Having perfectly functional cabinets that look good is an underrated blessing. In this article, we discuss the different tools that make perfect cabinets possible.
Have you ever visited a home and stood at awe at how perfect their kitchen cabinets looked? When dealing with cabinets, whether it’s building ones from scratch or restoring or repairing old ones, one would only need basic tools to get the job done. Creating perfect cabinets, however, would require more advanced tools like a cabinet hardware jig or a biscuit joiner.
The basic tools you’d need for creating perfect cabinets, or for any construction project, in general, would include:
- Tape measure.
- Claw hammer.
- Rubber mallet.
These can already be found in practically any home. But if you don’t have them yet, you can easily find them in your local hardware.
The following tools can be a bit hard to source depending on your location. Some of these could also cost a pretty penny to acquire. But to make perfect cabinets, the investment will be worth it:
- Cabinet hardware jig.
- Coping sled.
- Random orbital sander.
- Biscuit joiner.
- Scraper plane.
- Woodworking chisels.
Cabinet Hardware Jig
A hardware jig for your cabinets allows you to install the necessary hardware (knobs, handles, etc.) for your cabinet quickly and accurately. These hardware jigs come with rulers and holes for your drills. Using this tool, you plot where you want your knobs or handles to go on one cabinet door, install the hardware accurately, and do the same for the other door in perfect symmetry.
It’s best to invest in a professional-quality jig for the job. There are a bunch of hardware jigs available in the market to choose from. But a really good jig can practically ensure cabinet perfection.
Some jigs allow you to skip the marking and clamping process altogether, making for an even speedier hardware installation process. Others are designed to put more emphasis on accuracy and save you time and energy by preventing project do-overs.
Routers are used to rout or hollow out an area in your cabinet material (usually wood). They’re used to cut, trim, or shape the material to create sleek, straight edges and ensure cabinet panels are cut symmetrically.
Routers are available as hand tools or bulky power tools. Although handheld routers are enough to get you good looking cabinets, more serious cabinet makers should go for the power tool option to increase productivity and speed construction up.
Coping sleds are vital router table accessories that are used for creating precise joints for cabinet doors. Using a coping sled allows you to ensure that the cabinet material you’re working on is perpendicular to the router fence so that it glides smoothly across the router.
Having this accessory on your router will give you increased control over the cuts you make on your cabinet material. This is especially helpful when trying to make cuts on your cabinet doors.
Random Orbital Sander
Random orbital sanders are hand-held power tools that are used for sanding your cabinet material. This tool gets its name from the random orbital action made by the sanding blade.
Sanding material down is very important when creating perfect cabinets. Of course, this can be done by simply using a sanding block. But using a random orbital sander over a sanding block has a bunch of advantages.
For one, using a power tool like this would save you so much time and effort. Using a sanding block will have you exhausted by the time you finish sanding down all your cabinet material. Using this tool is also useful when you’re dealing with two different pieces of wood to be fastened at right angles. This is because its random orbital action makes it indifferent to the wood grain direction. You get smooth material every time!
Biscuit joiners are woodworking tools that are used to join two pieces of cabinet material together. Sometimes called plate joiners, these tools use small, circular blades to cut holes in the material at opposite ends. A biscuit (an oval-shaped, compressed wood piece) is then covered in glue and put into the slots created, clamping the two pieces of material together.
Like the cabinet hardware jig, this useful tool is usually used by professionals who deal with dozens of cabinets on the daily. Not many DIY homeowners purchase and use this tool for their cabinet projects mainly for the price – it’s not an inexpensive tool. However, it could be a worthwhile investment as it greatly simplifies the process of joining two wood pieces together.
In creating the perfect cabinets, a scraper plane is used for the final leveling and smoothing of the cabinet materials. To use it, all you have to do is scrape it across your cabinet material. The amount of pressure and force you put into this action will affect the amount of leveling done to your cabinet material.
This hand-held tool isn’t anything fancy but it can definitely make the difference between poorly made cabinets and well-done ones. As with all the rest of the tools, finding a high-quality scraper tool is advisable. Since this is a hand-held tool, a good quality scraper plane will ensure your comfort as you use it. When dealing with a lot of cabinets, you’d want the process to be as comfortable as possible.
Using woodworking chisels to create your wooden cabinets is definitely optional. These tools are used when you want to add a little bit of art into your cabinets. If you have the talent and experience using these tools, you can add beautiful, ornate details to add to the aesthetics of your cabinets.
These tools can also be used to correct minor wood irregularities without having to bust out your bulky power tools.
Paired with basic tools and good cabinet material, these advanced tools can help even the most amateur of DIY homeowners build functional, symmetrical cabinets for any room in their homes.