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Kitchen Work XVI: Installing Cabinets on the Shorter Wall

May 22, 2010

Once the wall cabinets were all prettily stained and sanded it was time to go about putting them up.  I decided to do the shorter wall first to test out my methods (see if I could get them to both hang initially and stay there afterwords with the French cleats I intended to use).

The first step was to hook the cabinets together.  To do this I laid them out on the floor, and shimmed them up from it to make them as co-planar as possible.

Straightening out the cabinets so they can be hooked together.

Once they were as well aligned as I could make them, I bolted them together at the front.  The real wood facades of the cabinets are about 1/8 inch wider than the rest of the cabinet on each side.  This gives them quite a bit of flexibility in their installation and conformity to the wall and such, but means that shims must be inserted in between the cabinets before the rears of them can be hooked together.

Wall cabinets (now face down on the floor) with shims installed between them.

After the shims were installed and the backs of the cabinets were also bolted together, I scored the shims and broke them off.

Definitely a fun part of the cabinet hanging preparation.

Once the cabinets were all securely fastened together, it was time to prepare their French cleats.  First I ripped some strips of plywood to uniform width, then cut them in half at a 45° angle.

Strips of plywood cut to be made into French cleats.

Half of a strip would be attached to the back of the cabinet at the top, and the other half to the wall.  Of course, the back of the cabinets had to be cleaned up before the cleats could be attached.  They had lumps of some sort of hot glue along all the joints, so there was a fair amount of chiseling, cutting, scraping and peeling to be done.

Removing glue from the backs of the cabinets.

While half of the cleats were attached to the cabinets, the other half were hooked to the wall.  The wall cleats were made from a single strip of wood, and only scored where the backs of the cabinets would need to rest on the walls so that the whole row of cleats could be more easily leveled during installation.

The wall cleat scored where the sides of the cabinet would need to rest against the wall.

Only after the cleats were leveled and secured to the wall were the scored portions cut out and removed.

Installing the French cleat on the wall.

After the cleats are all installed, it is just a matter of lifting the cabinets up and setting them on the cleat attached to the wall and viola, the cabinet is hung.

Up with the wall cabinets!

And, hey, those cabinets have been up for 2 days now without falling down, so I’m hopeful that it is all going to work out.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Katie permalink
    May 25, 2010 2:37 pm

    Wow. French cleats. I learn something new every time I have the chance to read your blog posts. That is SO cool!!

    • Craig Douglas permalink*
      May 25, 2010 3:56 pm

      Indeed, the internet seemed to think that French cleats were the way to go. And so far they do seem to be working out well. I seem to learn something every blog post, too, but often enough it’s several ways not to do things…

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