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Cabinet Q's and A's

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Installing | Painting | Repairing/Maintenance

Leveling Shims

I have a simple question When you insert shims to level a cabinet, board, etc. do the shims stay in forever or are they only there until the screw/nails are put in? If they stay how do you cover them up or cut them down so they are not visible?

If you wont see them again, that is you will cover them with trim etc., leave them in there. If you will see them, take them out once the cabinet is securely screwed in place.

Making Your Kitchen Cabinets Look Like They Came from a Kitchen in the 1900 - 1940 Era

Help, my husband and I are building our own house. We tried to save a 70 year old house but could not so we tore it down and are building a two story cottage house over the existing full basement. We want to make it as close to a 1920 's 30 or 40 house as we can. Does anyone have any good links that will tell us how to make the kitchen cabinets that used to be in houses (tall that look like cupboards, or glass fronts or just shelves - also we have an old cast iron sink with its own drainer approx. 4 to 5 foot long any advice for making the cabinet to look that era?

I would recommend picking up a copy of American Bungalow Magazine...It's printed in California but readily available. Feel free to e-mail me If you can't find it. The latest issue has an article on period kitchens and there is a listing of books on period designs in every issue. It is a valuable source for home restoration for this period. Too bad you had to tear down your old home but I applaud your efforts to make your new one look like it's been there awhile.

Mounting Cabinets to Cinder Block Walls

We just bought a house and it is all cinder block walls, inside and out. we are about to install new kitchen cabinets and I have no idea how to install them on the cinder block. One idea I was told to try is mounting a 1 by 4 to the wall first then carry on like normal. Well how to get the 1 by 4 to the wall?

I have mounted various cabinets and shelves onto cinder block walls using concrete screws. The most noted brand is Tapcon. They install using a concrete drill (it is best to use a hammer drill, but a regular drill will work) and are then screwed into the hole. They offer 2 types, hex head or phillips. I have always used the hex head as the phillips have a fluted type head that I felt would split the cabinets under weight. I also use washers to further spread the bearing surface of the screw.

I feel that the purpose of the screws is two fold. First there is ability to pull the cabinets tight to the wall. The screws do this as good, or better, than other methods. Second, there is the shear strength of the fastener itself. I would look to the specifications of whatever you use to determine the correct number of fasteners.

Installing Kitchen Cabinets


Normally , you would start with the upper cabinets and the ones in the most visual corner.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

I am attempting to paint my kitchen cabinets white. I am having trouble with too many brush strokes and the paint drying almost immediately. I have primed them, sanded them and kept my brush strokes to a minimum. I am using a latex paint by Frazee (Which I was told was an easy paint to apply) and am using a 2" Purdy brush. Admittedly, I have little experience with kitchen cabinets(okay basically none, surely I should be able to do this job? Right? Help, what should I do?

Try using a smooth surface roller. For the styles and rails of the cabinet frames use an inch and a half foam paint brush.

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Clear Sealant on Cabinets

I have installed a new kitchen with all natural maple cabinets. I had to make some matching trim pieces, which I made from unfinished maple. However, every clear finish I try makes the bare wood darker and therefore not match the maple cabinets, which are very light. Any suggestions? I have tried water base, oil-base, shellac and pastewax.

You have tried the easiest of lightest finishes...
When I want to keep something light.. (like end grain) I use shellac first.. but you have tried that.
I think maybe a clear lacquer is probably what you want to try... not as easily applied however.

Lightening Paneling and Cabinets

We are buying a home built in 1969. An old couple owned it since it was new. We love the house, the layout is perfect and just needs a young couples touch. The cabinets are only 3 months old and so dark. In addition, the darkest paneling I've ever seen. We want white walls and white cabs .it also has beautiful hardwood under the I in for a headache or will this be simple... the paneling has finishing nails in it does this mean it has drywall underneath?

Finishing nails are a feature to hold the paneling in place. They are less visible. It also may be glued in place. Don't know what's behind the panel. Take off a piece close to the corner and see.

You can paint the paneling - just get a good primer on it and it will be fine. If you feel industrious, and have a lot of time, you can fill in the grooves with joint compound to get a smooth finish.

I think that your ideas are good ones. My wife "brightened" an old kitchen in one of our houses (had dark cabinets like yours). To do a proper job she sanded down each cabinet and door and repainted them white. What a difference! (We also put down new lino and countertops) The project took some time but we enjoyed the end result.

I'm not a wood paneling fan, but I believe you can paint them white as well (someone else here can probably advise you).

As for the hardwood that carpet off and enjoy! My wife is always asking me to put down wood flooring (have complied twice in the past.) Hardwood flooring is a good selling feature now in many markets.

In any event, you can do this project on your own and reap the benefits of your efforts.

Cleaning Wooden Kitchen Cabinets

What can I use to clean them and take the grease off.

We always use Murphy's Oil Soap. If the finish is a polyurethane finish, still in good condition, you can use a stronger soap, just stay away from any with abrasives.

Loose cabinet hinge

Our kitchen cabinet door is coming loose at the hinge on the wall. we have gotten a larger screw and applied wood glue inside the hole that attaches the cabinet to the wall, but the hole has just gotten bigger. now what do we do to keep the cabinet door attached?

What I think would work, based on what you said.. and what I am guessing, is that you should drill a large hole.. say 1/4 inch. (DON'T go all the way through!!!) but go relatively deep in to the door. Then glue a hardwood peg into the hole. A 1/4 inch dowel rod. After the glue dries.. sand the top of the protruding dowel rod flush with the surface of the door. Then redrill you hole for the screw.

Make sure the screw is a wood screw for this purpose.. Like the other ones. This should hold.

Kitchen Cabinets Have Musty Odor

Our under-sink water filter recently sprang a leak and sent several gallons of water a day for several days into the cabinets under the sink. The leak is fixed, but the odor--like an old, neglected house--remains. Any tips on getting rid of the smell?

I would go with airing it out real well.. like with a fan blowing in there even. Then sprinkle around baking soda, and leave that for a day or so.
The baking soda absorbs odors.. how is a mystery to me.

Removing a Kitchen Cabinet

I would like to completely remove a kitchen cabinet that had an old trash compactor in it (which has already been removed). Before I start chopping away with an ax, what's the best way to take OUT a cabinet? Is it just a matter of a few screws, or are they usually glued in, too?

Usually the cabinets (I assume it's a lower cabinet due to the trash compactor) are just sitting on the floor and are screwed to the studs in the wall behind them. They may also be screwed to each other.

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