Making an impromptu decision to install the kitchen cabinets last weekend was one of the most fun and satisfying projects we’ve tackled in a long time. But of course there is always that one hurdle to overcome that takes longer than the rest of the project combined, and in the cabinet hanging adventure, that hurdle was the corner cabinet.
The rest of the installation went smoothly, and not just because this once I lolled about and watched the boys do the heavy lifting. Literally. Although technically because they were smart enough to install a wood board under the cabinet to rest it on, it wasn’t that heavy.
After the wall cabinets were in, the base cabinets were a breeze. We put 1/2″ plywood “lifts” under the bottom cabinets so that once the floor is installed the appliances– dishwasher particularly– still fit under the counters. Alternatively you could put your floor down first, but why pay for hardwood under cabinets that no one will see?
Much easier than holding them on the wall.
The problem was that the boys got to the corner, but before they could make the turn and install the final cabinets, we had to deal with this:
These are the pieces that came for the sink base. The cabinet front, a toe kick, one bigass piece of plywood, and two mystery blocked.
There was a lot of head scratching at this point from all three of us as we tried to determine how exactly this was supposed to be assembled. Did we need to build a plywood frame? Attach the cabinet face directly to the cabinets next to it? Why on earth is that piece of plywood so large? And what the hell are these little blocks for?
We gave up at this point, and even after a few fruitless hours searching on the internet I couldn’t find any clear instructions on what Kraftmaid expected us to do with these pieces. There was nothing in the manual, nothing on the website, and apparently not one other person who has ever used a computer has needed instructions on this.
After sleeping on it I decided some new research methods were needed. In my Mothers condo she has a large corner sink base that I am intimately acquainted with after spending an evening installing her new disposal.
Not that I trust anything that the people who built her condo did, but regardless, after some investigation (which included making my mom crawl under her sink with a flashlight at 8 AM) I determined that the plywood was meant for the bottom of the sink base only, that the face was to be connected directly to the adjoining cabinets, and that the back sides should be left open to the drywall.
Still no idea what those little blocks with the predrilled holes were for, but I decided to get started anyway. This meant a lot of finagling to install the second cabinet adjacent to the corner, so that both “sides” of the corner base were in place.
Then I cut some scrap plywood (4 pieces total) and ripped it down to the exact height of the toe kick.
The objective was to make braces for the bottom piece of plywood to sit on. These were installed with drywall screws to the studs on the back walls, and the cabinets (being careful to install the screws low) next to the sink base.
I asked the engineer to cut the plywood, and he, in turn, asked me to squeeze myself into the 8″ spot between the plywood and floor to mark all of the holes for the water pipes.
I also cut 45-degree angles onto the ends of the toe-kick so it would sit nicely against the side cabinets. Unfortunately my first thought was to attach it on the outside of the cabinets, which was completely wrong, so my miters ended up being the wrong way. Luckily I could just install the piece backwards since the toe-kick veneer will cover it.
After the base was in, holding the face in place while it was predrilled and attached to the side cabinets was definitely a two-person job. We tried tacking it in place with some finish nails, but they wouldn’t penetrate all the way through the wood, and we didn’t want to split anything.
It just took a little patience though, and we were left with this.
You’ll notice I also installed two pieces of scrap plywood level with the backs of the other cabinets so that our counter will have something to rest on.
You may also notice that I did not use these two mystery pieces.
And I gotta tell you, I don’t think it would have been nearly so hard to figure out how to do this if I wasn’t worrying about what I was obviously doing wrong because I wasn’t using these.
Clearly I got over it, but still. I’m perfectly confident that what I did will work, but I’m curious if any one else in the universe has done this a different or “right” way.