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Building On-site Corner Cabinets

by Greg Keefer

Corner cabinets come in all shapes and sizes. Professional cabinet makers can produce a made-to-fit cabinet for any kitchen, bathroom or living space location but do-it-yourselfers are probably better off building the cabinet on-site.

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Building Cabinets On Site: Steps to Success

Even experienced cabinet makers prefer to build cabinets where they're going to hang or sit if corners of the house aren't squared. Building in place allows you to correct the inherent problems of less-than-perfect corners and customize your cabinets as you go.

  • Screw in the cleats first. The cleats are set to hold shelves and have to be perfectly aligned and level. Be precise since most of the corner cabinet shelf edging will rest on them.
  • Cut the shelves. Measure each one individually. Shelving should be nearly identical from top to bottom but there may be unnoticeable variations if your room isn't quite square. Plumb the front of the shelves and trim anything that sticks out too far. Glue or screw the shelving in place.
  • Scribe edges to the contour of the wall, ceiling, or floor. You'll have to mold your side returns and other visible framing and facing to the uneven features of the location. Even small gaps between the corner cabinet and the structure accentuate the fact that the structure is out of square. Fill the gaps with wood filler if you're planning on painting the cabinet.
  • Install the cabinet face. It should be flush with the shelves.
  • Measure and cut doors to fit. Adjust and trim until they fit properly.
  • Add molding and hardware. Additional molding and decorative features can be added to finish off your work. If the cabinet edges are already flush with the wall you don't necessarily need additional molding.

Building corner cabinets on-site ensures solid construction and a snug fit.

About the Author

Greg Keefer has been a do-it-yourselfer with lots of experience in how to do things right and how to do them wrong. He enjoys sharing his experience with the hope of helping others to

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