A quick demo of how to assemble a standard base cabinet

Video Transcript

Today's focus is going to be base cabinets. We're going to be doing a base 12 with an extended style on the left hand side.
Lay your frame face down on a padded work surface. Important note here: This is the top of the cabinet, where our drawer is, this is the top of the cabinet. You want to make sure when you put your cabinet sides on in our next step that you orient the toe-kick box down here and I'll show that, but make sure you're working top to top here.
Your first step is grab a bottle of white glue and run a nice bead of the glue on both shoulders of the front frame, beads of glue on both of them.
Now we're going to locate our side panels. In this case I've got a flush side, flush finish side, so I've got my toe-kick notch facing the bottom of the cabinet, and I'm going to line that panel up with the groove in the face frame. Just tap that into place.
Second panel, same thing. We're going to find the interior of the panel, with our toe-kick, face that down, line it up with the bottom edge of the frame. Tap it into place.
Now our next step is going to be to insert our top strips and our bottom into this cabinet so I'm going to do the bottom first, always the bottom first. Take your glue bottle and run a bead of glue about halfway down both dovetails of that slot. And then towards the bottom down here, if you can see that, you just want to run a bead of glue along the bottom edge of that dado in the front frame.
Now you're going to locate your cabinet bottom panel, it's got the finished side, we're looking at the finished surface here, spline down. We always like to put a little beaded glue on that black spline, just as a little security, it's always nice. Line up your dovetails, and then with some gentle pressure just slide that panel down so when it gets down to about 3/4 of the way it's time to start tapping with the hammer. Your goal is to get that tapped down so it's tight right here, so once it's seated you'll see it tight along the bottom and this will be positioned correctly. In this case, we tap the sides a little bit, you just want to make sure everything is tapped down nice, there's no gap at the bottom.
Now we're going to get our spreader strips, these look like this: you have one with black splines that one will go down, and you have one with a tab, that one will go up. Put a bead of glue on the on the bottom edge on that front frame, and now a little bead of glue right inside that cabinet side dado, well dovetail. Splines down, finished surface facing in, line that up, and these ones tend to twist on you because they're so small, make sure that's fully nested in there. Now is a good time to make sure cabinet sides didn't work themselves out of the front frame.
Now we have our back-spreader strip, you want the finished side facing in, and you want the rabbited notch facing up. A little bead of glue, in both dovetail slots, and we're going to do the same things: locate your dovetail slots and tap that down gently just so it goes to about this level here, then we're going to bang it back up in a moment.
Now your next objective is to get your cabinet back on. Cabinet back's got a pre-finished surface on the inside, 1/2 inch thick cabinet back with two 1/4 inch dados on the top and bottom, you want to put a bead of glue inside those dados. Again, nothing too heavy, just a little bit of glue. Flip that panel over and you want to line these scribe lines up with the tabs on those top and bottom, and that'll catch that squat. And you'll know you have it on when there's about 1/4 of an inch gap all along here. The back is on nice and secure.
Now we're going to show you two ways to put cabinet sides on. This is an unfinished side with the extended style so we can feel free to put a couple of pins in the cabinet side and one here in the middle here to keep that panel from bellying out. And now we can go along.
Now we have a finished side. We don't want to put any nails here, not a good idea, because you have to patch them later. So in this case you're going to put a pin only diagonally through that back, top, and bottom, a little squeeze in the middle, and now we've got that panel nice and straight with no belly in it and now we just go along that toenail and you'll notice our scribe lines here line up with the bottom panel and that top spreader, so we're going to use our pin gun and go straight up and down about every three inches. If you recall I didn't fully seat this spreader yet, so I'm going to tap that up, until it seats in that notch. So now the spreader is in nice and tight. Now I can go along with my gun.
One last step, Conestoga gives you a block of wood, it's a plywood half inch thick with a finish on one side. As an optional step, you can put this in here, and pin it in place and this becomes a backer for your toe-board when you have your final assembly and you've got your toe-board strips all the way across, you can nail anywhere along there because you have this backer plate. You don't have to use it, but it's a nice optional piece to put in. I'm not going to put it in for this demonstration, and I don't want to pin through my finished side, so I'm going to block it off from behind and we'll do that ourselves next.
Do check out our other videos to look at wall cabinet assemblies and so forth, and give us a call if you have any questions.

6 thoughts on “Base Cabinet Assembly

  1. I have a design of my kitchen want to completely redo my kitchen I want to know how much it will cost me. If you sent me your email address I will forward my design

    1. Karen – we do recommend 18 gauge. Remember, the glue is doing the majority of the work – the nails are just holding it in place while the glue sets.

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