Rustic Hickory Kitchen Cabinets

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Project by English posted 05-16-2014 05:11 PM 3733 views 5 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I started these cabinets in my old shop before I retired. They got put on hold as I built my new shop and got it set up. The cabinets are made from rustic hickory, hardest wood I ever worked with. Very hard to mill and sand. I was not able to raise the panels on the router table, way too much tear out. I ended up making a jig and raising the panels with the table saw. I dulled two 10” carbide blades on this project. Sanding the door parts on this hard wood was taking me close to 5 hours a door. With 28 doors, well I am patient but there is a limit. So I purchased a used Grizzly 24” drum sander. It sanded all of the door parts to 200 grit in 3 hours.

Finding enough hickory to complete the job was difficult. I purchased some in South Carolina and some in Virginia. I wanted to make the cabinets 42” tall but with the shortage of hickory I settled for 30” cabinets.

Hickory weights about 4 lbs a board foot. So I was concerned about keeping these cabinets on the wall and together. So it was probably over kill but I put the face frames on with glue, biscuits, and pocket screws. For the backs I put the 1/2” plywood backs in a dado 1/2” in from the back so that these could not be pulled off.

I finished the cabinets with 6 coats of semi gloss oil based polyurethane. Because I could not mill the hickory with my router table I ordered the crown molding on line.

I installed a 2” x 6” x 14 1/2” mounting rail between all of the studs around the kitchen for mounting the cabinets. Each of the upper cabinets has at least 6 #10×3 1/2” washer head cabinets screws holding it to the wall.

I made a new counter top using 2 layers of 3/4” AC plywood and covered with Wilsonart Milano Amber laminate. It is a one piece “U” 60” x 144” x 50”. It was very heavy and hard to install.

All of the wiring was brought up to code and a new polished limestone and yellow onyx back splash was installed.

I finished the room off with a new cork floor.

Below are a few photo from the cabinet build.

-- John, Suffolk Virgina

7 comments so far

View Hammerthumb's profile


3069 posts in 2831 days

#1 posted 05-16-2014 10:35 PM

Nice job. I hate making cabinets. Bet your glad your finished!

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View Mark's profile


1048 posts in 2830 days

#2 posted 05-16-2014 10:42 PM

Wow! That’s one hellofa project. Well done. Really like the sap wood with the darker wood.

-- Mark

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 3046 days

#3 posted 05-16-2014 11:31 PM

beautiful the look of hickory,i’ve heard it was hard to work with.thanks for sharing.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View jim1953's profile


2740 posts in 4698 days

#4 posted 05-17-2014 03:45 AM

Great Lookin Cabinets

-- Jim, Kentucky

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3817 days

#5 posted 05-17-2014 10:40 PM

Beautiful! My son had hickory in his kitchen. As Clint Eastwood (Pale Rider) said, “Nothing like a good piece of hickory.”

View matermark's profile


49 posts in 2204 days

#6 posted 10-01-2014 04:44 PM

Great job! Is that a combo broom closet/pantry?

I hope you don’t scare me away from hickory—I’m considering it for my kitchen remodel.

Almost every hickory kitchen I’ve seen is raised panel; I’m considering Shaker—I already bought the 2-piece router bit set, and just bought a 3rd bit, a Whiteside 15 degree bit for raised panels but am considering turning them in (reverse raised panel.) Do you think I’d still have problems doing the cope & stick on the router table? The profile isn’t 90* like Mission style, I think it’s either 15- or 22-degree. If I do reverse panels, they would probably be 3/8-5/8” thick.

How much trouble will I have? If the reverse panels prove difficult, I’ll use 1/4” ply instead.

-- So economically handicapped I'm strictly on a strict budget...

View English's profile


689 posts in 2333 days

#7 posted 10-02-2014 02:23 AM

Yes, That’s a combo broom closet / pantry cabinet.

I didn’t have too much trouble with the cope and stick milling on the router table. It was the panel raising that was a killer. I made a jig that held the panel at the correct angle and slid it against the table saw fence to make my angled cuts on the panel. Then used a tenon jig for making the panel tenons. The high speed router bits seem to work OK if you take small cuts.

I think the shaker door would be easier to make in hickory than the ogee door.

-- John, Suffolk Virgina

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