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Thread: I need some cabinetry tool advice.

  1. #1

    I need some cabinetry tool advice.

    I'm looking to build my first set of cabinets in my kitchen. I'm currently building a new house. I am a third generation general contractor so l have a good degree of knowledge in construction my grandfather used to build furniture and cabinets so I have a very good general idea of how they need to go together and how to create things with my hands. He has been gone now for a few decades, and all the old tools that he had were hand tools. I have a budget of $6000 to buy tools to make this job go smoothly. I plan to continue on with the tools after I build these cabinets and do numerous built-ins and other cabinets throughout the house and then continue to build furniture in my spare time. If you had $6000 to spend, what tools would you use that on? I have the basic Dewalt and Milwaukee power tools. I am in need of a poper dust collection system. but I don't know if I should spend most of my budget on a great cabinet table saw and a track saw. Or if I should just get a job site table saw and invest in a router table or any other tools to complement the setup. I'm sure I'm probably gonna need to run dados and rabbets for most projects.
    I plan on buying S4S or S3S so I don't think I'll need a joiner or a planer. Plywood boxes. Paint grade.

    Also, if any of y'all paint your own cabinets, what is a good spray rig. I will also be painting my entire house as well so take that in consideration on the spray rig if they're two separate types just please note that in the comment.
    Sorry if I messed up any posting format, I'm new to posting. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    What does the second generation say? These days building cabinets usually means making some boxes from pre-finished plywood and ordering doors and drawers to stick on them. If you are building a house, don't you already have a table saw of some sort?

  3. #3
    I think it depends on what is available used in your area to stretch your budget. I am just finishing up a long home build myself. I started out with a home made router table, an ebay table saw and a sliding compound mitre saw. Because my house is a massive period colonial, I also needed a bandsaw, shaper and tooling. Also a used Jet dust extractor, I think all of that came to about $6k. Maybe $6.5k with a used j/p (which you say you don’t need) New retail on all of that would have been around $24k+

    My project got more involved by making doors, shutters, baseboards, casings and built-ins etc, so more tooling, a domino xl, clamps. Add about $4,500 for that.

    Sanders for all of my home made millwork cost another $2000 used. Plus a good shop vacuum, $700. (New price $4,000 +)

    Add a tracksaw for breaking down sheet goods, a good bench, a good drill press: +$2,500

    Drawer runner and hinge drilling guides and bits etc….$350

    Add a reasonable Graco paint sprayer…$600+ new

    An oscillating multi tool is very handy too.

    All of these are in addition to the regular contractor/carpenter type tool kit. There are plenty more too, but I wouldn’t buy anything unless and until you think you might need it.

  4. #4
    In order of importance:
    A good table saw, A way to accurately break down plywood, (I get a lot of good out of my Safety Speed Cut vertical panel saw. It is not the best for rips which makes me want an 8 foot slider), Two router tables for mortis and tenon face frames and Shaker doors, A Planer to edge plane and dial in the thickness of face frame and door stock, A jointer, A shaper or two (if you are going to make molded, raised panel doors), Sanders, A wide belt sander, Dust collector, Air compressor, Painting rig, A bigger budget,

    I made a lot of cabinets with only a junky old table saw. Grandpa taught Dad to build cabinets with just the tools that would fit into one small toolbox. Big questions, what kind of cabinets do you want to build and how much ease would you like your tools to provide? It is a very worthy undertaking. Our Daughter & SIL sold the house that we renovated together. The thing they miss the most is the custom kitchen.

  5. #5
    Considering that you are already doing a huge project building a new home you may want to order components. Pre cut boxes, doors and drawers all made to order and will get you in your house sooner. Built ins after you get into your house.

  6. #6
    I feel like a description of the type of cabinets you are building would help here. Painted no frill shaker/flat panel door cabinets is one thing. Raised panel cope and sticker solid panel door/dovetail with large pantry cabinets is another. How far along on your house might be good to know also.

  7. #7
    There are many good shops that produce custom doors and drawer fronts. They are very hard to compete with. I have visited several custom door shops. They are amazingly well equipped with giant machines, many shapers, power feeders, big CNC routers, massive sanders,.... Its a fun field trip and an affordable way to get doors.

  8. #8
    If you're wanting paint grade plywood cabinets, it'll probably be cheaper to just buy them, prebuilt, and then paint and install them yourself, rather than try to build them from scratch. Even custom made might be cheaper than DIY. I wouldn't try to DIY cabinets unless you wanted them made out of expensive hardwoods. Construction grade materials like plywood and MDF are SO much cheaper for a big company that goes through pallets every day than what you and I can find. Often times, what you save on labor, you lose on materials.

    Plus, you'll want more than just a track saw and table saw. You'll need a good miter saw, probably a pair of routers and a router table, about a half a million clamps, and a ton of other miscellaneous tools. And you'll still need a jointer and planer as well, because even though you plan to buy S3S and S4S wood, you're not going to find enough straight wood in those sizes use straight from the lumber yard to be able to build your cabinets without some way of resurfacing these boards.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Northern Virginia
    Blog Entries
    Face frame or frameless?

    Buying or building doors?

    Paint or stain grade and are you planning on finishing or subbing it out?

    How much space do you have?
    Last edited by Jared Sankovich; 06-10-2024 at 10:21 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Millstone, NJ
    Im in the middle of this now. (8 months in.) I built boxes, doors, and drawer fronts and purchased drawers.
    What is the design plan? Shaker? Paint?

    Sawstop 3hp 3500 (build a cross cut for this)
    Dado blade 100
    Track saw with a 5' and 9' or so guide rail. 800 (not festool pricing)
    2 sawhorses $80
    sheet of 2" foam. 50
    Track square. 150
    Kreg jig 100
    Couple layout tools Squares/tape/etc(assuming not woodpecker) $100
    Glue and kreg screws $150
    Clamps- 3-4 40" 100
    Drill set with countersink 250
    sander $50-750
    Kreg Face clamp $30

    Not necessary but nice
    clamping squares(bought knock off woodpecker, worked great)
    crown stapler
    domino for alignment
    Brad nailer 18 gauge

    Woodworker express for hardware is cost friendly.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Tracksaw to break down sheets. Table saw to cut everything else. Jointer to get a clean, straight edge on stiles and rails, drawer parts, molding stock, etc. A mid-sized router and a router table. Pocket screw jig to joint face frames and more. Quite a few clamps. And a decent spray rig for paint grade. You should be able to stay well under $6000, if you buy a used cabinet saw and jointer. FWIW, I built a lot of stuff when I first started out with not much more than a table saw and router - but not a whole kitchen full of cabinets. Also, FWIW, you can build Euro style cabinets without much more than a tracksaw and router, and then buy drawers, doors, and drawer fronts from a company that specializes in that. And one more FWIW, it took me over 6 months to build the 27 cabinets for my kitchen and get them installed.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    NE Ohio
    I've got to say - this video of the Sommerfeld method of making carcasses shows how easily cabinets can be made.
    I followed it and did three kitchens as well as over a dozen individual cabinets and large (25" wide by 79" tall) pantries.

    For tools - a 15 amp router in a table, a track saw, a table saw and that's about it.
    "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." - John Lennon

  13. #13
    Built cabinets for years as part of working life. Sheet good break down table, shop made saw guide, and DeWalt 7 1/4" saw. Delta 10" contractor's saw, Delta lunch box 12" planer, Kreg pocket hole jig, 8" drill press Usual assortment of power tools and nailers. Total outlay less than one K. S3S material comes 13/16 thick, so used planer to reduce to standard 3/4". Also used to joint styles and edge banding. DP was used to bore hinge cup holes. Shop built shelf pin jig. Highly recommend get a copy of Danny Proulx's book, "Making Your Own Kitchen Cabinets." Remember cabinets are just a box with a pretty front.

  14. #14
    I am wanting to build them start to finish. I do have a job site table saw but canít imagine it being accurate enough for cabinets.

  15. #15
    Thanks for all of your responses. Iím gonna read through them now.

    Paint grade
    So doors will be shakers and drawers will be shakers or slabs not too sure on drawers but nothing dramatic.

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