I just beat the 4 year anniversary...
... of starting the kitchen (by 2 weeks!). I guess technically - it is not quite done - the pulls are not finished - but... it feels pretty great to have it to this point. The above photo is made up of 3 shots spliced together in photoshop - it was the only way I could get the whole thing in.
The doors themselves went together quite well - and were easier and faster than the drawers. I used a Zona saw to cut the shoulders for the hinge mortises - and a small router plane to clean them out. I was a little worried about cutting the mortises in the cabinets, but it worked quite well. I am still a little bitter that I did not have the foresight to pre-cut mortises for knife hinges like I used in the mudroom cabinets... but I will get over it. These are oil rubbed bronze hinges and worked quite well with the walnut (and the future African Blackwood pulls).
I need to thank Jim Shaver for reminding me of a great technique for keeping doors closed. I used 3/8" rare earth magnets buried in the bottom of the door rail and another in the face frame. They are epoxied in and covered with a piece of walnut veneer (planed flush with an XSNo.4 of course:). It worked perfectly.
In hindsight, there are a few things I have learned.
Firstly - building your own kitchen cabinets is not for the faint of heart. I underestimated the size of this project by at least 200%. It was totally worthwhile, I learned a tremendous amount and I would do it again (if I had to), but I was nuts to think I could do it in a year.
2. Taking the time to find quarter sawn wood for door frames is the right thing to do. In the grand scheme of the project and the immense time it requires - the extra expense of quarter sawn is a drop in the bucket, and you will thank yourself repeatedly because everything is so stable and is visually harmonious.
3. Hand cutting the dovetails in the drawers is extremely time consuming... but worth it if for no other reason than the the learning experience. It took several months of “spare time” to get them done, but my confidence in cutting them has really improved and has positive implications for a lot of other woodworking skills. And - they just look wicked.
4. Door panels that are 7/16" thick are flexible enough to be persuaded into a frame.
5. Air dried walnut is a wonderful wood to work.
6. Sanding sucks. There were a few places where I was not able to plane a surface so I hauled out my ROS. It was a perfect reminder of why I make planes.
The doors around the sink window have beveled glass in them to mirror the side lites of our front door (see below). The doors worked out very well - but the beveled glass on the top 4 doors is a little tough to see given the dark interiors.
The kitchen island was made several years ago - it was installed Christmas day 2005. The boxed dishwasher was the island with a tablecloth thrown over it. What prompted the island construction was a phone call from Sears (where we bought the dishwasher). They were calling to suggest that we might want to consider extending our coverage because the one year warranty was about to expire. Jill just laughed and told them we would pass - the dishwasher was still in the box.