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First-Timer Custom Cabinets: What You Need to Know

by Greg Keefer

Building your own custom cabinets for the first time is a fulfilling and challenging project for the aspiring do-it-yourselfer. But, don't take this project lightly because it will likely take a considerable amount of time and energy. The goal: a cabinet that will bring beauty to your home's décor and serve as bragging rights the next time a friend stops over.

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Here are some things to consider before you start:

  • The plan:Your plan is the roadmap to where you're going and shows you the best way to get there. Research cabinet plans until you find the exact style of cabinet you want to build. Good plans include details like measurements, facing, shelves, veneering, and a host of other requirements. If you're a first-timer, be humble enough to follow directions. Adjust the measurements to suit your needs, but don't try too much innovation the first time around. Price the entire project to avoid surprises down the road.
  • Materials: Know how much wood--and what sizes--you need, and have it on hand before you start. Buy a little extra wood, so an occasional bad cut or wrong measurement won't spell disaster. Make sure you have the right hardware as well.
  • Tools: Planning ahead includes the right tools for the job. An oak custom cabinet for the den requires different tools than a rough plywood cabinet for the garage. If you're a first-time cabinet builder, thoroughly research the subject of cabinetry to find out what tools your specific project requires.

Building custom cabinets is a reward in itself, but the key to success is preparation. Your new custom cabinets are worth it.

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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