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SBW#40 – Kitchen Cabinet Build Part 14 – Toe Kicks

What is a toe kick? Look no further than the bottom of your base cabinet. It is cut out at the bottom of the base cabinet where your foot can slide under – or more likely, where your toes will not kick the cabinet.

So how do you cut them? You can cut them on a table saw, band saw, using a jigsaw, circular saw, or even by hand. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to focus on how I cut them using a table saw. While this method may not be the safest, yes, you heard that correct, I find that if you follow safe cutting guidelines by not trapping your workpiece between the fence and the blade, it can create a clean accurate cut.

The first thing I do is diagram out where I’m going to cut on one of my base cabinet sides. This allows me to get an accurate cut for this first one. After that, I will use this one to trace onto all the other sides. Note you need to do this on the front side of your side panel. This is because if you cut a rabbit along the back for the back panel you don’t want to put the back upfront. You’ll also want to make sure you’re marking the bottom, after all, a toe kick on the back or top isn’t going too much good and will waste all the time and material you did on this one side so far.

After tracing out where you’re going to cut – for me, this was 4 1/2″ high and 3″ deep you’ll need to figure out the cutting order a such a way that you do not trap the waste piece between the fence and the blade. If you do trap it this piece can fly back and hit you or anything resulting in serious injury. Depending on whether your cutting the left or right cabinet panel side depends on which side you’ll cut first.

As you can see from this picture for me, when looking at the cabinet, I’m cutting the left side and doing the horizontal cut first. Then after doing all the left side horizontal cuts, I’ll reposition the fence to do the vertical cut on the left sides.

With the blade raises as high as possible to create as much of a vertical cut as possible, place the work material side down and make your cut. This will allow the overcut from the saw to be hidden underneath the bottom and inside of the cabinet. It will not be visible from the outside.

Once you’ve cut to the line you drew, turn the saw off. Never attempt to remove the piece with the saw still running as it may pinch the material causing a kickback. Once the saw stops, set up a stop block so you can cut the remaining sides that match this fence position.

After you finish cutting all those sides, reposition your fence to cut the vertical cut in such a way that the waste material will drop off and not be pinched by the panel and the blade.

Remember to add a stop block after cutting the first piece. Although, this may not be necessary if you’re paying close attention to when the piece drops off and stop pushing the material through the blade.

Since may saw can only cut one base cabinet side safely due to the size of my fence, I either have to freehand cut the other cabinet side or use my panel sled. Since I have a panel sled I’m going to use it. It will allow me to create accurate cuts. Again, I set up a stop block after cutting the first cut.

After cutting all the toe kicks I end up with a decent amount of toe kick block waste. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with these yet – aside from throwing them in my fireplace which I really hate to do.

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.

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#39 – Kitchen Cabinet Build Part 13 – Base Cabinet Sides

How you design and join your cabinet sides can greatly affect the durability and stability of your cabinets. Like the upper cabinets I created, I am going to follow the same process of using a 1/4″ dado for the base cabinet bottom in which will be glued and stapled together.

If you lack the space as I do to have an entire cabinet assembly line then you need to get creative on creating them. The process that I explain below is how I created all my base cabinets for my kitchen in a very limited size basement shop.

The first step I did was break down the sheet goods roughly in half. That is because when you cut a 48″ wide sheet of plywood you end up with 2 – 24″ wide pieces. Since I’m making face-framed cabinets by cabinet carcass will need to be 23 1/4″ wide which allows me to cut a little off both sides or all of one side to get down to that final needed dimension.

However, I’m still in the rough-cut mode so I’ll leave it at 24″ for now. The next step I do to speed up the process is stacking the two halves on top of each other. This allows me to rough cut the height of the cabinet which is 34 1/2″ at twice the speed. I use my DIY straight edge or Track Saw to do this.

After cutting the number of needed sides I switch to using my panel sled for my table saw to cut the sides down to their final dimensions. This sled which is easy to make has a very long runner that fits into my table saw’s miter track which allows the sled to extend beyond the infeed area of my saw yet maintain squareness.

I cut all the sides down to their final sizes using one side as a reference so the tops and bottoms are parallel with each other and square to the one side.

My next step is to draw our reference lines on one side panel so I can ensure everything is correct before making all the cuts since I’m going to making the same cut on each side and then switching to the next cut repeating the process. This allows for consistent cuts on each side panel.

I double-check everything is going to look fine using a small face frame before starting any cuts using scrap material. As it does, I’m ready to begin the side-cutting process.

Now ideally you’ll start with any cross-grain cuts on the veneer. For me, this would be the bottom shelf dado. This if you’re cutting a rabbit on the back of the side panel for the back to slide into it will clean up any tear-out. I however did not do this. I cut the rabbit first and then the dado so I had to cut the bottom shelf dado very slowly and carefully to avoid tear-out along the back.

I threw my sacrificial fence on my rip fence since I was going to bury part of my dado blade into it to cut that back panel dado. Then after cutting that, I removed the sacrificial fence and proceeded to cut the bottom shelf dados after double-checking and dialing in the cut.

With all the side panels rabbits and dados cut I end up with mirrored side panels which you can fold together to visualize how things will lay out.

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.

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
Or Check out our Deal of the Day page in the Top Right of the Menu