Kitchen Wall Cabinet


Introduction: Kitchen Wall Cabinet

About: I am retired living on a 2 acre plot in central Maine. Living the good life, at least I hope so.

I live in a trailer in the great state of Maine. When I bought this trailer it was old and beatup, so I have been slowly renovating the trailer. One part which was in bad shape were the kitchen cabinets. After looking at low end cabinets, I came up with a price to replace my cabinets for around $3000. I no longer have that kind of money, so had been looking at the option of building my own cabinets.

I have decided that if I was to build my own cabinets, it would need to be out of natural wood.. I have no way of hauling 4' x 8' sheets of plywood from the lumber yard to my place, so decided that it must be made of natural lumber. After looking at the choices I had, I came down with that I could afford either matched pine boards or shiplap, which is also made of white pine. Shiplap was a bit wider boards, less seams to deal with, so that has become my choice of stock.

Shiplap is normally used on the outside of a house for siding and has a rough side and a smooth side. Both sides are decorative, the rough side is made deliberatively rough, but not splintery like rough sawn wood would be and is relatively free from knots. So, it seemed to be a good choice for materials. As an added benefit, I could get it in either 6' or 8' lengths. The 6 foot lengths would be ideal for making wall and base cabinets. I needed 34.5 inches for base cabinets and 30 inch pieces for the wall cabinets.

Step 1: Know Your Equipment

First thing is to determine what you need for equipment. I found that having a table saw and miter saw were necessary. They all need to be set up so that you can be sure to get square cuts. Also, you need to be very accurate in your cuts.

Other tools needed would be a circular saw, power drill, tape measure, etc.

When I cut boards to the same length I like to setup a stop block, so all the boards cut will be the same length.

Be sure to observe safety precautions when using power tools.

Step 2: List of Materials

I purchased my materials from Lowes and Home Depot. One store offered things which the other store didn't. If you don't have both stores in your area, then you may have to improvise a bit

6 - 6' shiplap, 7" wide x 3/4 inch thick. Cost $4.28 each x 6 = $25.68
2 - 6' x 1" x 2" whitewood. Cost $2.35 each x 2 = $4.70
3 - 6' x 1" x 3" whitewood. Cost $3.62 each x 2 = $10.86
Box of screws 8 x 1 1/4". Cost $3.57 Used for multiple cabinets.
Box of screws 8 x 1 1/2". Cost $3.57 Used for multiple cabinets.
Box of screws 4 x 3/4". Cost $3.57 Used for multiple cabinets.
2 - 72" brass pilaster strip. Cost $3.48 each x 2 = $6.96
1 - 12 pack of shelf clips and  pilaster screws. Cost $2.65 each x 1 = $2.65

Cost of Cabinet = $61.56

Cabinet doors

2 - 6' shiplap, 7" wide x 3/4 inch thick. Cost $4.28 each x  = $8.56
1 - 6' x 1" x 2" whitewood. Cost $2.35 each x  = $2.35
2 sets of hinges. Cost $2.57 each x 2 = $5.14
2 door handles. Cost $2.57 each x 2 = $5.14

Cost of Cabinet Doors = $21.19

Total cost cabinet with doors = $82.75

Comparable to a stock finished cabinet available at either Lowes or Home Depot.
36" wide x 30" tall wall cabinet = $171.
My cabinet is less than 50% less than the available stock cabinet.

Step 3: Cut the Walls

We start by cutting 4 pieces of shiplap into 30 inch pieces. You will use 2 - 6' lengths of the shiplap. Also cut 2 pieces of 1" x 2" x 10 1/4" long for the top cleats and cut 2 pieces of 1" x 2" x 10 1/2" long for the bottom cleats.

Take two of the shiplap pieces, putting them together. We need a width of 11 1/4. Be sure to reserve the cut out portion for the back panel. The total depth of th cabinet will be 12". So, the side walls need to be 11 1/4" wide. Rip one piece for each side of the cabinet. Observe the knots on your boards, so they will not become a problem, either on a rip cut or where you will be screwing pieces together. 

Screw each side wall together using the 1" x 2" pieces, which will become the cleats holding everything together. Use 4 - 1 1/4 screws on each cleat. the bottom cleat will be even with the bottom of the side and the other cleat 3/4" down from the top edge of the board.  The cleats are 3/4" too short, this is to accommodate the wall cleats at the back of the cabinet. 

Next cut the pilaster strip, the metal strips used to hold the shelves up, see the picture, into 24" sections and attach to side walls. I placed them up against the the top cleat so that they would be level with each other.

Next cut the bottom and top cabinet pieces. The wall cabinet is 1/4" shorter than the actual dimensions, so for a 33" wide cabinet, 33" - 1/4" offset - the thickness of the 2 walls 3/4" x 2 = 1 1/2". So the total length of the shelf will be 31 1/4", the offset will be made up for when we put the facing on the cabinet. Cut the top and bottom pieces and screw into the cleats using 8 x 1 1/2" screws. The extra long screws give extra strength to the cabinet. Be sure to pre drill for all screw locations.

Next  cut and add ledger boards to the top and bottom of the back. The top Ledger board needs to offset to allow 1/4" space for the backing and the bottom one should go flush with the wall.

Most screws are in locations, where they will not be seen in the finished product.

Next cut the movable shelves, they should be approximately 29 3/4" long, check that they will fit in the cabinet easily. Cut cleats for the shelves and screw them together using 1 1/4 inch screws.

Step 4: Adding the Facing

In order to give the cabinet a finish look, we need to add the facing, which will also be used to mount the doors on. In order to hide the cleats and give a normal appearance, I needed to use 2 1/4" wide wood strips. So in order to achieve this dimension, I used 1"x3" whitewood. The 1x3s are a denser and stronger wood then the shiplap and will give your project a more finished appearance.

I cut 2 pieces of 1x3 30 inches long and 2 pieces 1x3 28 1/2 inches long. The two 30 inch pieces will be the sides and the shorter pieces will be the top and bottom. Cut the center post 25 1/2 inches long. I used the Kreg pocket hole system to join the pieces together. Using the Kreg Jig, I drilled 2 holes on each end of the top and bottom pieces, 8 holes in all. When you screw the pieces together, I found it was necessary to use corner clamps, so that the wood would not get pulled out of alignment when they were screwed together. I have the Kreg Jr kit, cost about $40. If you were to go to buy the kit, I would suggest you buy the $100 kit with the larger jig. I have successfully used the smaller jig, but I think the larger jig would save time. I also have the Kreg clamp, another Kreg necessity. When I put these together, I used some glue to make a more permanent joint.

Once the face frame is made, place it ontop of of the cabinet, it should be a 1/4 unch to wide. Split that extra width on both sides of the cabinet. We had made the cabinet 1/4 inch smaller than the actual measurements.

Next, using the Kreg Jig dril holes on the front edge of the cabinet, so that you can attach the facing to the cabinet.  I think I drilled 4 holes on each side. The Kreg system does have wooden plugs so that the holes can be finished off if you desire. Some holes were on the outside and inside of the cabinet. The other option, which you could use is to attach the facing using 8 penny finishing nails. I liked using the Kreg system as most of the holes would not be in a noticeable location.

The next thing to do is to put the back on your cabinet. I used luan panel, the only plywood in the whole cabinet. I used small screws to hold the panel on the back, 4 x 5/8" screws. I predrilled the holes through the luan panel. Be sure to put the movable shelves into the cabinet before you put the back on the cabinet. With the divider facing, it becomes difficult to remove or insert the shelves in the cabinet once the back is closed off.

At this point the cabinet is 90% completed. I will return and complete the doors for the cabinet in the near future. 



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    Thank you for your post. It was informative and useful and will help us to improve our future posts. We are happy to inform you that we have got more such stuff with new information and in depth analysis of the topics. You can visit the following link to access them.

    hello dear,
    You have create good article about "Kitchen Wall Cabinet". more ex. Kitchen wall cabinets tend to be possibly to become the focal point of any kitchen. Though most people are aware that foundation cupboards exist and might miss all of them if they were not, it’s the walls cabinets that get all of the attention.

    2 replies

    My quoted measurements are US standard inches, as your must be on metric. I assume, since you refer to yourself as a bloke. 1 us standard inch = 2.54 cm.

    Hi, Thanks for the positive comment, I am planning to make some changes to my top cabinets, I am going to use 1x3 for the top back, which is used to screw the cabinet into the wall. Also 1x12 for the shelving, more expensive, but easier to manage. Am thinking of fixed shelving using 1x2's for the shelf supports. The pine is a soft wood and wanted to get away from the metal shelf support strips. Still in the thinking stage though. The 1x12 shelving is a definite. I am planning to work on them as the fall approaches. I am also thinking about using 1/4 plywood to close in the top, saving money and time. I need to make 4 cabinets for the fall.

    Just curious you said it was white wood. Do you mean pine or was it something else?

    4 replies

    I tried to find an answer on Internet, it appears to be Douglas Fir. But can also be other woods that are straight grained and has reasonable strength. It is not white pine.

    Awesome! Thank you for your quick and very thorough reply! I will probably be starting my entertainment center in the next couple of weeks and I will post some of the pictures if you like.

    That would be great. I am thinking about my center of having a divider down the middle and about 6 inches of shelf height. Underneath there would be enough space to put DVDs. I found that using 1.5 inch x #8 screws gave good strength to the corners. In order to use that size screw all around I would rip down 2 x 4's to be square, I think they come out 1.5" square. Loew's has some 2"x2"x8' square furring strips for $1.32 each. That would save a few bucks, too. Usually this stuff is spruce pine, so you have to be careful about splitting. The 2x4's will take the screws a bit easier. You may also need to rip 1x3s for the facing. I found that cutting your pieces to size before ripping made the ripping job easier and safer. I have a miter saw and table saw which I use on these projects. For the legs or casters, I would use the full width 2x4s to give enough space for the leg supports. Also, you may want to splurge and use matched boards instead of the shiplap, would give a nicer look inside and out. I use minwax oil stains and polyurethane. I do not like how the water based products come out.

    White wood is labeled on the wood from the saw mill, I expect it is spruce or another hard softwood species. All conifer trees are considered softwood, deciduous trees are considered hard wood. There are some relatively hard species of pine, white pine is a very soft wood and generally not used for structural support.

    Great job! I am going to use your design w/ modified dimensions for a movable entertainment center. If my calculations are correct then it should be a third of the price and better quality over the crap they sell in most stores in my budget range. Thanks again! -miles

    2 replies

    A 6' piece of ship lap costs $4.28 each. I estimate 9 pieces would be needed at a cost of $38.52 plus 1x2's, etc. I figure the completed project would cost $50 - $60. Don't forget to predrill all holes in the top piece and use kregjig to attach the face frame. Also use the kregjig to assemble the face frame. Make sure your miter saw and table saw is correctly aligned for 90 degree angles.

    I am in the New England area, shiplap is made out of white pine, which is a soft wood, but when stained and polyurethaned, it comes out looking beautiful. It has a very nice grain that takes stain very nicely. You want to have it well sanded before staining. I have put together a base cabinet. I have also been looking at a tv center for myself. I would make it as a large box, luan panel for the back, with holes placed appropriately for the cables or maybe leave a corner open by cutting the luan panels across the corner at a 45 degree angle. Use 1 x 2 for the corners for strength, use a facing frame to hide the 1 x 2 supports. Shelves for the electronic components need to be 18" wide and probably 6" high. Maybe adjustable shelves are in order here. Don't forget storage room for dvds and games etc. I would buy premade legs or casters for the bottom of the cabinet. You might also want to put a doors on a couple of the cavities to hide the contents, you can use it to store wires and other paraphernalia. The top of the cabinet needs to cover the side panels to give a finished look. You may want to rip 2x4's down the middle to give you 1.75 x 1.75 strips of solid wood to give extra support for the cabinet. I would also put a cross member through the middle, front to back for extra support. I would make my cabinet 42" long, 28" high not including the short legs or casters and 18" deep. By using natural wood, the cabinet will not be excessively heavy, but will still be strong. I would adjust the dimensions so there is a minimum of waste and give you the look you desire.

    Interesting way to generate material. Did you finish the doors? How did it turn out?

    1 reply

    Hi, I have built a base cabinet with drawers and have also built the drawers and one of the doors. The main part of the base has been stained and polyurethaned. I will be bringing that piece in tomorrow and set it in it's place. I need to stain and polyurethane the drawers and doors and then the piece will be completed. At that point, I will go back and finish the wall cabinet and update the instructable. I will be building 3 more wall cabinets and 1 more base cabinet. As I gain skill in building of the cabinets, I am changing or updating the way the cabinets are built. These cabinets would be great for a workshop, but stained and polyurethaned, they make beautiful cabinets for the kitchen. One change I would recommend would be to use match boards instead of shiplap, as the rough side of ship lap is difficult to finish. I may make that change on my future cabinets as the sides of the cabinets will not be seen and matched boards are finished on both sides. The only drawback is the cleats used to build the cabinets. I will try to create an instructable on the base cabinet. These instructables take a lot of effort to complete. Thanks for reviewing my instructable. I am available to assist you with suggestions, if you should want to build some cabinets for yourself.