Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Refacing Kitchen Cabinets: Adding End Shelves, Part 5 of 6

by Jim Mallery
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

Parts 1 through 4 of this series guided you through constructing your kitchen cabinet end shelves. Now it's time to mount them. This article will explore whether or not to build the shelves into a self-contained unit that you would mount at the end of your cabinets, just like another cabinet unit.

End Shelves: An Integrated Unit Adds Strength

Here's what you need to know before deciding to mount your kitchen end shelves as a self-contained unit:

  1. Why? If you anticipate the shelves carrying heavier loads such as cookbooks, then shelves mounted inside their own structure are inherently stronger. They also appear to be part of your cabinets.
  2. Why not? Stand-alone units take more work, and it might be difficult to match them perfectly to the style of your cabinets. Individual shelves attached to the end of the cabinet, especially around the sink, look just fine.
  3. Other considerations. You probably want to make the bottom shelf double-deep--two layers of ¾-inch plywood. The trim for this can come from ripping your board in a vertical position on your table saw.
  4. Top. To complete the cabinet look, you should make a top piece. It can match the rounded shelf shape, or it can have a square corner. If you have crown molding, you can't have a rounded corner. It needs to be either 90 degrees, or cut off at a 45-degree angle.
  5. The Unit. The back and side of the unit are the same ¾-inch plywood you used to make your shelves. The stiles and rails (the vertical and horizontal pieces that make the face of the cabinet) should be close to your cabinet's stiles and rails. Note, the top piece and the bottom shelf function as the equivalent of horizontal rails.
  6. Notches. The front and side corners of your shelf should be notched so that the stiles inset smoothly against them. These cuts take extreme precision, unless you plan to use gobs of wood filler.

Mounting the shelves into your unit is covered in the next article, Part 6, and the last in this series on end shelves. Once the unit is complete, you'll hang it from the end cabinet just like another section of cabinet.



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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