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How do you make a cabinet toe-kick cut?

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  • How do you make a cabinet toe-kick cut?

    I have cabinet sides made of 3/4in. MDF board. I want to cut off a 3" x 4" piece from one of the corners (of each side piece) for the toe-kick. What's the best method/tool for the job? I will be doing this often for kitchen cabinet work. The cabinets will have face frames. I'm new to woodworking, spent past 20 years doing exhibit finishing. Thanx.
    Last edited by xtectonic; 12-08-2007, 02:44 PM.

  • #2
    Re: How do you make a cabinet toe-kick cut?

    Either a sabre saw or a good hand saw will do jut fine.

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    • #3
      Re: How do you make a cabinet toe-kick cut?

      The best way is to cut the toe kick at the same time as the gable on a CNC machine, since most people don't have one, other methods are using a router with a jig and a good 1/4 spiral bit, making a couple of cuts with a table saw, even with the blade fully raised you still need to use a jigsaw to finish the job, you can do a nice job, but very slow. A good bandsaw witha fence also works.
      We built most of our cabinets with seperate bases. Good luck.

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      • #4
        Re: How do you make a cabinet toe-kick cut?

        Thanks, I was afraid of that. Thought I might be missing a technique, but nothing beats experience and the craftsman touch.

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        • #5
          Re: How do you make a cabinet toe-kick cut?

          I do the same as scottdevelopments, in almost all cases. Not only are seperate kicks easier to construct, they are far easier to install. You build a rectangular frame that fits under the entire run of your cabinets, including any filler (scribe strip). To install, you just mount the frame to the back wall and level it...side to side and front to back. Screw it to the studs in the back. You can either leave the shims in the front and let gravity do the rest, or screw blocks to the inside to tie it to the floor in front. This depends upon the application or floor treatment. After the frame is secure all you have to do is set your boxes and screw them together. Screw them to the wall after the fronts are aligned/screwed. Some scribing may be required depending upon the wall.........all-in-all far easier.
          Even on small single unit applications like file cabs under reception desks or drawer stacks next to stoves, we still build them the same way. The only real difference is that the toe-kick is usually attached to the cabinet from underneath before screwing to the wall.

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          • #6
            Re: How do you make a cabinet toe-kick cut?

            So, the run of cabinet units sit on the toe-kick frame and they and the toe kick frame are anchored at the back wall? As far as "finished" exposed sides of cabinets--follow the above suggestions for cutting the toe kick "notch"?

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            • #7
              Re: How do you make a cabinet toe-kick cut?

              There is no notch, in the actual cabinet. The toe-kick frame is smaller than the base of the cabinet. This creates the toe space. The "sides" of the cabinet stop at the bottom of the floor of the cabinet.

              This makes a better looking toe kick, becasue it "breaks" the line down the side of the cabinet. It keeps the wood grain flowing around the bottom of the cabinet...assuming that you are putting a board across the front of your cabinets, like in a notched toe-kick style box.

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              • #8
                Re: How do you make a cabinet toe-kick cut?

                We finish off our cabinets like longhair, we leave the base recessed on the ends of a cabinet and finish with usually 1/4" plywood finished to match cabinets. Our finished gables are the same height as our cabinet gable and stop above the base. There are lots of ways to build cabinets that give you a beautiful finished product, we just find this way to work well with us.

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                • #9
                  Re: How do you make a cabinet toe-kick cut?

                  when I had a bunch to do I would set up the table saw and a stop and make the cut as far as I could with it on the end pieces of the cabinets, and then make the second cut the same way then finish them out usually with a hand saw, but one could use a jig saw, (I did not like the jig saw as it pulls up and an on some veneered lumber it can splinter it up good, unless you cut from the under side or put the blade in up side down but that can cause it own set of potential problems), some times I used the band saw, but I liked using the and saw best, to finish them up.

                  I have not tried this but did read an Idea and sounds very good, and that is to make the base, (continuous that would go under all the continuous cabinets) and get it all level and set correctly and then built the cabinets with out toe kicks (jsut the box above the toe kick) and jsut set them on a all ready level base no shimming needed to level or to correct each cabinet as the base is all ready done.
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                  • #10
                    Re: How do you make a cabinet toe-kick cut?

                    O.K. lots of good stuff here. So, in addition to recessed toe-kicks on the front of the cabinets (face elevation) go ahead and recess the finished side elevation, is that an option?

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                    • #11
                      Re: How do you make a cabinet toe-kick cut?

                      Yes, that is what scottdevelopments and I are doing. I am not sure what he does, be I usually only hold back a little on the finished ends. How much depends upon how it will be trimmed out. In most of the commercial jobs they have a PVC cove base that is applied by someone else after we are done and gone. On those I hold the toe-kick in by about 1/4" If it gets something else, tile, textured epoxy, etc...the thickness of that is taken into account.
                      You really shouldn't set-back any more than the thickness of your cabinet side. That way the total weight of the countertop and anything that may sit on it are supported vertically straight down the side to the floor.

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                      • #12
                        Re: How do you make a cabinet toe-kick cut?

                        The shop I work at usually runs the cab side to the floor with the notch for the toespace, in both our framed and frameless lines. On the framed cabinets we then cover the exposed MDF with edgebanding in the wood of choice for the job and the toe board butts into the cab side. We have begun to use leveling feet for one salesman who sells alot of frameless. We used to make bases for frameless but for some reason they got out of that, I think that it was because the guy who used to run my area whined about it though.

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                        • #13
                          Re: How do you make a cabinet toe-kick cut?

                          I do refacing in northern California and most of the cabinets here seem to have sides that run right to the floor.
                          A good carpenter makes few mistakes, a great carpenter can fix his own.

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