dad that he’s done a fair amount of woodworking, but never kitchen cabinets. But he looked at what I have so far and gave them the thumbs up – a very important test to pass!

  • Jason

    Great job. Curious, what type of varnish are you using? Also, you didn’t mention cabinet doors. Are you buying those? what style are you going with. Also, what hinges are you using? I know from personal experience how difficult it is to drill the mount holes for the hinges without a drill press…

    • Jonathan

      I second Jason’s question about the doors. When my wife was pregnant I decided I wanted to build the furniture for the nursery. I built two tall bookcases, two short bookcases, and a dresser/changing table. I did it all with my grandpa, who had all the tools and experience. We also used the pocket holes and biscuits to hold it all together. When it came time for doors and drawer faces, I ordered them from a local cabinet shop, which was a good decision at the time but definitely added to the cost considerably.

      That said, I thought that mounting the door hinges for the bookshelves was pretty simple using a hand drill – I’m not sure how you’d even use a drill press on finished cabinet boxes.

      Anyway, I’ve since bought all my own tools, and built a nice oak crib and am just finishing a walnut end table. Mrs. Pop – your handiwork is very impressive!

      • Jonathan

        Also, Mrs. Pop, are you going to build drawer boxes yourself or have them made? If building them, what method will you use?

        • I was planning on building the drawer boxes myself, too. (I ordered plenty of 1/2″ plywood for the drawer boxes, though the shelves will probably be out of 3/4″.) The Taunton’s book I liked best has a whole chapter on different joinery methods for the drawer boxes, but has what looks like a pretty straightforward one as its suggested method (the author does admit it doesn’t look as fancy as dovetail joints, but it’s supposed to be quite strong). I can’t remember the name, but I can look it up when I get back home and let you know.

      • Thanks Jonathan! I’d love to see pictures of the crib and end table – they sound excellent!

        I don’t blame you for ordering the doors, as I mentioned to Jason above, that’s definitely going to be challenging, and I reserve the right to order them like you did if I consider my attempts failures. =)

        For the doors, you’re using the drill press or the jig for creating the hinge cup holes on the doors themselves, not the assembled boxes. (Which probably makes more sense to you now.) The 35mm cups go 1/2″ deep into the back face of the door (our doors will be 3/4″ thick), then the rectangular part of the hinge that attaches with screws will go into the side of the face frame, but doesn’t need to be recessed at all, so no need for drill press or anything there..

        • Jonathan

          Ah – of course, I forgot about the 35mm holes (and the smaller hinge holes in the doors). Since I ordered the doors from a cabinet builder, they pre-drilled the hinge holes. I agree with Jason, a drill press would be ideal for that.

          Perhaps the drawer joinery you were shown is a box joint – like a dovetail, but all 90-degree angles. Just about as strong as dovetails (and certainly strong enough for your purposes), slightly less fancy, and far more straightforward to make.

    • I’m using Minwax Helmsman spar urethane in clear satin for the cabinets. It does darken the light birch veneer a little bit, but I’m not using a separate stain, so that’s all that’s going on the interiors.

      The cabinet doors will be shaker style (straight lines are easiest, luckily!) with beadboard centers, and those are going to probably be the last part of this that I attempt as I know I’ll need to get a router for mounting the beadboard recessed uniformly within the border as well as a jig for creating the cup holes for the hinges. Do you have any recommendations on a jig for creating the cup holes? Some of the ones on this page seem like good options, but I’m definitely eager to learn from others that have gone before!

      If worse comes to worst and the doors prove too difficult, I’ll order the doors unfinished, but with the hinge mounts already drilled so I can finish them to match the boxes. There are several vendors online that do this kind of thing (and it’s not cheap, though still much less than ordering all the cabinets), though I’ve heard if you live near the Amish, you can also drive out there and get a killer deal on cabinet doors from them. Sadly, I don’t know of any Amish communities down here in FL. =P

      • Jason

        Honestly, I would buy the doors with the hinge cups pre-drilled. While Shaker style doors are in principle straight forward, the number and size you are talking about will be challenging to make using poplar from the box stores. I build all my furniture using rough stock that I joint and plane with a 8″ jointer and 15″ planer. In my experience, the stock you get from Depot will not be thick or straight enough for rails and stiles of that size (remember that for the face frames, they get pocket screwed to the boxes so that is not as big a deal. Also, even with a Blum jig (basically a piece of plastic that sets the space from the edge of the stile), it will be hard to reproducibly drill the cups by hand.

        for all those reasons, for a job as big as your kitchen, for a 30 year lifespan, I would order the doors.

        for the drawer boxes, I would also bite the bullet and buy a Leigh D4 jig and dovetail them using solid stock, not cabinet ply. It will look a million times nicer, and the drawers will be much more durable.

        Also, I recommend also not being frugal on the drawer glides, and buying the soft-self closing ones. Makes a big difference. You can find cheaper than Rockler…

        • I’ll probably try the doors first before giving up entirely.
          Just out of curiosity, why do you suggest the soft/self closing slides? We saw those everywhere and both of us absolutely hated them. So far I’m leaning toward the liberty full extension not soft close ball bearing slides from Home Depot. I got a set to play with and am going to try and install it soon with a test drawer.

      • Jason

        feel free to email me for advice…if you do want to build the doors, you really would need a router table to mount the router…Maybe I’m being too rigid…

        you can also look at the WoodNet forums ( for advice. Lots of excellent information there. I go by measurecutcurse there…

        • I may email you later on. Also – love your handle on that forum! =)

        • Jonathan

          A serviceable router table is super easy to build…I built one out of a piece of MDF (just drill a hole for the router bit and mount the router to the underside) that I just clamp into the opening of a workmate bench, and I added a fence with a couple pieces of pine at right angles and a few wingnuts. I think it took me about two hours to both figure out how to do it and to do it. The only problem with it is that the MDF is too thick to allow the bit to raise up to the correct level unless I lift the bit up in the collet, which is difficult and therefore makes bit changes much harder than they should be.

          • Thanks for the idea. Luckily it seems that there are always a plethora of routers, many with tables, constantly available on Craigslist in our area. So this is a tool that I might “rent” from Craigslist since I don’t think it’ll be a tool I want to keep around after this project is over.

  • PaPa POP

    A girl and her Bosch 4100-09 10-Inch Worksite Table Saw with Gravity-Rise Stand–it’s a wonderful thing to behold! (Silly boys, REAL saws are for girls!)

    • =) It’s such a nice saw!

      • Nate R

        How did you come to choose the Bosch over a similar DeWalt model at a similar price? I’m looking to buy a decent tablesaw myself, and wondering how you’re feeling about it a few months in?

        • It was really the Bosch’s stand that did it for me. I think the reviews on Amazon of the actual saws were pretty similar, and I don’t remember seeing a DeWalt with a similar stand. Actually, Bosch sells the stand separately to attach to certain DeWalt models, but it’s a pretty expensive add-on when you don’t buy it with the Bosch saw. As a fairly small, not particularly strong woman, being able to take out and set up the a table saw (that weighs only 15lbs less than I do) easily as a 1 person task is great. Even our small Skill table saw which probably doesn’t weigh more than 30ish lbs is incredibly awkward for me to carry around and set up. Going in, we thought we’d sell the Bosch after we’re done and keep the smaller saw, but now we’re thinking we’re better off selling the smaller Skill saw since the Bosch won’t take up that much more room and is just way easier to use.

          • Nate R

            Interesting! Thanks for your insight! Good to know the weight of the larger saw with stand like that is still relatively easy to lug around. I have what’s likely a very similar Skil brand saw now, and want something more accurate, but still small enough to store in a basement, etc. This is the DeWalt I was comparing to:

          • Nate R

            Just got my tax return, ready to pull the trigger on a table saw finally. (Got behind on my own projects!)

            One more question about the Bosch: How do you handle large cuts, like cutting a piece more than 20″ wide? I assume you’ve had to do this for base cabinet sides…..Do you use a circular saw with a guide then, or freehand it with a line and no fence holding the piece? It’s the one big difference I’m noting that might matter: The DeWalt I’m looking at can rip up to 32″ wide, which would accommodate cabinets I want to do eventually, whereas the Bosch seems to be limited to 19-20″

          • The Bosch that I have (this one: has a rip range up to 25″. So that means that we’ve been able to do most cuts on the table saw (including base cabinet sides!), though some did mean that we had to use the fence to measure the “scrap piece” instead of measuring the keep piece (say if I had a piece 40″ wide and needed a 29″ wide piece of out it). When you do that you need to be careful about subtracting off the kerf of the blade so the keep piece isn’t off by a tiny bit, but it works.

            Beyond that, there were a few instances (the 34.5 x 34.5 square for the base of my corner cabinet comes to mind) where we did use a 10″ corded circular saw by Skill to make the cuts. For those, we used clamps to make a guide bar out of scrap wood to keep the cut for the circular saw nice and straight. It worked pretty well, but the blade on that saw wasn’t as nice as the 80 tooth Diablo I had put on the table saw, so the edges ended up rougher. If we had needed to do a ton of those, we could have bought a better blade with more teeth to make nicer cuts, but it was fine for the few we used it for, especially since they were mostly backs of cabinets or bottoms that would be covered up mostly by trays or lazy susans.

            Mostly I tried to be strategic and detailed with my cut diagrams to minimize the number of times we’d need to use the circular saw by cutting smaller pieces off of big sheets until the remaining piece was no more than 25″ over the dimension the piece that I wanted to end up at.

  • That is an awesome project. I am impressed and a bit jealous!

    I have been creating my list of tools to buy to make some shelves and to also redo our walk-in closet. I have some of the same tools on my list. I am planning on reaping a credit card sign-up bonus from the purchase, too!
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    • Good luck with the closet project. So far I’ve been really happy with all the tools that I chose, so can recommend them all in good faith. =)

  • You are a goddess.
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  • Ali

    Good for you for tackling this yourself! Very impressive and brave. I have no woodworking skills so would be a bit afraid of such a large project, but I love the idea of learning a new skill like this!
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  • You continue to impress me!
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  • Kudos to you on the cabinets, I wish I was that handy. Knowing I’m the kid who couldn’t color in between the lines…well let’s just say any cabinet I would concoct would have lots of opportunities for improvement. Keep up the great work, can’t wait to see the finished product.

    • It’ll be a while before there are any finished products, but I’ll definitely post pics along the way too in some of our other updates.

  • That is super-impressive!

    I can’t even get the energy up to remove the paint from and wood-stain our cabinets (I finally gave in and had them repainted white). I did take a couple of shop classes in high school (small engines and wood working) and let’s just say that thank goodness for written exams and the ability to take classes pass-fail because I wasn’t so hot on the practical assignments. They functioned but did not get high grades for elegance. I’m in awe of your ability to cut things so they fit together well.
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  • Kendall Frederick

    I have the Rockler hinge cup jig along with one of the cheap plastic ones. The Rockler one is much more reproducible but requires a specific shank Forstner bit and is less flexible in usage.

    I built several base cabinets and a bunch of doors recently and the door cup drilling, hinge mounting on the bases, and door alignment were easier than I thought they would be. Quality hinges are quite adjustable, which helps.

    I do think you might need a planer and a router table, at the minimum, to do the door joinery. After making a bunch of laminated doors to match some used cabinets, I think I’d rather build the boxes from scratch and order the doors next time.

    Good luck and post updates!

    • Good to know the Rockler jig is pretty good and that you’re confirming my theory that the higher quality hinges that are adjustable in multiple ways will help.

      Also we did buy a planer (a delta) that we will use for planing the wood that we have to build our countertop. Sounds like I might get a chance to use it for this as well.

      • Kendall Frederick

        You might be interested in a place here in Jacksonville; it’s called Eco Relics.

        I got my cabinets for the house I’m working on from them; about $400 with a bunch of butcher block counter top. They came from a mansion that was being torn down in Neptune Beach. I built two more base cabinets from scratch, plus a bunch of doors, but I’m still into them for less than $1k.

        I’ll be interested to see your counter top progress! Are you doing alternating strips of the two wood species?

        • That looks like a pretty cool place and your finds there sound amazing! Sadly, we’re still a solid 5 hour drive from Jacksonville, so I doubt we’ll be getting there anytime soon.

          We haven’t quite decided how the countertops will go just yet. The counter wood is still buried under a good amount of cabinet plywood in the garage, so I need to make a bit more progress on those (and hopefully the tile will be installed) before we start working through planing the wood and making some plans on exactly what the counters will look like.

  • We chose option D: Buy a house with a pre-refurbished kitchen :-). Seriously, I’m so impressed with your cabinets! And I think “hourly wage” is such a misleading concept. I mean, it’s not like you either could or would want to spend more time at your job to get more money per hour, right? And you seem to be having a ball.

    I’ve been teaching myself to make skirts and following a similar process: proof of concept, then getting the real materials. I’m not saving any money at all, certainly not on the first one (I could buy a hellaciously nice skirt for the cost of all the gadgets!) but I’m really enjoying it and I think I will like the finished result better than anything I have happened to see in the stores.
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    • Ha! We loved the rest of our house (and the property and the neighborhood) to let the cruddy kitchen stop us when we were buying 6 years ago. But option D sounds like it’s worked well for you. =)

      I totally envy you with the skirts. Once you get that right, a nicely tailored skirt will look amazing!

  • Those cabinets look good! I’d have just bought the pre-made/custom cabinets – I have zero woodworking skills, and I’d really screw them up (I also have no interest in woodworking either). They look great though!
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  • Kim

    How awesome! Your cabinets look good!!!

  • I am more than impressed the cabinets look great, the cost savings of >10K is amazing as well.

    I just read the above comment about construction junction, I was considering going to a similar place here in Chicago, they pictures they post on the website are amazing.
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    • The nearest thing we have around here are Habitat ReStore locations, but they’re tiny and don’t have a whole lot by comparison to what I’ve heard is in places like Construction Junction. I think you should totally go!

  • That’s awesome. Seriously, I’m in awe. You’re spending so much less, getting exactly what you want, and gaining a skill in the process. Doesn’t get any better than that.
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  • Jason

    I like the soft close/self close drawer slides as when you have your hands full, you can just nudge them to the catch point, and they close all the way. It is like a car trunk that closes itself. It is not a necessity, but I like it. Personal preference I guess. Plus, it prevents kids from slamming the drawers, of course that isn’t your issue…


    • Ha – funny that you mentioned kids since that’s the complaint a coworker has about her 18-year-old son and the reason she wants soft close drawers. (I picked her mind about them since she’s dreaming of her own kitchen remodel when the kids go off to college – though I didn’t understand why the soft close would still be a priority AFTER the kids are gone…) But getting soft-close drawers (that drive us both batty for different reasons) seems like a bad idea as a preventive measure against the actions of children that might not ever exist. =)

  • Heidi

    I REALLY want the Kreg Jig and a nice compound miter saw…. Your new toys made me drool :)
    and as a a single female who renovated her house- yay for more women DIYers :) I got/still get SO many people assuming I *must* be married and have a husband doing the actual work and that I must only be decorating/painting… and I actually had to get my Dad to call contractors for me to get them to show up! (I did the demo, layout, tiling, some brickwork, etc but hired out the framing, plumbing and such). ~sorry, mini rant over~

    Your cabinet boxes look gorgeous!!!

    • Thanks for the compliments, and I totally applaud your rant! Granted, Mr PoP really does do a lot of the heavy lifting himself (I’m not so hot with heavy nailguns), but I help out way more than most people assume.

      And it’s so frustrating sometimes when contractors don’t take you seriously! One lost a job earlier in the project because of his “little lady wouldn’t understand the equations surrounding air pressure in ducts” tone. (With my minor in physics I’m fairly confident that I could have handled a discussion on the topic without a problem.) We’ve hired their company for over $8K worth of work on our duplex AC systems in the past 4 years (Mr PoP has always dealt with them there since the duplex is closer to where he works) and I’m inclined to switch any future work there to another company after dealing with this guy.

      Not to mention that when I recently started making calls to tile installers (we want quotes to see what the damage would be to accelerate the progress and have someone else do the install Mr PoP has been planning to do), none of the companies I left messages for called me back. But when Mr PoP called the following week… all the sudden their voicemails were functioning! Grrr… rant over.

  • Heidi

    Also, question- do you use wipe on poly or brush on? I painted my kitchen cabinets but was afraid of putting on poly wrong and messing them up!

    • Papa PoP taught me years ago to brush on poly, though I also recently read a tutorial to wipe it on using old t-shirts that I considered. It involved thinning it 50/50 with mineral spirits and then wiping it on. But would require even more coats since you’re only putting on half as much with each coat. That, along with how to know how much to mix each time and how I’d store it/deal with waste if I mixed too much led me to keep doing it with a brush.

      For the interior surfaces that you’ll be able to feel (ie where there are shelves), I’m doing 3 coats of poly. Sand to 150 and tack before the first coat. Then sand at 150 and tack before the second coat. Then sand at 220 and tack before the third coat. It’s giving a really nice smooth finish and very few visible brush strokes. For the insides of cabinet boxes that will have drawers in them (so won’t be something you touch), I’m skipping the 3rd step. It’s leaves a few more brush marks, but I’m really not worried about a few extra brush marks hidden behind drawers or hiding underneath lazy susans. =)

  • Totally awesome! I will say that IKEA hardware for soft close doors and drawers are pretty sweet- I would look into it if I were you.

    • I know we’re going against the grain here, but we really have hated every soft close drawer slide we’ve encountered – including IKEAs!

  • Lucas

    Very cool! you get some mad DIY points for that. Learning some cool skills and creating some high quality product that you will enjoy every day is worth spending a bit of money on.

    Your post made me miss SCUBA diving as well 😉 Not as easy to do it in Virginia as it was when we lived in Hawaii.

  • If I had the talent (and energy) I would absolutely make stuff like that myself. Plus. If you ever sell, you’ll get a higher asking price with nice cabinetry. But also a sense of pride and enjoyment in the interim. All I did was do a somewhat elaborate paint job on ours. Five years later, I still beam a little at least once a week.
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  • […] Cabinet assembly, to be more precise. Unlike the incredibly crafty Mrs. POP and her ability to build cabinets (I know. What CAN’T those POP’s do?) we decided to take the safer route of ordering […]

  • Without a doubt, i’d purchase the doorways with the hinge cups pre-drilled. Whilst Shaker style doors are in precept clear-cut, the wide variety and length you are talking approximately might be tough to make using poplar from the container stores.
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