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SBW#36 – Kitchen Cabinet Build Part 11 – Assembling The Carcass

After a long adventure, we are at the point where we are assembling a cabinet carcass. In my previous 10 Kitchen Cabinet Build Series, we went from milling the raw wood, cutting components to size, building face frames, sanding, drilling shelving pins, and dry fitting. Today we are finally at the point where we can assemble the cabinet carcass. We’re not going to attach the face frame because it will be painted and the carcass will be clear finished with polyurethane.

First things first a word from our sponsor so I can pay my bills – me – “If you’ve liked the Kitchen Cabinet Build Series or any other woodworking articles feel read more or watch more of my videos over on my YouTube Channel – Sean Moenkhoff. Feel free to support my efforts by clicking on my Amazon site-wide affiliate link to help me out. Now back to our normal scheduled article.”

Depending on the size of the carcass and how much you need to glue up you probably want to organize everything you need before the first drop of glue hitting any wood since the glue has a set time and you’ll be on the clock.

Organizing all components

I first start by laying one side down and putting glue in the dado cuts. Then I attached the top and bottom components. Now I didn’t lay this flat (backside down) on the ground although you can make it just as easy to reach everything but the back.

You can notice that I drilled the shelving pin holes before assembly. This was done using Rockler JIG IT Shelving Jig and 1/4″ Bit Set. I do this because it is much easier to drill them consistently when you’re not constricted by the tops and bottoms. You can read more about that in Kitchen Cabinet Build Part 10 – Shelving Pin Holes, Sanding and Dry-Fit.

On this first cabinet, I did not use anything other than the chemical attachment properties of Titebond II glue. No fasteners are holding the sides to the tops and bottoms, just clamping pressure using my PONY 52 Pipe Clamps. It’s important to ensure the front of your cabinet top, bottom, and sides are all flush otherwise your face frame will have gaps when you attach it. If any glue squeezes out from the joints it’s best to remove it now while it is still wet. Otherwise, it will be more difficult to remove and glue does not take stain.

Clamping the sides to the top and bottom components

Once I was done with the top, bottom, and sides I flipped the carcass over so the back was up. I added glue along the rabbits cut into the sides and the top and bottom pieces. I dropped it in the back panel and stapled this in. I did 3 corners and started made sure the back was squarely fit in place and then stapled all down the sides of the back until I had gone completely around. Since I was using 1/4″ back material I only needed 1/2 inch staples to hold it in place, keeping in mind that the chemical bond of the Titebond II will also add strength.

Once all stapled and glued together I measured the diagonals to ensure squareness. The diagonals should measure the same if you’re square. If not, you can use a clamp along them to force the carcass square – much like I did in my face frame gluing article.

I verified the dimensions by just clamping the face frame on. Before I permanently attach the face frame I want to paint it. If you’re finishing the carcass and face frame the same you could attach it now if you want.

Measure both diagonals and adjust using clamps until they are equal

I checked the squareness one last time with a framing square and everything looked great.

Please keep in mind this is a simple square box cabinet that is only 12 inches deep. More complex cabinetry requires additional planning, clamping, and/or different steps for assembly.

As always if you have any questions or comments post them below or on my YouTube video comments section and I’ll do my best to respond.

I’ve included a few Amazon Links below for the equipment and materials I used.

Equipment and Materials

I hope you find this video useful and can use some of the tips presented. Feel free to leave any comments, suggestions, or experiences you have had below.

https://youtu.be/Dg3PK3wtvRc

Some of the links in my video description and article above are Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you would like to make a different purchase from Amazon, you can also use the storewide link.


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SBW#35 – Kitchen Cabinet Build Part 10 – Shelving Pin Holes, Sanding and Dry-Fit

Before you do your final assembly I highly recommend you drill your shelf pin holes. The reason I say this is because it is easier to drill all those holes on the side panels prior to assembling that cabinet carcass. For starters, you do not have to worry about tight spaces and if you are using a homemade shelving pin jig or a jig like the Rockler JIG IT Shelving Jig, there are no sides or tops and bottoms to worry about getting in the way.

Rockler JIG IT Shelving Jig

If you decide to make your own shelving jig I’d recommend using something such as aluminum or a hardwood so holes do not wear out. I would not recommend free handing the holes by measure, drill and repeat. You are more likely to get off and being off just 1/16 of inch on the height of one hole can send one or more shelves rocking.

I used to use one of these homemade jigs many years back but I decided to try the Rockler JIG IT Shelving Jig (you can read more here) and it worked great. The one downside is it allowed me to go so fast the bit got hot and I believe this caused some damage around the holes on the acrylic template. That said, it served me well and saved me time overall.

Damage that was caused by the hot drill bit on the acrylic template.

To drill the holes consistently I started by throwing a piece of 3/4 inch plywood in the bottom shelf dado. This allowed me to reference this piece for the bottom of the template. From there it was just picking a bottom hole and working my way to the top. If my side panel was greater than the height of the jig I just used a 1/4 inch rod to stick in a reference hole with one hole I drilled out and kept drilling.

Once I had all the shelving pin holes drilled I went over all the material that was going to be clear finished or painted with 220 grit sandpaper. This allowed me to knock down any sharp edges, burs and any marks that was on the material. In my opinion it is easier to sand the material prior to assembly. Of course you may need to go over a few spots after assembly but that is much quicker and lower risk of your sander hitting the edges where things are glue up perpendicular thus leaving scratch marks.

Sanding an interior side panel of the cabinet

Finally after I had everything sanded up I dry fit the cabinet together one last time. This allowed me to work out any issues prior to the glue up. At the glue up stage you do not want to be dealing with pieces that do not go together nicely since you want to get everything fastened together before the glue sets up.

Cabinet all dry-fit together

I’ve included a few Amazon Links below for the equipment and materials I used. Although this is a Rockler Jig, I am not sponsored in any way by them.

Equipment and Materials

I hope you find this video useful and can use some of the tips presented. Feel free to leave any comments, suggestions, or experiences you have had below.

Some of the links in my video description and article above are Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you would like to make a different purchase from Amazon, you can also use the storewide link.


Looking for a Gift Idea? Visit the Amazon Gift Hub


Some of the links on this site are Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.