Kitchen fitting blues


Mark Baker

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I have been fitting a kitchen recently. Well, I am actually still working on it, much to my wife""s annoyance. I only get to work on it at weekends you see, and there is still more to do. I encountered a situation where I was fitting the post-formed worktop into a ā€˜Uā€™ shape and, of course, needed to create the joints. Out came the new router top cutting jig and my 1/2in router coupled with the appropriate bit, only for me to realise that I didn""t have the necessary template guide bush to make it all work. This was Sunday and there was my friend and I manoeuvring the 4m long top into a position ready to cut it. At this point I discovered that a plan B was necessary as I hadn""t checked beforehand that I had all of the relevant bits. OK, I can""t be the only one that has done this and also cannot be alone in the sudden realisation that this job has to be done now and the problem has to be solved immediately. Well, for me, it was back to the days of my apprenticeship and creating a parallel butt joint with a mitred front section to accommodate the moulded front edges. Simple it would seem apart from not having enough room to easily manipulate the 4m long worktop to a comfortable cutting position, but hey, life is full of trials. A bit of grunting and more than a few unmentionable words later, a straight-edge guide was used in conjunction with a router to cut the straight sections on the respective tops, and a small Japanese dovetail saw was used to cut the mitres. Oh, just a quick reminder that should you find yourself in the same situation, remember the direction of cut is vital when cutting laminates to avoid splintering of the top.

The cutting of the mitre was simple, but, as with all joints, get it wrong and there is nowhere to hide. This would be on view and if I got it wrong it either would be visible forever or, I have just wasted a length of worktop. Well, they came out fine and by using a pull-cut saw there was no laminate tear out and the very fine blade allowed pinpoint precision. Thankfully, everything came together, but it has reminded me that had I checked beforehand a lot of unnecessary angst could have been saved, as well as a bit of time.

I own up to not having made the kitchen myself. Working away form home means time is at a premium and this job is taking long enough as it is. It seems more people are opting for bespoke-made kitchens to ensure the most used room in the house is to their taste. This trend is opening up a few opportunities for some cabinetmakers I know.

Let me know if you have made your own kitchen units or have been commissioned to make kitchens recently.

Also, take a look at these threads on the Forum for kitchen-related projects:

Kitchen Island Part 1

Kitchen Cosmetics

Kithen Island Part 2

Kitchen Cosmetics

Kitchen Island Part 2

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