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Kitchen Facelift - Woodsmith Woodworking Seminars

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BACKYARD RETREAT<br />

Low-Cost, High-Impact<br />

<strong>Kitchen</strong> <strong>Facelift</strong><br />

Save time and money by refacing — not replacing — your kitchen cabinets.<br />

BEFORE<br />

{ Although this kitchen was quite usable,<br />

the knotty pine cabinets, worn countertop,<br />

and old appliances all needed updating.<br />

S<br />

ometimes less is more. For<br />

example, this kitchen<br />

remodel was considerably<br />

less expensive, less time<br />

consuming, and required less demolition<br />

than many similar projects I’ve<br />

seen. Even so, if you compare the<br />

“before”photo at left with the “after”<br />

photo above,I think you’ll agree that<br />

this relatively small-scale project made<br />

a big improvement in the appearance<br />

of this kitchen.<br />

New Life for Old Cabinets<br />

One of the biggest improvements<br />

was to the kitchen cabinets.The original<br />

cabinets were quite functional,<br />

and the overall layout worked well.<br />

Even so,the homeowners wanted to<br />

update them. So rather than tear out<br />

the old cabinets, we gave them a<br />

“facelift” instead.<br />

SHOP-MADE CLADDING.For<br />

starters, we refaced the existing<br />

cabinets by applying shop-made<br />

cladding. The ends of the cabinets<br />

are covered with 1 /4"-thick cherry<br />

plywood. And we glued 1 /4"-thick<br />

strips of solid cherry to the rails and<br />

stiles on the face frames.<br />

SOLID-WOOD DOORS.As for<br />

the cabinet doors, they needed<br />

attention, too. So we built new<br />

frame-and-panel, solid-wood doors.<br />

18 WORKBENCH ■ FEBRUARY 2003


Making solid-wood panels for the doors<br />

takes more time than using plywood<br />

panels. But once the finish is applied, it<br />

results in a much more uniform color than<br />

using plywood. Solid wood also means that<br />

the panels look good both inside and out.<br />

DISPLAY DOORS. Speaking of looks,<br />

the homeowners had a special collection of<br />

colorful dishes they wanted to display.The<br />

solution was to convert two of the cabinets<br />

into display units by adding glass doors.<br />

Low-voltage lighting installed in the display<br />

cabinets highlights the dishes.<br />

The construction of the display doors is<br />

similar to the solid-wood doors. Here<br />

though, we fit a shop-made divider and a<br />

glass panel into the door frame.<br />

DRAWERS.Another part of this cabinet<br />

facelift focused on the drawers. As it<br />

turned out, the existing drawers were sturdy<br />

and well-made, so it didn’t make sense to<br />

build new ones. Instead, we cut each of<br />

the old drawer fronts free on the table saw.<br />

Then, after adding a new front for the<br />

drawer box itself, we installed a false front<br />

made of solid cherry. (For more information<br />

about this technique, see page 26.)<br />

FINISH. But there’s more to this kitchen<br />

remodel than the cabinet facelift.The water,<br />

steam, and spills that are part of a kitchen’s<br />

everyday life demand a tough finish. To<br />

{ A built-in oven and stovetop<br />

is a major improvement over<br />

the old slide-in stove (see<br />

“Before” photo on page 18).<br />

We also installed a slide-out<br />

vent hood and built a message<br />

board to conceal the duct.<br />

< A granite tile countertop,<br />

color-matched epoxy grout,<br />

and an under-counter stainless<br />

steel sink complete this elegant<br />

kitchen remodel.<br />

accomplish that, I used a finishing process<br />

that included a stain covered with three<br />

coats of polyurethane.<br />

The rich, warm color you see is produced<br />

by a mixture of three parts Zar Cherry<br />

Stain and one part Wood-Kote Cherry Jel’d<br />

Stain.The gel stain minimizes blotching that<br />

can sometimes occur with cherry.<br />

MORE IMPROVEMENTS. In addition<br />

to the cabinets, we also made several other<br />

improvements to make this kitchen as functional<br />

as it is attractive (see Photos above).<br />

For information about these products,refer<br />

to the Buyer’s Guide on page 28.<br />

WORKBENCH ■ FEBRUARY 2003 19


{ TTThe face frames of the cabinets are<br />

clad with strips of solid wood that are<br />

glued and clamped in place. I used<br />

tape to "clamp" hard-to-reach areas.<br />

End<br />

Panel<br />

End<br />

Panel<br />

Cladding Detail<br />

Existing<br />

Cabinet<br />

Toekick<br />

Cladding<br />

Stile cladding<br />

covers edge<br />

of plywood<br />

Toekick Detail<br />

Rail<br />

Cladding<br />

Stile<br />

Cladding<br />

Existing Cabinet<br />

cladding the cabinets<br />

One of the appealing things about a<br />

kitchen facelift is there’s no need to<br />

tear out the existing cabinets. By<br />

covering the old cabinets with cladding,<br />

you can make them look brand new.<br />

MATERIALS. I used two types of<br />

material for the cladding. The<br />

exposed end panels of the cabinets<br />

are covered with 1 /4" cherry plywood<br />

(Construction View below). And<br />

I applied 1 /4"-thick solid cherry to<br />

the face frames and toekick.<br />

So why not cover the face frames<br />

with veneer instead of solid stock?<br />

Two reasons. First, solid wood lays<br />

flat, so it’s easier to glue and clamp.<br />

Second, the joints can be sanded<br />

flush without worrying about sanding<br />

through the thin veneer.<br />

CONSTRUCTION VIEW<br />

2d Finish Nail<br />

1<br />

End Panel<br />

( !/4" cherry plywood)<br />

NOTE:<br />

When cladding the<br />

cabinet, follow the<br />

sequence indicated by<br />

the circled numbers<br />

Existing Face Frame<br />

Cut notch to<br />

match toekick<br />

NOTE:<br />

All rail, stile, and toekick cladding<br />

is !/4" -thick solid cherry<br />

Stile<br />

Cladding<br />

2<br />

Getting Started<br />

As with any project, there are a few<br />

preliminary things to take care of<br />

before you get started. First of all,<br />

you’ll need to remove all the cabinet<br />

doors, drawers, and trim.<br />

Once that’s accomplished, check<br />

the outer stile (vertical frame piece)<br />

on the face frame of your cabinets.<br />

Sometimes in order to create a more<br />

finished appearance, the stile extends<br />

past the end of the cabinet, forming<br />

a small lip (Figs. 1 and 1a). If so, you’ll<br />

have to remove it. Otherwise, the<br />

plywood and the solid-wood<br />

cladding won’t fit tightly together.<br />

ROUT THE LIP.An easy way to<br />

remove this lip is to use a router and<br />

a flush trim bit (Fig. 1).As you rout,<br />

Rail<br />

Cladding<br />

Rail<br />

Cladding<br />

5<br />

3<br />

4<br />

3<br />

Stile<br />

Cladding<br />

6<br />

5<br />

Rail<br />

Cladding<br />

2<br />

Toekick Cladding<br />

20 WORKBENCH ■ FEBRUARY 2003


the bearing on the bit should ride<br />

against the end of the cabinet (Fig.<br />

1a). This way the cutting edges of<br />

the bit will trim the overhanging lip<br />

flush with the end panel.<br />

Just a note about routing the lip<br />

on the upper cabinets.The base of<br />

the router won’t allow you to rout<br />

the lip near the ceiling.To get around<br />

that, just pare off the lip near the<br />

ceiling with a chisel.<br />

CLEAN & SAND.After the lip is<br />

removed, clean all the surfaces that<br />

will be clad with a household<br />

degreaser. Then, to ensure a good<br />

glue bond, sand each surface with a<br />

random-orbit sander, using either<br />

80- or 100-grit sandpaper.<br />

Time for the Cladding<br />

Now that the cabinets are prepared,<br />

you can concentrate on the cladding.<br />

END PANELS. As I mentioned,<br />

the ends of the cabinets are covered<br />

with 1 /4" plywood panels. Each panel<br />

is cut to size to fit flush with the<br />

front of the existing face frame.You’ll<br />

also need to cut a notch for the toekick,as<br />

shown in the Construction View.<br />

By the way, don’t worry about the<br />

exposed front edge of the plywood.<br />

It will be concealed by the cladding<br />

on the face frame (Cladding Detail).<br />

The end panel is glued on with<br />

panel adhesive.Apply the adhesive to<br />

the cabinet and press the panel into<br />

place (Fig.2).Tack<br />

brads at the cor-<br />

a.<br />

Flush<br />

trim bit<br />

Trim<br />

overhanging<br />

lip flush<br />

Cabinet<br />

End<br />

Cabinet<br />

End<br />

Face<br />

Frame<br />

Remove lip<br />

ners of the panel<br />

to keep it from<br />

shifting as the<br />

adhesive cures.<br />

Face Frame<br />

FACE FRAMES.The next step is<br />

to add the thin, solid-wood cladding<br />

to the face frames. So where do you<br />

get thin wood? A quick and easy way<br />

is to make your own by resawing a<br />

thick board into two (or more) thin<br />

pieces (see Sidebar at right).<br />

When resawing, you’ll want to<br />

work with extra-long pieces that are<br />

ripped to final width. I ripped all<br />

the pieces to match the width of the<br />

rails and stiles on the face frames —<br />

with one exception. To cover the<br />

edge of the 1 /4" plywood end panels,<br />

I made the side stile near the exposed<br />

end of each cabinet 1 /4" wider.<br />

Keeping those things in mind,<br />

go ahead and prepare the pieces for<br />

resawing. Plan on making a few<br />

extras to allow for mistakes. Then<br />

resaw the stock and plane the<br />

cladding to its final thickness ( 1 /4").<br />

At this point, it’s time to attach<br />

the cladding to the face frame. I used<br />

simple butt joints where the end of<br />

one strip meets the adjoining piece.<br />

So to produce tight-fitting joints,<br />

it’s important that each piece of<br />

cladding is accurately cut to length.<br />

To accomplish that, follow the<br />

sequence in the Construction View,<br />

cutting each piece of cladding to fit.<br />

As you glue on each piece (I used<br />

yellow glue), make sure the clamping<br />

pressure is evenly distributed<br />

across the cladding (Fig. 3). To get<br />

more “reach,” remove the clamp pad<br />

from the inner jaw (Fig. 3a).<br />

SAND FLUSH. After gluing on<br />

the cladding, sand the faces flush<br />

with each other. A random-orbit<br />

sander makes quick work of this.<br />

1 2d Finish nail 2<br />

FIRST:<br />

Sand face<br />

frame and<br />

end of<br />

cabinet<br />

SECOND:<br />

Attach<br />

end panel<br />

Panel<br />

adhesive<br />

RESAWING ON THE TABLE SAW<br />

Resawing is cutting<br />

thin pieces of<br />

wood from a thick<br />

piece of stock. (In<br />

effect, ripping on<br />

edge.) A quick<br />

way to do this is<br />

on the table saw.<br />

Before you get<br />

Use masking<br />

tape to "clamp"<br />

outer edge<br />

of cladding<br />

WORKBENCH ■ FEBRUARY 2003 21<br />

End<br />

Panel<br />

Stile<br />

Cladding<br />

END VIEW<br />

Rip fence Raise blade just<br />

above center<br />

C L<br />

#/8"<br />

#/4"-thick<br />

Stock<br />

1!/2"<br />

&/8"<br />

started though, there are two<br />

safety precautions that are a<br />

“must.” First, to reduce the<br />

chance of kickback, use a “zeroclearance”<br />

insert with a splitter<br />

(see Photo above). Second, be<br />

sure to use a push block when making a cut.<br />

NLINE<br />

Zero-Clearance<br />

Table Saw Inserts<br />

WorkbenchMagazine.com<br />

When resawing, set the rip fence so you end up<br />

with slightly thicker workpieces than needed. That<br />

way you can sand or plane pieces to final thickness.<br />

To avoid bogging down the saw, I use a two-pass<br />

method. Start with the blade raised just over half the<br />

width of the piece (End View). Then make two passes<br />

at this setting, fipping the piece over between passes.<br />

Note: Always keep the same face against the fence.<br />

3<br />

a.<br />

Remove rubber pad<br />

from clamp for<br />

better reach


{ ThTo glue up<br />

a perfectly flat<br />

door, clamp a<br />

straight scrap<br />

of wood<br />

across each<br />

end. Use wax<br />

paper to<br />

avoid gluing<br />

the scrap to<br />

the door.<br />

Rail & Stile Detail<br />

Side Stile<br />

!/2"<br />

!/4"<br />

2"<br />

Top Rail<br />

Cut !/4" -wide groove,<br />

!/2" deep centered<br />

on inside edge<br />

Center Stile Detail<br />

!/2"<br />

!/4"<br />

Cut !/4" -wide<br />

grooves,<br />

!/2" deep<br />

in both<br />

d<br />

Door<br />

Frame<br />

#/4" -wide<br />

Rabbet,<br />

!/4" deep<br />

#/4"<br />

1!/2"<br />

!/2"<br />

2"<br />

Front of<br />

Door<br />

Tongue<br />

Door<br />

Panel<br />

!/2"<br />

Center<br />

Stile<br />

Door Panel Detail<br />

building solid-wood doors<br />

The cabinet doors for this kitchen<br />

facelift feature frame-and-panel,<br />

solid-wood construction. For ease<br />

of installation, I decided to make<br />

overlay doors, which means they lay<br />

on top of the face frames. The<br />

amount of overlay is 1 /2" on all sides,<br />

so the doors are 1" wider and taller<br />

than the openings in the face frame.<br />

Build the Frames<br />

The first step in building the doors<br />

is to make the frames that surround<br />

the solid-wood panels.<br />

As you can see in the Door<br />

Assembly illustration below, each<br />

frame consists of three vertical stiles<br />

(two sides and a center stile) and two<br />

horizontal rails. Note: For narrow<br />

doors (less than 12" wide), I left out<br />

the center stile.<br />

DOOR ASSEMBLY<br />

Stiles ands rails are<br />

assembled with stub<br />

tenon and groove joints<br />

Door Stile<br />

( #/4" x 2")<br />

NOTE:<br />

Make door panels<br />

by edge gluing<br />

!/2" -thick hardwood<br />

35mm Hole,<br />

!/2" deep<br />

110º -!/2" Overlay<br />

self-closing hinge<br />

Door<br />

Panel<br />

( !/2" x custom<br />

width and<br />

length)<br />

JOINERY.To simplify construction,<br />

the frames are assembled with<br />

stub tenon and groove joints. Both<br />

ends of each rail have a short tenon<br />

that fits into a groove in the stile (Rail<br />

& Stile Detail). And a tenon on each<br />

end of the center stile fits into grooves<br />

in the rails (Center Stile Detail).<br />

CONSTRUCTION. After taking<br />

the joinery into account,cut the rails<br />

and stiles to size from 3 /4"-thick hardwood.<br />

Be sure to label each piece to<br />

avoid getting them mixed up. Also,<br />

mark the outside face to use as a reference<br />

when machining the parts.<br />

CUT GROOVES. Now you’re<br />

ready to cut grooves in the rails and<br />

stiles.I mounted a 1 /4" dado blade in<br />

the table saw to do this (Fig. 4).For<br />

consistent results, run the outside face<br />

of each piece against the fence.<br />

Top Rail<br />

( #/4" x 2")<br />

Bottom Rail<br />

( #/4" x 2")<br />

Rabbet forms a tongue<br />

that fits into groove<br />

Center Stile<br />

( #/4" x 2")<br />

Height and width<br />

of finished doors<br />

is 1" larger than<br />

door opening<br />

22 WORKBENCH ■ FEBRUARY 2003<br />

Door<br />

Panel<br />

Pull<br />

Door Stile<br />

( #/4" x 2")<br />

NOTE:<br />

All rails and<br />

stiles are<br />

custom<br />

lengths


TIME FOR TENONS. The next<br />

step is to cut stub (short) tenons to<br />

fit the grooves.The tenons are 1 /2"<br />

long. So here again, I used a dado<br />

blade, setting it up to cut roughly<br />

5 /8" wide. To ensure consistentlength<br />

tenons, use an auxiliary fence<br />

as a stop and “bury” part of the blade<br />

in the fence (Figs. 5 and 5a).<br />

A handy way to establish the<br />

thickness of the tenons is to use one<br />

of the grooved pieces as a gauge for<br />

setting the blade height (Fig. 5b).<br />

Check the setup by making test cuts.<br />

Then cut tenons in the actual workpieces,<br />

using the miter gauge to<br />

guide each piece through the blade.<br />

Making two passes, one on each side,<br />

should result in a tenon that fits snug.<br />

Solid-Wood Panels<br />

With the door frames complete, it’s<br />

time to start on the solid-wood<br />

panels. Instead of going with a traditional<br />

raised-panel look, I wanted<br />

the door panels to be flat on the<br />

outside for a clean, simple look<br />

(Door Panel Detail).<br />

GLUE UP PANELS. The door<br />

panels are made by edge-gluing 1 /2"thick<br />

cherry. It’s best to start with<br />

panels that are about 2" larger than<br />

you need in length and width, then<br />

trim them to size after the glue-up.<br />

To determine the final size of the<br />

panels, dry assemble the frames,<br />

measure the openings, and then add<br />

7 /8". That’s 1 /8" less than the com-<br />

Fence<br />

#/4"<br />

#/4"<br />

!/4"<br />

!/2"<br />

Table saw<br />

a.<br />

Door Panel<br />

FIRST:<br />

Cut saw kerfs in<br />

panel (Fig. a)<br />

SECOND:<br />

Trim waste (Fig. 7)<br />

#/4"<br />

#/4"<br />

!/4" Dado<br />

blade<br />

bined depth of the grooves. When<br />

the door is assembled, this will allow<br />

the panel to expand and contract<br />

with changes in humidity.<br />

TONGUES. If you look at the<br />

Door Assembly illustration again, you<br />

can see there’s a tongue on all four<br />

edges of the door panel that fits into<br />

the grooves in the frame pieces.The<br />

tongue is formed by cutting a rabbet<br />

in the back of the door panel.<br />

To cut the rabbet, I used a twostep<br />

process on the table saw. First,<br />

with the panel lying flat,cut four shallow,<br />

crisscross kerfs (Figs. 6 and 6a).<br />

Second, stand the panel on edge and<br />

run it against a tall auxiliary fence to<br />

remove the remaining waste material,<br />

leaving a 1 /4"-thick tongue (Fig. 7).<br />

After sanding the tongues<br />

smooth, dry-clamp the doors to<br />

check for final fit before glue-up. If<br />

you plan to stain the doors, now is<br />

a good time to do it.This way, if the<br />

panel shrinks a bit, it won’t expose<br />

unstained wood.<br />

Tall auxiliary<br />

fence<br />

Door<br />

Panel<br />

Door Rails<br />

and Stiles<br />

Cut a !/4" -wide groove<br />

!/2" deep,<br />

centered on edge<br />

Raise saw blade<br />

#/4"above table<br />

Featherboard<br />

4 5<br />

%/8" Dado<br />

blade<br />

Auxiliary<br />

rip fence<br />

Door Rails and<br />

Center Stile<br />

Miter gauge<br />

fence<br />

FINAL ASSEMBLY.When assembling<br />

the doors, keep in mind that<br />

only the rails and stiles are glued<br />

together — the panels should “float”<br />

in the frames to allow for wood<br />

movement. Also, be sure the door is<br />

square and flat while the glue dries<br />

(see Photo on page 22).<br />

MOUNT DOORS. After removing<br />

the clamps and sanding the doors<br />

smooth, the next step is to drill two<br />

large holes in the back of each door<br />

to hold the hinges (Fig. 8). This<br />

requires a 35mm drill bit that’s<br />

designed for just this purpose.<br />

Finally, after staining and finishing<br />

the doors, I installed the hinges<br />

and mounted the doors to the cabinets,<br />

using the alignment tip shown<br />

in the margin.<br />

Drill a<br />

35mm<br />

hole,<br />

!/2" deep<br />

for hinge<br />

WORKBENCH ■ FEBRUARY 2003 23<br />

Fence<br />

Auxiliary<br />

fence<br />

6 7 8<br />

!/2"<br />

3!/2"<br />

a.<br />

!#/16"<br />

Stop block<br />

Door (facedown)<br />

Set height of dado<br />

blade to match groove<br />

b.<br />

{ ThTo ensure<br />

that all the<br />

doors align,<br />

set each one<br />

on an L-shaped<br />

block that’s<br />

clamped to<br />

the face frame.<br />

Then screw<br />

the hinges to<br />

the cabinet.


{ This easy-to-build, elegant display door is<br />

made using simple techniques that can be<br />

applied to any kitchen remodeling project.<br />

a.<br />

Door<br />

Frame<br />

Silicone<br />

sealant<br />

Rout a !/2" -wide<br />

rabbet, !/2" deep<br />

a.<br />

Glass<br />

Divider<br />

Door Frame Detail<br />

Remove back<br />

lip of groove to<br />

form a rabbet<br />

Rabbet<br />

to fit recess<br />

in back of<br />

door frame<br />

Rabbet Detail<br />

Assembled<br />

Door Frame<br />

Door<br />

Frame<br />

Divider<br />

display doors & dividers<br />

As an option, you may want to<br />

make glass display doors for your<br />

kitchen cabinets. By installing a<br />

wood divider and a piece of glass in<br />

the door frame, it’s easy to convert<br />

a kitchen cabinet into an elegant<br />

display case (Photo at left).<br />

Frame First<br />

The frame for the display doors is<br />

similar to the other doors. It’s an<br />

overlay door that’s 1" larger than the<br />

cabinet opening. Here again, it’s<br />

assembled with stub tenon and<br />

groove joints (Display Door Assembly).<br />

Of course, the thing that’s different<br />

about this frame is it’s assembled<br />

without a solid-wood panel.What’s<br />

not so obvious is how the wood<br />

divider and the glass fit into the<br />

grooves in the frame.The answer is,<br />

they don’t. Let me explain.<br />

DISPLAY DOOR ASSEMBLY<br />

Divider<br />

Rabbet all<br />

four edges of<br />

divider<br />

Double-strength glass<br />

(cut to fit inside rabbet<br />

in door frame)<br />

110º -!/2" Overlay<br />

self-closing hinge<br />

35mm Hole, !/2" deep<br />

In order to insert the divider and<br />

the glass in the frame, the back lip of<br />

the groove must be removed. This<br />

forms a large rabbet in the back of<br />

the door frame that holds the divider<br />

and glass (Door Frame Detail).<br />

RABBET THE BACK. An easy<br />

way to trim off the back lip is to lay<br />

the frame face down on a bench and<br />

use a hand-held router with a rabbet<br />

bit (Rabbet Detail).Just a word of caution<br />

here.The lip is fairly thin,which<br />

could cause it to split as you’re routing.To<br />

avoid that, make a couple of<br />

light passes,routing from left to right.<br />

Then,with the bearing riding against<br />

the lower lip, make a full-depth cut.<br />

The bit will leave rounded corners,<br />

which are easily squared up<br />

with a chisel.This is also a good time<br />

to drill holes for the hinge cups,using<br />

the same method shown on page 23.<br />

NOTE:<br />

Arrange muntins to form<br />

four square openings<br />

24 WORKBENCH ■ FEBRUARY 2003<br />

2"<br />

Top Rail<br />

( #/4" x 2")<br />

Stiles and rails are<br />

assembled with stub<br />

tenon and groove joints<br />

(see page 22)<br />

Door Stile<br />

( #/4" x 2")<br />

STEP 1:<br />

Assemble door frame<br />

without center panel<br />

STEP 2:<br />

Rout a rabbet around<br />

back side of door<br />

(see Rabbet Detail)<br />

Bottom Rail<br />

( #/4" x 2")<br />

2"


Simple Division<br />

Once the frame is complete, the next<br />

step is to build the wood divider<br />

that creates what appears to be the<br />

individual panes of glass.The divider<br />

is made up of narrow strips of hardwood<br />

that are assembled with halflap<br />

joints (Divider Assembly).<br />

SUB-FRAME & MUNTINS.As<br />

you can see, the divider consists of a<br />

rectangular sub-frame and several<br />

individual muntins (a fancy word<br />

for window dividers). All of the<br />

pieces for the sub-frame and muntins<br />

are made from 3 /8"-thick hardwood.<br />

Although their thickness is identical,<br />

the width of these pieces is different.The<br />

rails and stiles of the subframe<br />

are 1" wide while the muntins<br />

are only 1 /2" wide.<br />

To understand the reason for the<br />

different widths, take a look at the<br />

Door Frame Detail on page 24.Notice<br />

that the divider is rabbeted to fit into<br />

the rabbet in the back of the door<br />

frame.This accomplishes two things.<br />

First,it positions the divider closer to<br />

the front face of the door frame.<br />

Second,since the wider pieces of the<br />

sub-frame are partially concealed<br />

behind the door frame,they will ultimately<br />

appear to be the same width<br />

as the muntins ( 1 /2").<br />

CONSTRUCTION. Once you<br />

understand how the divider goes<br />

together, construction should go<br />

fairly quickly. Start by planing the<br />

stock for the rails, stiles, and muntins<br />

to thickness. Then simply rip the<br />

pieces to width on the table saw.<br />

To determine the length of these<br />

pieces, measure the shoulder-toshoulder<br />

distance of the rabbets in<br />

the back of the door frame. Then<br />

cut the rails and stiles of the subframe<br />

and the long vertical and horizontal<br />

muntins to match.As for the<br />

short muntins, I wanted them to<br />

form four square openings at the top<br />

of the divider,so I cut them to length<br />

accordingly (Display Door Assembly).<br />

HALF-LAPS. Once the pieces are<br />

cut to length,you can lay out and cut<br />

the half-laps.To get consistent results,<br />

I used a simple jig that attaches to the<br />

miter gauge on the table saw. (For<br />

more on this, see page 60.)<br />

WORKBENCH ■ FEBRUARY 2003<br />

ASSEMBLY. Now it’s just a matter<br />

of gluing and clamping the<br />

divider together, as shown in Steps 1<br />

and 2 in the Divider Assembly below.<br />

CUT RABBET.After sanding the<br />

divider smooth, it’s time to cut the<br />

rabbet in the front face of the divider<br />

that I mentioned earlier. Here again,<br />

a handheld router with a rabbet bit<br />

makes quick work of this task (Figs.<br />

9 and 9a).<br />

FINAL DETAILS. At this point,<br />

you’re almost ready to install the<br />

divider in the door frame. But first,<br />

you’ll need to have a piece of glass<br />

cut to fit into the rabbeted opening<br />

in the back of the frame. (I bought<br />

double-strength glass.) To allow for<br />

wood movement, it should be 1 /8"<br />

smaller in length and width than the<br />

opening in the door frame.<br />

To install the glass, lay the door<br />

frame face down on a padded surface.<br />

Then fit the divider and glass<br />

into the rabbet. To hold them in<br />

DIVIDER ASSEMBLY<br />

!/2" -wide Half-laps,<br />

#/16"<br />

deep<br />

!/2" -wide<br />

Half-lap,<br />

#/16"<br />

deep<br />

STEP 1<br />

Assemble sub-frame<br />

1"<br />

Sub-Frame<br />

Top Rail<br />

( #/8" x 1")<br />

NOTE:<br />

Layout half-laps<br />

to form equal size<br />

openings in divider<br />

Sub-Frame Stiles<br />

( #/8" x 1")<br />

1"<br />

Half-laps<br />

Sub-Frame<br />

Bottom Rail<br />

( #/8" x 1")<br />

place, apply a small bead of clear silicone<br />

sealant around all four edges<br />

(Door Frame Detail). Be sure that the<br />

sealant is forced down into the small<br />

gap between the edge of the glass<br />

and the door frame. Let the door<br />

and glass sit until the sealant cures<br />

fully, usually at least 24 hours.<br />

1" -wide<br />

Half-laps,<br />

#/16" deep<br />

NOTE:<br />

For information on cutting<br />

half-laps, see page 60<br />

!/2"<br />

a.<br />

!/8"<br />

STEP 2<br />

Glue muntins to sub-frame<br />

!/2"<br />

!/2" -wide<br />

Half-laps,<br />

#/16"<br />

deep<br />

Muntin<br />

( #/8" x !/2" )<br />

!/2"Rabbet<br />

bit<br />

Rout a rabbet in<br />

front face of<br />

divider<br />

Divider !/2"<br />

Muntins<br />

( #/8" x !/2" )<br />

Divider<br />

Sub-Frame<br />

9<br />

25


{ TTTo align the<br />

false fronts,<br />

temporarily<br />

screw them to<br />

the drawers.<br />

Then simply<br />

open the<br />

drawer and<br />

install permanent<br />

screws.<br />

TRIMMING OFF DRAWER FRONTS<br />

STEP 1:<br />

Trim drawer<br />

front flush with<br />

drawer sides<br />

Drawer<br />

Side<br />

Drill !/4" holes,<br />

1&/16" deep<br />

(see Photo on page 27)<br />

Existing<br />

Drawer Front<br />

Drawer<br />

Front<br />

!/4" Dowels,<br />

1!/2" long<br />

Miter gauge<br />

fence<br />

Existing Drawer<br />

!/2"<br />

NOTE:<br />

Make false drawer fronts 1"<br />

larger than face frame opening<br />

adding new drawer fronts<br />

Building all new drawers for an entire<br />

kitchen can be expensive and time<br />

consuming. Fortunately, I didn’t<br />

have to build new drawers — I just<br />

reused the old drawers and installed<br />

new false fronts, as shown at left.<br />

The type of drawers you have<br />

determines how to replace the drawer<br />

fronts. Some drawers already have a<br />

separate false front mounted to the<br />

drawer box. In that case, just replace<br />

the old false fronts with new ones.<br />

But if the drawer front is an integral<br />

part of the box like mine,it’s a bit<br />

Remove existing<br />

drawer front<br />

(see Illustrations below)<br />

STEP 2:<br />

Trim drawer front flush with<br />

ends of the drawer sides<br />

Drawer<br />

Front<br />

Drawer<br />

Front<br />

Drawer pull<br />

machine screws<br />

Drawer Side<br />

Drawer<br />

Side<br />

New Drawer Front<br />

( !/2" -thick, cut to fit)<br />

Rip fence<br />

more involved.The old drawer front<br />

has to be trimmed off and then<br />

replaced with a new one (Construction<br />

View below).Then a new false front<br />

is added to the drawer box.<br />

REMOVE FRONTS. To remove<br />

the old drawer fronts, start by taking<br />

off the slides and pulls.Then use the<br />

table saw to trim off the front, following<br />

the three-step process shown<br />

in the illustrations below.<br />

ADD NEW FRONT. The next<br />

step is to add the new drawer front.<br />

This is a piece of 1 /2"-thick hard-<br />

CONSTRUCTION VIEW<br />

#8 x 1" Rh Woodscrew<br />

!/2" Clearance holes<br />

for machine screws<br />

Drawer Pull<br />

Drawer<br />

Bottom<br />

Miter gauge<br />

fence<br />

26 WORKBENCH ■ FEBRUARY 2003<br />

!/8" Hole<br />

STEP 3:<br />

Trim drawer bottom<br />

flush with ends of<br />

drawer sides<br />

Drawer<br />

Side<br />

%/32"<br />

Mounting<br />

hole<br />

New False<br />

Drawer Front<br />

( #/4" -thick x custom<br />

width and length)


wood cut to fit between the drawer<br />

sides.To make it easy to attach the<br />

false front later, drill a couple of<br />

mounting holes now.Then glue and<br />

clamp the front flush with the ends<br />

of the drawer sides.<br />

DOWELS.To strengthen the connection,<br />

I used 1 /4" dowels to “pin”<br />

the joints.This requires drilling holes<br />

through the drawer sides into the<br />

front. To drill these holes quickly<br />

and accurately, I used the drill-press<br />

setup shown in the Photo at right.<br />

Notice that a fence and stop block<br />

are used to position the drawer. I<br />

also used four spacer blocks to index<br />

the location of the dowel holes.To<br />

accomplish this, set the drawer<br />

against the spacer blocks and drill<br />

the first hole.Then remove a spacer<br />

and drill the second hole. Continue<br />

like this until the box is against the<br />

fence and then drill the last hole.<br />

After drilling the holes, glue in<br />

the dowels. They’ll stand a bit<br />

“proud” at this point, so after the<br />

glue dries, just sand the ends smooth.<br />

We chose a dishwasher for this project<br />

that’s designed to accept a shop-made,<br />

front panel (a fully-integrated dishwasher).<br />

Most diswashers like this use a large<br />

plywood door panel. But to tie the<br />

kitchen together, I made a panel that<br />

appears to be a bank of four drawers.<br />

This panel starts out as four drawer<br />

faces made from 3 /4"-thick hardwood<br />

(Illustration at right). To create a gap<br />

between the “drawers,”the faces are rab-<br />

FINISH & INSTALLATION.<br />

You’ll want to apply a finish on the<br />

ends of the dowels, as well as the<br />

drawer front. Then reattach the<br />

drawer slides and install the drawers.<br />

Adding the False Fronts<br />

All that’s left to complete this kitchen<br />

facelift is to add the false fronts.<br />

Like the doors, the false fronts<br />

are made from 3 /4"-thick hardwood.<br />

Here again, they’re 1" larger than<br />

the opening in the face frame.<br />

Design Note: If a drawer is directly<br />

above a door, it’s more important to<br />

match their widths since even a small<br />

difference is quite noticeable.<br />

ATTACH FALSE FRONTS.After<br />

cutting the false fronts to size, the<br />

final step is to attach them to the<br />

drawers.To ensure proper alignment,<br />

I used an old trick here.<br />

Start by drilling mounting holes<br />

for the drawer pulls in the false front.<br />

Then hold the false front in position<br />

and temporarily install screws<br />

through the mounting holes to<br />

beted on the top and bottom<br />

edges to hold 3 /8"-thick hardwood<br />

spacers. Note: To make<br />

the drawer spacing work out, I<br />

also added a spacer strip at the top<br />

to reach the top of the dishwasher<br />

door (Side View Detail).<br />

After gluing the spacers to the<br />

drawer faces to form the panel, it’s<br />

screwed to a metal mounting panel<br />

that’s supplied with the dishwasher.<br />

attach it to the drawer (Photo on page<br />

26). Next, open the drawer and<br />

screw it to the false front from the<br />

back. Now remove the temporary<br />

screws and drill the mounting holes<br />

for the pulls all the way through the<br />

drawer with an 1 /8" bit. Finally, using<br />

the points where the tip of the bit<br />

breaks through as centerpoints, drill<br />

1 /2" clearance holes for the machine<br />

screws used to mount the pulls.<br />

custom dishwasher panels<br />

Pull<br />

Side View Detail<br />

Drawer<br />

Face<br />

Spacer<br />

Mounting Panel<br />

Dishwasher<br />

Door<br />

NOTE:<br />

Glue drawer fronts<br />

and spacers together,<br />

and install drawer pulls<br />

before attaching<br />

to dishwasher<br />

Dishwasher Door<br />

Drawer<br />

Faces<br />

( #/4" x 6")<br />

Mounting Screws<br />

(supplied)<br />

Upper Spacer<br />

( #/8" x 1")<br />

Metal<br />

Mounting<br />

Panel (supplied)<br />

Drawer<br />

Spacers<br />

( #/8" x 1 !/2" )<br />

Cut !/2" -wide<br />

rabbets, #/8" deep<br />

{ TA set of<br />

1 /2"-thick<br />

spacer blocks<br />

makes it easy<br />

to index the<br />

holes for the<br />

1 /4" dowels.<br />

Lower Drawer Face<br />

( #/4" -thick,<br />

height custom fit)<br />

WORKBENCH ■ FEBRUARY 2003 27<br />

Drawer<br />

Pull<br />

Drawer<br />

Side<br />

New<br />

Drawer<br />

Front<br />

!/8" Mounting hole<br />

(drill !/2" counterbore,<br />

!/4" deep on back)<br />

!/2"-thick Spacer<br />

Blocks<br />

Use tape as<br />

depth stop<br />

Stop Block<br />

Fence


28<br />

BACKYARD RETREAT<br />

B. Stainless<br />

Steel Sink<br />

> Also, be sure<br />

to check out our<br />

special technique<br />

for installing a<br />

stainless steel<br />

sink underneath<br />

a countertop.<br />

C. Granite<br />

Countertops<br />

>: At last — a<br />

tile countertop<br />

that won’t stain.<br />

Learn the secret<br />

as we install<br />

granite tile<br />

countertops.<br />

D. Built-In<br />

Appliances<br />

> A built-in<br />

oven, cooktop,<br />

and a vent<br />

hood that<br />

“disappears”<br />

is a combo<br />

that’s sure to<br />

improve your<br />

kitchen.<br />

buyer's guide<br />

Appliances<br />

<strong>Kitchen</strong>Aid<br />

• Dishwasher (KUDS01FKPA)<br />

Cooktop (KECC508GBT)<br />

Vent (KWVU205YBA)<br />

Oven (KEBC107KSS)<br />

Refrigerator (KTRC22EKSS)<br />

www.<strong>Kitchen</strong>Aid.com<br />

Coming Next Issue . . .<br />

A. Accent Lighting<br />

> In the April 2003<br />

issue of Workbench, we’ll<br />

show you how to install<br />

low-voltage halogen<br />

lighting — a simple way<br />

to create dramatic<br />

accents in your kitchen.<br />

C<br />

Handles & Pulls<br />

Amerock<br />

Inspiration Series<br />

Drawer pulls (1592-WID)<br />

Door pulls (1583-WID)<br />

www.Amerock.com<br />

A<br />

B<br />

Hinges<br />

Blum<br />

Compact Series 33<br />

110 0 - 1 /2" Overlay<br />

Self-Closing Hinges<br />

www.Blum.com<br />

D


BACKYARD RETREAT KITCHEN<br />

MAKEOVER<br />

Yes, you can create your own custom kitchen — just use the ideas in this<br />

second part of our kitchen makeover to cook up a plan of your own.<br />

S<br />

hortly after we completed<br />

this kitchen<br />

remodeling project, I<br />

asked the homeowners<br />

what they liked best about it.<br />

CABINET FACELIFT.At the top<br />

of their list were the kitchen cabinets.<br />

Instead of buying new cabinets,<br />

we refaced the existing cabinets<br />

by applying thin strips of cherry and<br />

then building new doors and drawer<br />

fronts. (To learn more about refacing<br />

cabinets, refer to the first part of<br />

this kitchen makeover in the<br />

February 2003 issue of Workbench.)<br />

GRANITE COUNTERS. The<br />

new counters were high on their<br />

list, too. For these, we considered the<br />

usual materials — plastic laminate,<br />

ceramic tile, and wood. But the<br />

homeowners wanted a more durable<br />

material. So we decided on an<br />

extremely hard material that’s virtually<br />

impossible to scratch — granite.<br />

Now, I’m not talking about huge<br />

slabs of rock. Instead, to simplify the<br />

installation, the counters are made<br />

up of 12" x 12" granite tiles. As you<br />

can see in the Photo above, we used<br />

polished black granite tiles to contrast<br />

with the cherry cabinets.A dark-colored<br />

grout makes the joint lines virtually<br />

disappear. It’s a non-porous<br />

epoxy grout that won’t stain or harbor<br />

bacteria — just the ticket when<br />

you’re baking or preparing meals.<br />

SLATE BACKSPLASH. In addition<br />

to the granite counter, we<br />

installed a backsplash made of slate.<br />

Here again, using tiles makes this an<br />

easy job. Notice the subtle contrast<br />

between these gray slate tiles and the<br />

granite counter.Also, a narrow band<br />

of black granite tiles creates a decorative<br />

accent in the backsplash.<br />

28 WORKBENCH ■ APRIL 2003


COST. All of this sounds great,<br />

but isn’t it expensive? For the granite<br />

counter, slate backsplash, and all<br />

the grout supplies, we paid about<br />

$32.50 a linear foot. It’s a bit pricey,<br />

but the results are definitely worth it.<br />

APPLIANCE UPGRADES. The<br />

homeowners also gave a thumbsup<br />

for all the new appliance<br />

upgrades. More to the point, it was<br />

how they improved both the function<br />

and style of the kitchen.<br />

Our part in this process was to<br />

incorporate these new upgrades into<br />

the overall design of the kitchen.<br />

Take the sink for instance. It’s a<br />

stainless steel sink that’s designed to<br />

be surface-mounted (with the rim<br />

on top of the counter). But to create<br />

a more streamlined appearance, we<br />

came up with a unique under-counter<br />

method of installing the sink.<br />

In addition, we replaced the old<br />

slide-out range with a built-in oven<br />

and an in-counter cooktop. Be sure<br />

to check out how the vent for the<br />

cooktop is disguised with an oldfashioned<br />

chalkboard.And there’s a<br />

low-voltage lighting system that’s<br />

literally a “snap” to install.<br />

*Projects that appear in<br />

February 2003 Issue<br />

of Workbench<br />

{ The first part of our kitchen makeover features<br />

plans on how to reface your existing cabinets. (See<br />

Feb. 2003 Workbench or Online Extras above.)<br />

WORKBENCH ■ APRIL 2003 29


{ No need to hire a professional to install this<br />

upscale granite counter and slate backsplash.<br />

Using stone tiles makes it a do-it-yourself project.<br />

CONSTRUCTION VIEW<br />

great-looking<br />

GRANITE COUNTERS<br />

Besides the fact this granite counter<br />

provides a hard,durable worksurface,<br />

it looks great,too.And since it’s made<br />

with tiles,it’s a very “do-able”project.<br />

We used polished black granite tiles<br />

for the counter and gray slate tiles<br />

for the backsplash. (This type of tile<br />

is available at most tile supply stores.)<br />

A Solid Substrate<br />

A long-lasting counter depends on<br />

a solid substrate.To accomplish that,<br />

I used two layers of material for the<br />

substrate: 3 /4" exterior plywood and<br />

1 /4" cementboard ( Construction View).<br />

PLYWOOD.The kitchen cabinets<br />

are 24" deep,so I ripped full sheets of<br />

plywood in half and positioned them<br />

to create a 1 /4" overhang (Counter<br />

Assembly).This leaves 1 /4" gap at the<br />

wall,but it’s covered by cementboard.<br />

Also, to provide extra rigidity,<br />

locate any end joints in an area<br />

where there’s room for a wood cleat<br />

underneath. After attaching the cleats<br />

with glue and screws, check that the<br />

plywood is level, shimming if necessary.<br />

Then fasten it from underneath<br />

with screws installed through<br />

corner blocks in the cabinets.<br />

With the plywood in place, now<br />

is the time to cut the openings for the<br />

sink and cooktop.<br />

CEMENTBOARD. To provide a<br />

stable base for the tiles, the next step<br />

is to add the cementboard. Notice<br />

that it’s flush with the front edge of<br />

the plywood.To add rigidity to the<br />

substrate, size the pieces so the joints<br />

are offset from the plywood joints.<br />

Here again, you’ll need to create<br />

openings for the sink and cooktop. To<br />

do this, set the cementboard in place<br />

and then mark the openings from<br />

underneath. If you plan to use our<br />

method for an undermount sink,off-<br />

Counter Corner Detail<br />

Note: Set corner of first tile<br />

at intersection of layout lines<br />

TOP VIEW<br />

Lay out lines that<br />

align with front edges<br />

of the counter<br />

30 WORKBENCH ■ APRIL 2003<br />

Counter


set the cementboard from the opening<br />

(see Sink Installation on page 32).<br />

To install the cementboard, apply<br />

thinset adhesive to the plywood.Then<br />

fasten it with cementboard screws,<br />

making sure the screw heads are<br />

slightly below the surface. Since we<br />

installed tile for the backsplash,I covered<br />

the wall with cementboard,too.<br />

Note: If you plan to install an<br />

undermount sink, do that now,before<br />

laying the granite tiles (see page 32).<br />

Tips for Tile<br />

Now it’s time to install the tiles.The<br />

key to success here is a careful layout<br />

and a “dry-installation” of all the<br />

tiles before spreading any adhesive.<br />

LAYOUT. To establish the location<br />

of the first tile,I marked two lines<br />

that extended along the front edge of<br />

each “leg” of the counter (Corner<br />

Detail). Set the first tile in place without<br />

any adhesive at the intersection<br />

of these lines.Then dry-fit the rest of<br />

the tiles, working your way out.<br />

The tiles around the openings for<br />

the sink and cooktop will need to be<br />

COUNTER ASSEMBLY<br />

cut to fit.A rented “wet” saw makes<br />

this an easy job.To produce a symmetrical<br />

appearance, I cut the tiles on<br />

each side of the opening to the same<br />

width (see page 32). I also sanded a<br />

bevel on the cut edge to create a<br />

finished appearance (page 80).<br />

INSTALL TILES.Once you’re satisfied<br />

with how the tiles are fitting,<br />

the actual installation should go<br />

smoothly. They’re glued on with a<br />

thinset adhesive for natural stone (I<br />

used a polyurethane blend).Working<br />

a few square feet at a time, apply the<br />

adhesive with a notched trowel, and<br />

then wiggle the tiles into place.<br />

BACKSPLASH.After the adhesive<br />

sets,you can turn your attention to the<br />

slate backsplash.It has a narrow band<br />

of granite “accent”tiles that are sandwiched<br />

between rows of slate tiles.<br />

For appearance, the tiles in the lower<br />

row are cut into quarters, and we<br />

installed full-size tiles above.<br />

Since the accent tiles attract a lot<br />

of attention, I wanted to be sure they<br />

were perfectly straight. So I screwed<br />

a temporary wood support to the<br />

Profile Detail Edge Detail<br />

wall and used it to align the tiles<br />

(Backsplash Assembly).Also, to emphasize<br />

the accent tiles, I wanted them<br />

to sit “proud”of the surrounding slate<br />

tiles. To accomplish that, I screwed a<br />

1 /4" plywood filler strip to the wall<br />

and then glued the tiles to it.<br />

Solid-Wood Edging<br />

After completing the tile installation,<br />

and before grouting, I added wood<br />

edging to the front of the counter.<br />

The edging is 1 1 /2"-thick hardwood<br />

(cherry) that’s ripped to a<br />

width of 1 1 /2".To create a decorative<br />

profile, I routed the top and bottom<br />

edges (Profile Detail).Then I attached<br />

the edging with glue, screws, and<br />

wood plugs (Edging Detail).<br />

Finally, to provide a durable finish<br />

that resists wear and moisture, I<br />

brushed on three coats of polyurethane,<br />

sanding between each coat.<br />

BACKSPLASH<br />

ASSEMBLY<br />

{ Use a metal<br />

straightedge<br />

for alignment<br />

as you dry<br />

assemble the<br />

tiles for the<br />

backsplash.<br />

WORKBENCH ■ APRIL 2003 31


{ An undermount stainless steel<br />

sink provides an attractive, yet<br />

extremely practical, installation.<br />

{ This waterproof sealant and<br />

adhesive is available at many<br />

boat stores. Or, order it from<br />

West Marine: 800-262-8464<br />

SINK INSTALLATION<br />

32<br />

secrets to installing an<br />

UNDERMOUNT SINK<br />

It’s easy to overlook the thing that’s special about<br />

this sink — a unique method of installation<br />

that ensures a permanent, watertight seal.<br />

But before I get to that, take a look at the<br />

photo at left.As you can see, the stainless steel<br />

sink is mounted underneath the counter, so the<br />

rim of the sink isn’t visible. This produces a<br />

cleaner appearance than a surface-mounted sink<br />

(where the rim sits on top of the counter).Plus,<br />

it lets water run off the counter into the sink.<br />

Okay, but how do you prevent water from<br />

seeping under the granite tiles and damaging<br />

the counter? That’s where our special installation<br />

method comes in (Sink Rim Detail).<br />

Notice that the rim of the sink rests on a set<br />

of stainless steel leveling screws installed in the<br />

lip of the counter. (As you recall, this lip was<br />

formed earlier by setting the cementboard in<br />

from the sink opening.) A special sealant and<br />

adhesive (shown at left) totally encases the metal<br />

rim of the sink. The result is a permanent,<br />

absolutely waterproof installation.<br />

ADD LEVELING SCREWS. The first step<br />

is to install 10 leveling screws —two near each<br />

a.<br />

corner of the sink opening and a single screw<br />

near the front and back edge (Sink Installation).<br />

The idea is to adjust the height of the screws<br />

so there will be a gap above and below the<br />

sink rim. By filling these gaps with the sealant,<br />

it will ensure a waterproof bond.<br />

To prevent the sink from rocking,it’s important<br />

that the leveling screws are the same height.<br />

An easy way to do that is to use a combination<br />

square as a gauge and then “tweak” the screws<br />

to the correct height (Detail a).<br />

INSTALL SINK.Now you’re ready to install<br />

the sink.Since the sealant is kind of messy,start<br />

by taping all around the opening, leaving only<br />

the lip of the counter exposed.<br />

Next,apply a thick bead of sealant all around<br />

the lip and leveling screws.Then lower the sink<br />

into the opening so it rests on the screws.Add<br />

weight to hold it in place and then clean up any<br />

sealant that squeezes out.<br />

After letting the sealant cure at least 24<br />

hours, go ahead and lay tiles around the sink,<br />

as shown below.Then caulk the gap between<br />

the tile and sink,using the same sealant as before.<br />

Faucet Detail<br />

Sink Rim Detail<br />

WORKBENCH ■ APRIL 2003


the abc’s of<br />

EPOXY GROUT<br />

We used a special epoxy grout on the<br />

granite tile counters in this kitchen.<br />

Unlike cement-based grouts, this<br />

type of grout won’t stain, it’s easy to<br />

clean, and it doesn’t harbor bacteria.<br />

The grout comes in a kit with<br />

three packages labeled A, B, and C<br />

(Epoxy Grout Supplies). The packages<br />

are mixed together to make a syrupy<br />

liquid about the consistency of honey.<br />

Because of this, the grout is a bit<br />

messy to work with. So be sure to<br />

mask the edging on the counter.<br />

Cover the sink with cardboard and<br />

tape the edges down.I also used tape<br />

to make a “dam”across the open-ended<br />

joints to keep grout from running<br />

out,(see Construction View on page 30).<br />

Before you get started, clean the<br />

tiles and joint lines.Also, be sure to<br />

allow enough time to complete the<br />

job (about six hours in my case).<br />

1 2<br />

{ After mixing parts A & B for<br />

two to three minutes, slowly stir<br />

in the coloring agent (part C).<br />

3<br />

{ Now flood the tile with water<br />

and scrub the grout off the surface<br />

with a nylon pad (Inset).<br />

MIXING. Now you’re ready to<br />

mix the grout. Start by pouring the<br />

resin (Package A) and hardener (B)<br />

into a plastic bowl. To ensure that<br />

the ingredients are thoroughly mixed,<br />

use a flat stick to scrape the sides of<br />

the bowl. Then add the coloring<br />

agent (C), as shown in Figure 1<br />

below. I used dark gray so the grout<br />

lines would be as inconspicuous as<br />

possible against the black granite.<br />

As soon as the grout is mixed,pour<br />

the entire batch out onto the tile.This<br />

will slow down the curing process,<br />

providing you more working time.<br />

APPLY GROUT.Next,spread the<br />

soupy mix around with a rubber<br />

grout float. Hold the float at a shallow<br />

angle (Fig. 2), pressing the grout<br />

down into the joints. Scrape off the<br />

excess grout into a plywood tray, as<br />

shown above. You can reuse the<br />

{ Next, pour the grout onto the<br />

tile, then use a firm rubber grout<br />

float to work it into the joints.<br />

4<br />

{ Remove excess water by<br />

dragging a towel lightly across<br />

the tile. Rinse towel often.<br />

grout. Also, set some aside in case<br />

some of the joints need a little extra.<br />

WATER CLEAN-UP. After<br />

allowing the grout to set up for<br />

about 30 minutes, clean the surface<br />

of the tiles with water and a nylon<br />

pad (Fig. 3).Then remove the excess<br />

water (Fig. 4), let the grout set up<br />

for at least three hours, and clean<br />

the tile lightly with soapy water.<br />

Clean-up Tip<br />

If the counter has<br />

a hazy film the<br />

next day, use a<br />

citrus-based hand<br />

cleaner and a<br />

plastic dish pad<br />

to polish the tiles<br />

to a mirror finish.<br />

Follow up with<br />

soap and water.<br />

{ Working<br />

diagonally<br />

across the<br />

joints, hold the<br />

float at a 90°<br />

angle and<br />

scrape off the<br />

excess grout.<br />

epoxy grout<br />

supplies<br />

Epoxy grout<br />

comes in a kit that<br />

includes the resin<br />

(Part A), hardener<br />

(Part B), and a<br />

coloring agent<br />

(Part C). The kit<br />

also has rubber<br />

gloves and a<br />

white nylon<br />

cleaning pad.<br />

WORKBENCH ■ APRIL 2003 33


SIDE<br />

VIEW<br />

FRONT<br />

VIEW<br />

Support Detail<br />

Mounting Detail<br />

{ Replacing the range (left)<br />

with a built-in oven and a<br />

counter cooktop adds function<br />

and style to this kitchen.<br />

custom kitchenworks<br />

BUILT-IN APPLIANCES<br />

The homeowners did all the footwork<br />

when it came to researching<br />

and buying new appliances. Our job<br />

was to give them a custom touch (see<br />

Photos at left and on page 35).<br />

A “Disappearing” Vent<br />

We installed the vent first.This particular<br />

unit lets you pull out the vent<br />

hood to exhaust steam or cooking<br />

odors, then slide it back in when<br />

you’re done. This disappearing act<br />

makes for a clean looking installation.As<br />

a side benefit, a light switches<br />

on to illuminate the cooktop when<br />

you pull out the vent hood.<br />

The blower for the vent fits into<br />

an opening cut in the bottom of the<br />

upper cabinet. There was just one<br />

problem. Our cabinet was only 18"<br />

tall — too far above the cooktop for<br />

the blower to be effective.<br />

SUPPORT. The solution was to<br />

build a simple support for the blower<br />

that mounts below the upper cabinet.<br />

As you can see in the Vent Installation<br />

Drawing below,the support consists of<br />

a pair of L-shaped brackets and a front<br />

piece that spans the opening between<br />

the two flanking cabinets.Notice that<br />

the front also doubles as a mounting<br />

surface for a chalkboard.<br />

Each bracket consists of two<br />

pieces: a plywood end (A) that<br />

attaches to the cabinet and a hardwood<br />

cleat (B) that forms a lip used<br />

to secure the blower (Mounting<br />

Detail).After gluing and screwing the<br />

VENT INSTALLATION<br />

34 WORKBENCH ■ APRIL 2003


ackets together, fasten them to the<br />

cabinets with screws. Then cut the<br />

front piece (C) to fit the opening<br />

and screw it to the brackets.<br />

Note: The blower is installed as<br />

shown in the Mounting Detail on page<br />

34. But in order to provide access<br />

when working on the message center,<br />

I did this after it was completed.<br />

Message Center<br />

Before installing the blower, I added<br />

the message center. It’s made up of<br />

two pieces: a chalkboard for jotting<br />

notes and a hardwood tray (D) to<br />

hold the chalk. I bought an inexpensive<br />

chalkboard at a stationery<br />

store and cut it to size with a table saw.<br />

As you can see in the Support<br />

Detail on page 34, the chalkboard<br />

fits into a rabbet that’s cut in the<br />

back edge of the tray.To hold chalk,<br />

I also routed a long groove in the<br />

tray with a core box bit.The tray is<br />

glued and screwed to the front of<br />

BUILT-IN OVEN & COOKTOP<br />

NOTE: All parts of<br />

mounting frame are made<br />

from #/4"-thick hardwood<br />

the support. As for the chalkboard,<br />

construction adhesive will hold it<br />

securely in place.<br />

Built-In Oven & Cooktop<br />

Installing the built-in oven and<br />

cooktop was next on the list. But<br />

first, a bit of information about the<br />

planning that went on beforehand.<br />

PLANNING.First of all,we didn’t<br />

want to replace or rebuild the base<br />

cabinets, so we chose an oven that fit<br />

into the existing 30"-wide space.<br />

Also, make sure the cooktop you<br />

purchase will fit above the oven.<br />

Finally, a word about electrical<br />

power. Our oven required its own<br />

circuit breaker, separate from the<br />

cooktop. So here again, we had an<br />

electrician install a junction box for<br />

each appliance.<br />

INSTALL COOKTOP.To install<br />

the cooktop, all that’s needed is to<br />

make the electrical connections,<br />

apply silicone sealant under the rim,<br />

and tighten the clamps<br />

supplied with the unit<br />

(see Cooktop Mounting<br />

Detail below).<br />

OVEN. The builtin<br />

oven is mounted to<br />

a hardwood frame<br />

that’s attached to the<br />

base cabinets (see<br />

Illustration below). The<br />

frame consists of a top<br />

and bottom (E) piece<br />

that fit between the two sides (F).<br />

Notice that the bottom end of<br />

each side is notched to form a toekick.<br />

Then the frame is glued and<br />

screwed together.A rail (G) screwed<br />

to the bottom of the frame encloses<br />

the opening in the toekick.<br />

Once the frame is done, set it<br />

flush with the front of the cabinets<br />

and screw it in place (Oven Mounting<br />

Detail).The oven is screwed to the<br />

mounting frame, and a trim strip<br />

(supplied) covers the fasteners.<br />

TOP<br />

VIEW<br />

{ In the Feb.<br />

2003 issue of<br />

Workbench,<br />

we show you<br />

how to make a<br />

custom wood<br />

panel for the<br />

dishwasher.<br />

Cooktop Mounting Detail<br />

Oven Mounting Detail<br />

WORKBENCH ■ APRIL 2003 35


{ Low-voltage lights cast a warm glow across<br />

the slate backsplash. A simple snap-in design lets<br />

you locate the lights wherever you want.<br />

UNDER-CABINET LIGHTING<br />

(shown from back of cabinet)<br />

Under Cabinet Detail<br />

low-voltage<br />

ACCENT LIGHTING<br />

At this point of our project, the<br />

kitchen looked terrific. It looked<br />

even better though a short time later<br />

— right after we’d installed low-voltage<br />

lights under the upper cabinets<br />

(Photo at left), and also in the display<br />

cabinets (see Photo on page 37).<br />

There are a number of low-voltage<br />

lighting systems available.The<br />

one we installed has nifty snap-in<br />

lampholders that make it easy to<br />

install a light wherever you want<br />

(see Lighting Components on page 37).<br />

Not only that, you can quickly<br />

relocate a light if a spot is too dimly<br />

or brightly lit.<br />

Before you install this low-voltage<br />

lighting system, take a minute<br />

to study the Illustration below to<br />

understand how it works.<br />

Notice that there’s a transformer<br />

that reduces the power from 110<br />

volts to 12 volts. Running from this<br />

transformer is a low-voltage wire<br />

that’s routed through access holes<br />

drilled in the cabinets.The wire fits<br />

into plastic tracks mounted to the<br />

cabinets.To illuminate an area, you<br />

simply snap a lampholder into the<br />

track and clip in a light.<br />

PLANNING. Once you’re familiar<br />

with the low-voltage system,<br />

Display Cabinet Detail<br />

36 WORKBENCH ■ APRIL 2003


planning the details is quick and easy<br />

(see Planning Guide below).<br />

Start by measuring the total<br />

length of the “runs” for the plastic<br />

track and the low-voltage cable.<br />

Next, you’ll need to decide on<br />

the total number of lights and their<br />

wattage. I used 10-watt lights spaced<br />

6" apart under the upper cabinets.As<br />

for the display cabinets, 5-watt lights,<br />

spaced the same distance apart, provided<br />

plenty of light.<br />

Once you’ve determined the<br />

total number of lights, add up their<br />

combined wattages (actual wattage<br />

consumed).This establishes the number<br />

and wattage of the transformer(s)<br />

you need. Select a transformer with<br />

a wattage that’s greater than the total<br />

wattage consumed. For example, I<br />

used a 300-watt transformer for the<br />

21 under-cabinet,10-watt lights and<br />

a 60-watt transformer for the eight<br />

display cabinet lights (5 watts each).<br />

One last note about transformers.There<br />

are two types. One plugs<br />

into a wall outlet; the other is “hardwired”<br />

into an electrical circuit.To<br />

simplify the installation I used the<br />

plug-in type for both transformers.<br />

low-voltage planning guide<br />

buyer's guide<br />

Appliances<br />

<strong>Kitchen</strong>Aid<br />

Dishwasher (KUDS01FKPA)<br />

Cooktop (KECC508GBT)<br />

Vent (KWVU205YBA)<br />

Oven (KEBC107KSS)<br />

Refrigerator (KTRC22EKSS)<br />

800-422-1230<br />

www.kitchenaid.com<br />

ON/OFF SWITCHES.Of course,<br />

having to plug in a transformer every<br />

time you want to turn on the lights<br />

would be a nuisance. So we had an<br />

electrician install a switched outlet.<br />

This involved installing an electrical<br />

outlet inside the cabinet just above an<br />

existing wall outlet. Then the wall<br />

outlet itself was replaced with a<br />

combination switch/outlet that’s<br />

used to turn the lights on and off.<br />

INSTALL COMPONENTS.With<br />

the electrical requirements taken care<br />

of, it’s time to install the rest of the<br />

components.To illuminate the backsplash,<br />

we mounted the track, cable,<br />

lampholders, and lights on the back<br />

of the face frames for the upper cabinets<br />

(Under-Cabinet Lighting). Note:<br />

Line the access holes with the clear<br />

plastic sleeves (supplied) to avoid<br />

abrasion to the low-voltage wire.<br />

DISPLAY LIGHTING. To highlight<br />

the dinnerware in the glass<br />

display cabinets, I mounted two<br />

tracks vertically behind the face<br />

frames (Display Cabinet Detail).The<br />

three lights in each track illuminate<br />

the cabinet nicely, even with the<br />

solid wood shelves.<br />

Light Spacing and Wattage<br />

Application Lampholder Spacing Light Wattage<br />

Under Cabinet 6" 10W<br />

Inside Cabinet 6" 5W<br />

Light Performance<br />

Rated Light<br />

Wattage<br />

Actual Wattage<br />

Consumed<br />

Rated<br />

Light Life<br />

Approx. Lumens<br />

per Light<br />

5 4.0 16,000 33<br />

10 8.4 12,000 83<br />

Low-Voltage Lighting<br />

Ambiance Linear<br />

800-347-5483<br />

info@seagulllighting.com<br />

Epoxy Grout<br />

Laticrete<br />

651-264-5150<br />

www.laticrete.com<br />

{ To draw attention to the homeowners’ collection<br />

of festive-colored dinnerware, we also installed<br />

low-voltage lights inside the display cabinet.<br />

lighting components 110-volt/12-volt<br />

Snap-in<br />

Lampholder<br />

Plastic Track<br />

{ The components of the low-voltage lighting system<br />

we used are available from the source listed below.<br />

Use the Guide (at left) to plan your installation.<br />

Sink<br />

Kohler<br />

K-3352 Stainless Sink<br />

800-456-4537<br />

www.us.kohler.com<br />

Xenon Light<br />

110-volt<br />

Wire Leads<br />

Faucet<br />

Delta 470-SS Single Handle<br />

Pull-out Signature Series<br />

www.deltafaucet.com<br />

Low-Voltage Wire<br />

BACKYARD RETREAT<br />

Transformer<br />

12-volt<br />

Wire Leads<br />

WORKBENCH ■ APRIL 2003 37

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