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Seven Basic Tools to Get Started Building Cabinets

Building cabinets can be a rewarding and cost-effective way to upgrade your home’s storage space. Whether you are a seasoned DIY enthusiast or just starting out, having the right tools is crucial to ensure a successful cabinet-building project.

In this article, we will introduce you to five basic tools that are essential for anyone looking to get started in building cabinets.

From measuring and cutting materials accurately to joining pieces together seamlessly, these tools will help you achieve professional-looking results. We’ll explore each tool’s purpose and functionality, highlighting why it is necessary and how it can make your cabinet-building journey easier.

Basic Tools to Get Started Building Cabinets

For building cabinets, you need seven basic tools: saw, drill, measuring tape, hammer, clamp, chisel & sander. These tools ensure quality and durability. Make sure to have them in your toolbox.

From measuring and cutting materials accurately to joining pieces together seamlessly, these tools will help you achieve professional-looking results.

1. A Tape Measure: To ensure that your cabinets fit perfectly, a tape measure is paramount. Take accurate measurements of the space where you plan to install your cabinets and make sure to double-check them before cutting any pieces.

2. A Circular Saw: To cut wood or other materials for the frame and shelves of your cabinets, a circular saw will be necessary. Choose one with a blade guard for safety, and don’t forget to wear eye and hearing protection.

3. A Hammer: The most basic of all tools, a hammer is essential for cabinet building. Use it to insert and remove nails from the wood to secure your frame or shelves together.

4. A Power Drill: A power drill is useful for pre-drilling holes in wood before inserting screws or bolts into the material to secure joints.

5. A Cabinet Clamp: To hold two pieces of wood together while you pre-drill holes or insert screws, a cabinet clamp is invaluable. Choose one with adjustable settings so that it can be used for different sizes and shapes of materials.

6. Chisels: Chisels are important tools for creating precise joints between the frame and shelves of your cabinets. They are available in different sizes, so make sure to choose the right one for the job.

7. Sander: Sander is a very crucial tool for any wood working project. In cabinet making, after you finish making the cabinet, you must sand the surface of the uneven or rough area. A sander makes the surface of the wood smoother. You may use electric sander or manual hand sander, all that depends on your requirement and work load.

These Seven basic tools should help you get started building your own cabinets. As per with the right tools and some patience, you could have beautiful, custom-made cabinets in no time. You should invest in these tools for better results in making cabinet.

Importance of finishing touches in cabinet building

The finishing touches are an important step in any cabinet-building project. Finishing touches provide a cabinet with its overall look and feel, as well as protection from the elements and everyday wear and tear.

Applying a finish to your cabinets will help keep them looking like new for years to come. Finishes protect wood against water damage, UV rays, scratches, and more. They can also be applied in a variety of colors and styles to give your cabinets a unique appearance.

When applying a finish, make sure to choose one that is designed for the type of wood you are using. Applying the wrong type of finish can damage the wood, so be sure to do some research before beginning your project.

How do I join cabinet parts together?

There are various methods for joining cabinet parts together, such as:

 – Butt joints: This involves joining two parts by simply butting them together and securing them with screws, nails, or dowels.

– Pocket hole joinery: Using a pocket hole jig, you can drill angled holes in one part and then attach it to another part using screws inserted into the holes.

 – Dado joints: A dado joint involves creating a groove in one piece of wood and fitting another piece into it to form a strong connection.

 – Mortise and tenon joints: This traditional method involves creating a mortise (a hole or slot) in one part and a corresponding tenon (a projection) in another part, which are then fitted together and secured.

What finish should I use for my cabinets?

The choice of finish for your cabinets depends on several factors, including your desired aesthetic, durability requirements, and personal preferences. Here are a few common options to consider:

  1. Paint: Painting cabinets is a versatile choice that allows you to achieve various colors and finishes. It provides a smooth and opaque look, covering the wood grain. Painted finishes are available in different sheen levels, such as matte, satin, semi-gloss, or high-gloss, each offering different levels of shine and durability.
  2. Stain: Staining cabinets enhance the natural beauty of the wood, allowing the grain and texture to show through. Stains come in different shades, from light to dark, allowing you to achieve the desired look. After staining, a clear protective topcoat is typically applied to provide durability and protection.
  1. Varnish or Polyurethane: Varnish or polyurethane finishes offer a protective layer that seals the wood and provides a glossy or satin sheen. These finishes are durable and resistant to moisture, heat, and wear. They are a popular choice for cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms, where durability is important.
  1. Lacquer: Lacquer finishes provide a smooth and glossy look. They are known for their durability, quick drying time, and ease of application. Lacquer can give cabinets a modern and high-end appearance, but it may require professional application due to its volatile nature.
  1. Natural Oil: Natural oil finishes, such as tung or linseed oil, penetrate the wood to enhance its natural beauty. They provide a matte or satin sheen and a smooth touch. Natural oil finishes require regular maintenance and reapplication to protect the wood and make it look its best.

While choosing a finish for your cabinets, consider the style and atmosphere you want to create in the space and the level of maintenance you’re willing to undertake. It’s also advisable to test the chosen finish on a small inconspicuous area or a sample piece of wood to ensure you achieve the desired look and feel before applying it to your entire cabinetry.

Frequently Asked Question

1. How do I determine the dimensions for my cabinet?

To determine the dimensions for your cabinet, you need to consider factors such as available space, functionality, and design preferences. Measure the area where the cabinet will be placed and take into account any height or width restrictions.

Additionally, consider the items you plan to store in the cabinet and ensure there is enough space for them. Sketching out a rough design or using cabinet design software can help visualize and finalize the dimensions.

2. What type of wood is best for building cabinets?

The choice of wood for building cabinets depends on several factors, including budget, aesthetics, and durability. Commonly used woods for cabinets include hardwoods like oak, maple, cherry, and birch, which are known for their strength and beauty. Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and plywood are also popular choices due to their affordability and stability. Ultimately, the best wood for your cabinets will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

3. How can I make my cabinet doors and drawers fit properly?

To ensure that cabinet doors and drawers fit properly, precise measurements and proper installation techniques are essential. Use a tape measure to measure the openings and adjust the dimensions accordingly when building the doors or drawers.

Additionally, utilize hinges, slides, or other hardware that allow for adjustments and ensure smooth operation. Proper alignment and careful installation will help achieve a snug fit for your cabinet doors and drawers. If there is uneven space that is stopping the cabinet door from fitting properly, sand the cabinet well. Make the surface smooth then it will fit accurately.


Building cabinets may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools, anyone can tackle this rewarding project. The seven basic tools discussed in this article – a table saw, miter saw, router, clamps, and drill – are essential for any cabinet-building endeavor.

By investing in these tools and learning their proper use, you will have the foundation necessary to create beautiful and functional cabinets for your home or business. So don’t hesitate any longer; get started on your cabinet-building journey today! With these five tools in hand, there is no limit to what you can accomplish.


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