Tools Required

  • Pneumatic nail gun and compressor – Preferably 18 gauge with 1″ to 1-1/4” brads or staples – Available at most rental facilities including Home Depot and Lowes
  • Wood glue – Titebond II is an excellent choice and available at any home improvement store
  • Rubber mallet
  • Wet rag (to wipe off excess glue drips)
  • Drill gun with Phillips bit
  • May want to use some cabinet clamps to assist as a second set of ‘hands’ on certain odd shaped cabinets, but this is not a requirement
  • Flat work surface that you can walk around. A work bench against a wall is not typically suitable as you can’t work from both ends of the cabinets


  • As a general rule, Conestoga ‘over-packages’ everything due to the expense and fragility of finished wood products. This results in a remarkably low damage rate, but it also means that you need to dispose of a lot of packaging materials. The packaging consists mostly of cardboard, plastic strapping, thin foam sheeting and wooden pallets. Be sure to plan your work space accordingly.
  • All cabinets will be packaged in their own carton with the cabinet description clearly labeled on the end of the box. Some cabinets will come in several boxes. For instance, a tall pantry cabinet would come with the shelves and other items packed in a separate box. Such cabinet boxes will be labeled ‘1 of 2’, ‘2 of 2’, etc. Each cabinet box will have everything you need to assemble the basic cabinet box. NOTE: For Inset cabinets, the face frames will not be packed with the cabinet since it has to be mated with its door/drawer front in the factory. The inset face frames are packed separately from the cabinet and will be found on the pallet(s) that contain your doors/drawer fronts.
  • Cabinet doors are packaged separately and are NOT marked for a given cabinet. You will need to unpack all your doors and match them up with the cabinets. The quotation we provide lists the cabinet doors and drawer fronts separately and indicates exactly which cabinet each goes on, so reference your quotation for these details.
  • Cabinet drawer boxes come assembled and finished and are strapped to their own pallet and wrapped in cardboard. As with the doors, the quotation lists each drawer box and its respective cabinet separately.
  • Moldings and other parts and pieces will come in their own boxes
  • All items will be shipped on pallets, so access to a forklift and/or loading dock is helpful, but not required. Please see the ‘POLICIES’ section for more on shipping and your responsibilities upon delivery.

Set Up

  • We recommend that you assemble a cabinet at a time. If you begin unpacking all the cabinets, it will be easy to confuse your parts and pieces.
  • Ensure you have a flat, padded work surface. The floor of a garage is satisfactory, but bending over may become tiresome. A low, solid table may be ideal.
  • Assembled cabinets take up a bit more space than the flat packed ones! Be sure to plan where you will store your ‘work in process.’
  • Get your nail gun/compressor, glue and rubber mallet handy, because we are ready to build cabinets!

Building a Cabinet Box

While there are some slight differences in assembly between a wall cabinet and a base or tall cabinet, the principles are the same. The instructions below are just to give an idea of the process, we strongly suggest you view our assembly videos or reference the assembly guide for more information before attempting any assembly!

  • Start with the face frame laying face down on a padded surface.
  • Lay a bead of glue in the cabinet face frame groove. You will see that there is a wide groove and then an 1/8″ deeper groove. Your glue bead will be on the two ‘shoulders’ of the wide groove. See the video for details on this step.
  • Place your cabinet sides onto the front frame by lining the splines in the Side panels with the groove in the front edge of the cabinet side. Tap the cabinet side into the face frame until the side is firmly seated against the face frame.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Be sure you have the left and right sides of the cabinet correctly placed. This is critical on wall cabinets with extended stiles and finished ends because the you could accidentally build the cabinet with the extended stile and the finished cabinet side on the same side! It is virtually impossible to get the cabinet apart once the glue sets, so pay attention as you assemble the cabinets!

  • Run a bead of glue about half way down the cabinet top and bottom groove
  • Place your cabinet top and bottom into the dovetailed cabinet groove so that the notched end is facing up, the grooved edge is facing down and the finished side is facing the interior of the cabinet
  • Using even pressure (and your rubber mallet if necessary), press/tap the cabinet top or bottom down until the splines insert into the groove on the face of the top/bottom panel
  • There should be no gap where the face frame meets the top/bottom panel.

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR BASE CABINETS: Base cabinets use spreader strips instead of a full top. For easy reference as to how these are installed, watch the assembly video found on this website.

  • Once the top and bottom are installed, its time to insert the cabinet back. Lay a bead of glue on the left and right cabinet sides where the back notch is. Lay some glue on the cabinet top/bottom tabs which will insert in to the cabinet back.
  • Lay the cabinet back in place and tap it into place with your rubber mallet. Ensure that the tabs for the top and bottom find their way in to the slots in the cabinet back.
  • Using your nail gun (and being certain that the nail gun is straight up and down), place a 1-1/4″ finish nail about every 3″ along the scribe line in the cabinet back and also nail along the cabinet back in to the cabinet side. This firmly fastens the cabinet back to the cabinet. Once the glue sets, the back will not move. This new assembly far exceeded KCMA’s standards for cabinet strength while hung on the wall.

CORNER WALL AND BASE CABINETS: These cabinets generally require two people to assemble. We recommend that you read the assembly guide which details the assembly for these cabinets and illustrates the assembly with full color images.