Step 1: Mark the reference line

tom silva marking the reference lines on the wall before installing kitchen cabinets
Photo: David Carmack
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Using a level, mark a level reference line on the walls about 48 inches off the floor. Snap a chalk line at these marks, and measure from this line down to the floor in several places. Mark the line where the measurement is shortest; this is the high point of the floor. Directly beneath the mark for the high point of the floor.
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    Tools List

    • drill
      Cordless drill with bit set
    • ratcheting screwdriver
      4-in-1 screwdriver
    • finish hammer
      Hammer
    • chalk line
      Chalk line
    • 100-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • folding ruler
      Folding rule
    • bubble level
      Bubble level
    • block plane
      Block plane
    • pencil compass
      Compass
    • bar clamps
      Bar clamps
    • utility knife
      Utility knife
    • chisel
      Chisel
    • framing square
      Framing square
    • ladder
      Ladder

    Shopping List

    1. Carcass
    "Look for a good, heavy box, one with a thick solid back to screw securely to the wall," says Tom. He favors plywood over particleboard of MDF

    2. Finishes
    Catalyzed lacquers or conversion varnishes are toughest

    3. Fasteners
    Screws are best, but staples ad brads are typically used

    4. Drawers
    Dovetail joints and fully extending drawer slides are best

    5. Hinges
    Cup hinges, also known as European or concealed hingers are eay to adjust

    6. Hardwood glue
    for securing trim joints

    7. Wood shims
    for making cabinets plumb and level

    8. 2 1/2-inch deck screws with washers
    for anchoring cabinets to studs (drywall screws can snap)