In need of expert LJ opinions on my kitchen cabinet build

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Forum topic by RockyTopScott posted 09-02-2009 01:23 AM 1128 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View RockyTopScott's profile


1186 posts in 3743 days

09-02-2009 01:23 AM

Topic tags/keywords: cherry question

I am building new kitchen cabinets

Cherry ply for boxes and cherry for FF and doors

I have 4/4 stock that I need to joint and plane

Most are 10’ long by about 9” wide

Any good suggestions on how to do the initial crosscuts?

I know I don’t need any board more than 36” so I was considering cutting most boards in 1/3 pieces before I rip and joint/plane

Expert LJ opinions are more than welcome!!

as always , thanks to all that reply


-- “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” ― Thomas Sowell

14 replies so far

View Karson's profile


35157 posts in 4665 days

#1 posted 09-02-2009 01:34 AM

Getting the pieces in managable sizes make the job a lot easier. If I’m using an unjointed edge I’ll try to give me an extra inch in length to that I can trim to final size after I’ve got all of the surface and edges done.

If your planer causes any snipe then you would want the pieces longer so that you can cut off the snipe.

I try not to give myself too much unusable waste, If you only need boards 24” long then I wouldn’t cut to 36, I’d rather leave the last piece as large as I can get because you will need some smaller pieces also.

And when done use the cherry scrap pieces as smoke wood on the BBQ. make use of it all.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3855 days

#2 posted 09-02-2009 01:44 AM

I would say cutting the boards down to manageable sizes is a must and will make machining much easier. If you do everything at the same time it is much easier and ensures that everything is the correct thickness’s, lengths, etc. In other words do batch cutting. So if you need 10 pieces that are 1 1/2” wide x 30 1/2 for the stiles, joint one edge of enough boards to get all 10 pieces, then rip them down to a strong 1 1/2” and plain the last 1/32 off at the same time. Then set up a stop on your saw and cut them to length at the same time.
It’s much easier to make a big list, keeping all your parts in sequence so you can see how many 31.5 pieces you need in any width and cut them all at the same time, etc. You don’t want to make one frame at a time because you can be off slightly in your measurements. This applies to the case parts too. I cut all my sides at the same time because they are the same length, etc.
To do the initial crosscuts on the ply if you don’t have a slider you would use a square, mark your line, and then set up a sacrificial fence or guide using a straight edge. You would clamp them to your piece and use a skill saw to cut the piece square. Crosscutting is such a pain if you don’t have a slider. It’s almost easier to ask a local shop to crosscut all your pieces to length safely and exactly instead of fooling around with the skillsaw.
Hope this helps.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4086 days

#3 posted 09-02-2009 02:32 AM

Scott, I agree with the idea of cutting them to manageable size. I would not automatically cut them to a set length but instead look at the plans and cut the boards to 1 to 2 inches oversize in length and about an inch in width. This tends to minimize a lot of waste while reducing the boards to manageable size. You might want to take at look at this video produced by Keith Cruickshank which outlines an 8 step process to handling rough lumber.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3937 days

#4 posted 09-02-2009 02:34 AM

I’ve agree I would break the boards down to manageable size.

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

716 posts in 3883 days

#5 posted 09-02-2009 02:44 AM

I’m really not a fan of “cutting to a manageable size”. I think you can get more consistently dimensioned pieces by planing the longer lengths, ripping and jointing to final size while the pieces are long. Then all you have to do is trim cut the end and crosscut to length. This also reduces the waste because if you do get snipe, its only on 1 long piece and not a bunch of short pieces. Panels can be cut with a circular saw but it takes more planning. The good face must be down and it helps to have a clamp-on straight edge.

-- Don, Pittsburgh

View RockyTopScott's profile


1186 posts in 3743 days

#6 posted 09-02-2009 03:09 AM

I should have mentioned that I only have a 6” jointer

-- “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” ― Thomas Sowell

View BillyJ's profile


622 posts in 3467 days

#7 posted 09-02-2009 03:40 AM

I too have a 6” jointer. I did my first cabinet door fronts jointing 8’ pieces. That was the last time I did that. Now I rough cut (leaving about 1” over). Then I joint & plane. I know I have snipe (less than 0.005), but once that is cut off, no one will notice a couple of thousandths (don’t forget sanding).

If I had better equipment (for large scale work), I would probably run larger pieces, but I have to work with what I have. Just don’t let it sit around cut to spec for too long.

-- I've never seen a tree that I wouldn't like to repurpose into a project. I love the smell of wood in the morning - it smells like victory.

View RockyTopScott's profile


1186 posts in 3743 days

#8 posted 09-02-2009 03:43 AM

I was thinking of doing the inital sizing to about 2” longer..1/2” wider and slightly thicker than final and when I was ready do all the final cuts at one time

-- “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” ― Thomas Sowell

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4038 days

#9 posted 09-02-2009 04:01 AM

Welcome to Lumberjocks. The projects are an inspiration, the information is priceless and the people are supportive. The only problem is, the site can get addictive.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4579 days

#10 posted 09-02-2009 04:55 AM

Why are you using Cherry ply for the boxes? Birch ply will do just wonderfully for the insides. I always cut the width’s I need first. Then I cut to length….trust me.

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3549 days

#11 posted 09-02-2009 04:57 AM

I agree with the others about cutting to a manageable size. Unless you are set up to handle the 10ft lengths, they can give you a lot of problems. I agree with Don about planing the entire length though if you can. Only one snipe to deal with, but then I cut to a manageable size. When I process the stock for my doors, I do one thing a little different. I take time to check my door layout and if I have doors that will be in pairs, I like to make the two stiles that will butt up to each others from the same board. (left stile from one door and the right stile from the other) I rip that stile wide enough to get both stiles. Allow enough extra width to rip in two and edge joint. It takes some getting used to and you have to keep track of your parts as you process them, but when you make your doors and hang them, it’s a nice touch when the grain matches. The main thing to remember, do what you are comfortable with and I’m sure your kitchen will turn out great. We’ll look forward to seeing pictures when you get done. Good luck.

-- John @

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4038 days

#12 posted 09-02-2009 05:42 AM

After I plane my boards and get one straight edge I always figure out how many linear feet of each width solid stock boards I need (1 1/2”, 2”, 3”, 4”, etc.)Then I rip the wider widths first to the smallest out of the boards I have. Then I cut my longer pieces first out of the different widths I ripped. There is very little waste doing it this way.

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3551 days

#13 posted 09-02-2009 07:04 PM

You have received a lot of good input so far. Here’s my 2 cents. I own a production raised panel door shop—this is what has worked for me. I cut my stiles first, starting with the longest lengths, working my way down. Stiles need to be as straight as possible, so I can pick the better lumber this way. I cut the length first, then joint and rip. Next I cut panels for glue up, again going from longest to shortest, for the same reason as the stiles. I cut rails last because they will be the shortest and you make use of the scraps you created in other steps.
All this said, if you are doing cabinets also, use the same reasoning for cabinet stiles. While I totally agree with making pieces manageable, I would not cut everything into thirds first. You will have a lot of waste that way.
Plan before you cut—you’ll save a lot of grief that way.

Good Luck—Kent


View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4270 days

#14 posted 09-04-2009 04:09 PM

Plane then joint the edge. Rip starting with widest needs first 1/8 wider than finished size. Then stand up 3 or 4 boards at a time and use the thickness planer to clean both edges down to precise width. Pick the best for long stiles and work your way down to the shortest. Just my opinion.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

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