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Author Topic: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?  (Read 3279 times)

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Baron Aloha

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Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« on: January 03, 2015, 03:38:46 pm »
Hi guys,

I've got pretty much zero woodworking experience and I was thinking about building my own cabinet but to be honest I'm not sure what tools I will need.  I have a drill and that's pretty much it.

I know the answer might depend on what I'm planning to do but I don't really have any plans right now...so lets just say its your standard cabinet build.

I'm guessing I will need a saw of some sort and a sander/multi-tool?  What sort of saw do you guys recommend?  I looked at some table saws but it seems like they are only good for small-ish pieces and to be honest circular saws kind of scare me because when I was a kid I knew someone how cut off their fingers with one.   :o

I'm thinking of buying a jigsaw and maybe a router to round edges and whatnot...but then I'm wondering if I need the jigsaw at all because a router seems pretty damn versatile but then again it might be difficult to do some of the longer cuts.

What do you guys recommend?

Thanks

Le Chuck

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Re: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2015, 04:01:36 pm »
A jigsaw, circular saw, and router.  Get comfortable with all three. 

Jigsaw - for curved cuts and tight angles
Circular saw - for straight and some beveled cuts.   (look up sawboard - make one)
Router - palm size will be fine but bigger won't hurt.  This is probably the most dangerous tool in the shop IMO so practice, watch some youtube vids about using one, and practice. 

Other tools that will help

A ruler with metric and imperial graduations.
Forstner bits and/or hole saws at button hole sizes
Flush trim bit for router
T-molding bit for router (available from most T-molding sellers)
Flute bit for router (1/4" should be fine)
Clamps- buy the combo packs, buy as many as you can afford. 
Woodglue
A good assortment of drill bits.

You can sand by hand, but a good palm sander will help - just remember with power sanders less is more.  It's easy to get janky results.  Best to learn by hand. 

You can do without the router and circular saw and still get a good cabinet built but those two tools will pay for themselves in how much better your results will be and how much time you will save. 

I do 90% of my building using the above. 

Slippyblade

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Re: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2015, 05:55:32 pm »
Le Chuck said what I was gonna say.  He said it far better than I was gonna though, so listen to the man.  :)

These tools don't need to be expensive.  Hit the local pawn shop or second hand store.  A decent circular saw can be found for $20, a jigsaw for $10, and a router for $30 if you go with used tools.  A palm sander can be useful but not isn't necessary as a hand sanding block can do just as good.

Don't be afraid of your tools, but DO have a healthy respect for them.  Accidents happen when you lose respect for your tools and skip things like safety checks, looking for cords, not paying attention to where your body parts are in relation.  Take it slow, take it easy, pay attention.  Measure twice, then do it again.

Like Le Chuck said, a saw-board will save you soooo much aggravation. 

Baron Aloha

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Re: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2015, 06:17:53 pm »
Thanks guys.  This is just what I wanted to know.

Le Chuck

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Re: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2015, 06:22:13 pm »
And for what it is worth BYOACing is like a huge gateway into all kinds of other DIY and hand skill stuff.  There isn't a home project I don't tackle. 

SNAAKE

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Re: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2015, 09:35:25 pm »
you can with a jigsaw and a drill lol

get the "straight" jigsaw that only cuts straight without any mitre/angle cuts. and...router for tmolding slots or paint the edge.

jennifer

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Re: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2015, 11:48:43 pm »
    When shopping for a circular saw look at the angle plate guide thing, a cheezy flimsy one will actually bend as your cutting making a wavey cut... Oh and look for side to side blade wiggle, sloppy bearings IMO is just dangerous.

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Re: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2015, 12:45:29 am »
And for what it is worth BYOACing is like a huge gateway into all kinds of other DIY and hand skill stuff.  There isn't a home project I don't tackle.

Amen, brother. I am a master at wallboards and floor molding now because of the precision I learned from Arcade Cabinetin'.
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

wp34

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Re: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2015, 12:52:57 pm »
And for what it is worth BYOACing is like a huge gateway into all kinds of other DIY and hand skill stuff.  There isn't a home project I don't tackle.


I agree with this except my plumbing skills are still subpar.

Generic Eric

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Re: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2015, 01:00:37 pm »
And for what it is worth BYOACing is like a huge gateway into all kinds of other DIY and hand skill stuff.  There isn't a home project I don't tackle.


I agree with this except my plumbing skills are still subpar.
Have you considered restoring a Mario Bros. or perhaps Bubbles before attempting plumbing? 

wp34

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Re: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2015, 04:10:22 pm »
And for what it is worth BYOACing is like a huge gateway into all kinds of other DIY and hand skill stuff.  There isn't a home project I don't tackle.


I agree with this except my plumbing skills are still subpar.
Have you considered restoring a Mario Bros. or perhaps Bubbles before attempting plumbing?

 :cheers:

Louis Tully

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Re: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2015, 04:13:33 pm »
.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2015, 06:53:54 pm by Louis Tully »

taylormadelv

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Re: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2015, 05:37:09 pm »
Maybe just so obvious but...a power drill! I prefer a corded drill that has more power. You will want to buy a 1 1/8" hole saw bit for push button holes.
A circular saw or good jig saw. The router is something you may be able to get around, just depends if you want to cut t molding slots or not.

Slippyblade

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Re: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2015, 06:19:00 pm »
Wow, I feel like a moron for forgetting a drill... :banghead:

Le Chuck

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Re: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2015, 06:22:50 pm »
First thing op said was that he had a drill but yeah a drill should always be on the list if you're starting from zero. And it should be near the top.

Generic Eric

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Re: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2015, 06:36:10 pm »
Here is what the wiki has to say

GSXRMovistar

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Re: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2015, 05:19:39 pm »
On a related note what would people rather have, a plunge/guide saw or a table saw?

Slippyblade

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Re: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2015, 05:24:02 pm »
If I could only have one or the other, I'd go with a regular circular with a guide/sawboard.

Vigo

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Re: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2015, 06:00:41 pm »
And for what it is worth BYOACing is like a huge gateway into all kinds of other DIY and hand skill stuff.  There isn't a home project I don't tackle.


I agree with this except my plumbing skills are still subpar.

I hate plumbing. Go Pex and don't look back.

wp34

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Re: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2015, 06:44:38 pm »
And for what it is worth BYOACing is like a huge gateway into all kinds of other DIY and hand skill stuff.  There isn't a home project I don't tackle.


I agree with this except my plumbing skills are still subpar.

I hate plumbing. Go Pex and don't look back.

Pex is awesome.  We put that in my basement and it does make things much, much easier.   What I hate is fixing leaky toilets.  No fun at all.  I struggled with one for almost a month last year.   :P

brihyn

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Re: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2015, 08:40:49 am »
If you have to go buy a circular saw I strongly recommend looking at the 5 1/2" saws. For me personally, they are vastly easier to control and get straight cuts with. The first cab I built was done entirely with the four primary tools mentioned here, a standard router, jig saw, 5 1/2 circular saw, and a drill. I might add an electric sander to the list, as that's a huge time saver.

Here's the saw I have and absolutely love it:
http://www.amazon.com/Ryobi-P501-Circular-Battery-Included/dp/B001L5F972

Baron Aloha

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Re: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2015, 06:37:53 pm »
Thanks for the additional info/resources guys.   :applaud:

Slippyblade

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Re: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2015, 05:33:07 pm »
Thanks for the additional info/resources guys.   :applaud:
In exchange for our outpouring of welcome and information, we expect a project announcement in the near future. 

nitrogen_widget

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Re: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« Reply #23 on: January 09, 2015, 11:08:21 pm »
I may be castigated for this, but harbor freight is a good place to get inexpensive tools.
I've got a circular saw from there with a laser line.
It actually isnt bad.
The gourd stays in place and the blade doesn't wobble.

Craig's list is also a good place to look for tools.

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Re: Minimum power tools required to build a cabinet?
« Reply #24 on: January 17, 2015, 04:22:40 pm »
Here is the list of tools I've used to build my cabinet. 

Jig saw
Screw gun/cordless drill
Circular saw
Router/table
Sander
Drill press
Table saw
Miter box

They are listed in order of importance.  I would saw that FOR SURE you need the first three, and the 4th if you're doing t-molding.

Jig saw:  I don't know how you'd cut curved contours on cabinet sides without it.

Screw gun/cordless drill:  You need something to poke holes for buttons in your control panel.  In addition, at least my cabinet has a pile of screws in it.  You could do it with a corded drill, but much easier to get in tight spaces with cordless.

Circular saw:  About the only way to get straight cuts for panels.  You could try it with a jig saw I suppose, but I have never been able to cut a straight enough line for cabinet work with one.

Router:  Only used it for t-molding and undercutting my CP for my joystick, but you can't do either without a router.

Sander:  If you want a nice finish on your paint/wood, you'll need a sander  I suppose you could do it with a cork block and sandpaper, but SLOW...

Drill press:  You can punch 1 1/8" holes with a handheld drill, but it's MUCH easier with a drill press. 

Table saw:  I have some internal support wood blocks that connect two non-perpendicular surfaces.  I ripped 1x1 dowels to match the angles.  You pretty much need a table saw for that, but I think you could probably build a cabinet without angled blocking.

Miter box:  Just easier for cutting off internal blocking, but wholly unnecessary.

My brands are Skil for the jig saw and circular saw, Dewalt for my 1/4 sheet palm sander and screw gun, Craftsman router and table saw, and Delta miter box.  None of it high end stuff, all of it I've owned for 10+ years and has been used on a variety of projects.  You won't regret buying any of it...