Today was a big work day. I got the tools, unboxed the cabinets and did some rough fitting. Keep in mind that when you fit cabinets you need to remove and trim the baseboards so they fit flush against the mounting wall. Once I had decided on a layout I trimmed the baseboard and removed the section that was behind the cabinets.
I do have a couple of challenges, the first being a floor vent in that corner of the kitchen. The cabinets will cover it, but I have a plan for that one. The second challenge is the lack of plumb walls, which really drives me crazy. When I build something, I take particular care to make sure things are plumb and square, unfortunately the builders of my house did not have the same care in construction so a LOT of shimming was needed to level things out.
As I said, there is a floor vent in the corner of the kitchen and I will be covering it. I did not want to move the vent so I decided to remove the vent cover and put a new vent in the base of the larger cabinet. I picked up a 2x12 vent that will fit nicely. So I take several measurements, break out the carpenters square and layout my cut line.
A saber saw works best for this kind of cut. The easiest way to make the cut is to drill two holes in opposite corners. That will allow you to put the blade in the hole and make one horizontal and one vertical cut. Take your time and make your cuts true and things will fit like a glove.
I also needed to cut an opening on the right side of the corner cabinet for access to the electrical outlet. My goal here is to make this cabinet look as if it were part of the original house design, but not make it too permanent. I have plans on putting in a wet bar downstairs once the kids have grown up so one day this will probably be relocated, so no big holes in the walls.
Again, take several measurements, use the carpenters square to frame out the opening, take a couple more measurements to verify things are square and get ready to cut. This time I tape over the cut seam with masking tape. This will help keep the cut edge even and prevent chipping. Once again, drill opposing corners, put in the saber saw and cut.
My water, drain and 220 will be running up through the bottom of the cabinet so after I cut the electrical access hole I marked and drilled out my lines. While you can use a simple drill bit, larger holes are best made with a keyhole bit. So drilled my holes, ran my lines and slid everything into place.
Then the hard part, getting these level. I cut shims for a half hour to get everything level. Once leveled up (you need a bubble level to check all of this). I measured and marked my anchor screw locations. If you are not aware, homes in the US are manufactured with a 16" spacing between studs. So I simply measure from the corner to 16" and I have my first stud. I use a one penny nail to verify I have a stud where it is supposed to be. I drill a 1/32 pilot hole so my screw will run true and anchor both cabinets to the wall.
Now it is time to mark the counter top and cut it down. It is a stock Formica countertop from Lowe's and is 6 feet long. I will have an overhang on the left side (towel rack is going under there) but I need to cut one foot off. There is a trick to cutting Formica. You cut from the underside using a very sharp fine toothed carbide tipped finishing blade on a circular saw.
As with the electrical cutout, you need to back the Formica with some blue painters tape. It is heavier than plain masking tape and pulls off easily and clean.
So we have out counter measured, marked and measured again and ready to cut. I put my finishing blade in the circular saw and get ready to cut. If you have a steady hand you can simply cut along the trim line. I like to take out extra insurance and put a jig down to guide my saw. Perfect cut.
Now it is time for the final fitting. Put the counter top on the cabinet and inspect the edges to make sure everything is square.
To mount a countertop to the cabinet you need to put leveling blocks under the mount points on the cabinets. The easiest way to do this is to crawl into the cabinet with a marker and simply outline the mount locations. Then you can take the countertop off the cabinets, put a bead of glue on the spacer blocks and nail them into place.
Now I am in the home stretch. Tomorrow, mounting the end spacers and cap laminate on the exposed end, screw it to the cabinet, cut the grommet hole that the lines will run through, cut and mount the kickboard cover and trim. The devil is in the details.