Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Refacing Kitchen Cabinets: Adding End Shelves, Part 4 of 6

by Jim Mallery
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

In the first three parts, you found out what materials and tools you needed, as well as how to design and build individual end shelves. Now that you've made your kitchen cabinet end shelves, you may want to take them to the next level by adding a spindle rail.

Adding a Spindle Rail to Your End Shelves

Follow these six steps to include a spindle rail with your kitchen cabinet end shelf project:

  1. Spindles. You probably don't have a lathe to turn the spindles--if you have one, your woodworking expertise is probably advanced far beyond the need to read this article on how to build the rail. But calling specialty wood stores or craft stores in your area should turn up someone who carries small spindles in various exotic woods.
  2. Rail. Cut the curved shape of your rail out of the board. Plan ahead--if you are going to be cutting curved rails for your shelf, you need a board wide enough to accommodate the curve. The board needs to be at least 6 inches, and 8 inches will make it easier to fit the pattern onto the board. Shape your curve just as you did the shelf--rough cut it and then smooth it with a disk sander. The inside of the curve can be sanded with a drum sander that fits into your drill or drill press. Clamp the wood in a vise and carefully smooth it--you may want to do the final shaping of the inside curve by hand.
  3. Rout. You can round the edges of your rail with a ¼-round bit in your router, mounted on a router table. If you want to just slightly remove the edge, you can use sandpaper instead.
  4. Rip. Now run the curved rail through your table saw to cut it in half. You were working with ¾-inch wood, and the blade eats up 1/8 inch, so after cutting, each piece will be 5/16-inch thick. Final sanding will take them down to ¼ inch or less.
  5. Drill. Here is where your precision work happens, and for that reason, a drill press is highly desirable. If you are using a hand drill, a platform that fits into your chuck and holds the bit at 90 degrees really helps. Make a template with heavy paper to mark the centers of each spindle. Set the template on the shelf and punch starter holes with a punch or nail. Drill with a brad bit to reduce the drill bit "walking."
  6. Glue. Put a tiny drop of glue in each hole and pop the pieces together. Do it all at once; don't let the glue dry on the shelf side before putting the rail on--you want a little wiggle room.

A spindle rail is labor-intensive, but adds a nice touch to your shelves if it fits your décor. In Part 5, we'll look at building end shelves as a self-contained unit.


About the Author
Jim Mallery, a semi-retired journalist and onetime registered contractor, has extensive experience remodeling, repairing and rebuilding homes.

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