Step 3: Join the upper cabinets

tom silva joining upper cabinets first with a clamp them securing with screws
Photo: David Carmack
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Remove doors, drawers, and movable shelves to make the cabinets lighter and easier to position. Label everything with masking tape so each piece can be put back without mix-ups. Set a straight 1x3 cleat alongside and just beneath the layout line for the upper cabinets. Drive 2-inch drywall screws through it and into every other stud. Attach more cleats along the length of the line. With the cabinets on the floor, align the face frame of the upper corner cabinet so it's flush with the frame of the neighboring cabinet. Clamp them together. Check for flush with a straightedge. Drill counterbored pilot holes through the edge of the face frame, top and bottom. Drive 2-inch screws into these holes to hold the cabinets tightly together.
Ask TOH users about Cabinets & Shelving

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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)