Woodworker's Central
Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette Archive 7/27/03

A Book Review by John Lucas

Title: Building Frameless Kitchen Cabinets

Danny Proulx
$39.95 Canadian - $29.95 US

I have collected (and read) many books and videos on woodworking subjects over the last twenty years. Some have been great, and others less so. My philosophy has always been If there were just one idea I could use, the cost was justified.

Well, Danny Proulx's most recent book has given me about 30 or so ideas - fact is, I stopped counting. What I like most about this most recent publication are the "rules." I don't think Danny puts them forward as rules just things to consider, but I strongly suggest you make them your rules. They are procedures he has developed in his active cabinetmaking life. As exact procedures, he is making his cabinetmaking simpler and safer. My thought, is if I adopt one or more, it will help my cabinet making life.

For example, he drills his rows of shelf holes 37mm in and 67mm down. That is just one of the "rules" of the Euro or 32mm system, BUT, what it means to me is shelves that are level. I have to admit, in my past I have measured differently for different rows of holes. I made the error either because I was measuring from the wrong direction or some other feeble reason.

If you have done something like that, then you can appreciate how easy it is to make mistakes. Danny's approach setting specific procedures, is absolutely the best idea. Actually the best idea is that he has written everything down and is sharing it with us.

I can't help but really appreciate the care and detail of the illustrations. In the section on upper cabinets he has complete drawing and cut-list for making the basic cabinet using either 34 or 5/8" stock. I know that 5/8" is cheaper, but it is also less available, so I wanted to follow the instruction and drawing for using 34" while melamine particle core (PC) board. It was nice to have specifications for both thicknesses. You don't need to think anymore about it, take the materials list that is there and you can start your first cabinet.

In the past, I have tried every conceivable joining of the back and sides. I have both butt jointed the boards and rebated - trying to find what was best. Danny takes a grand leap and proposes butt joints - period. With PC board, that makes sense. Once you cut a rabbet, the strength of this material is reduced greatly - not to mention much less dust. The back sides showing is something of concern for end cabinets only and is easy to deal with.
He also frowns on using glue. I am not sure whether this is because it isn't necessary, or messy or that Euro style cabinets were meant to be disassembled and moved with the rest of the furniture when moving.
He doesn't give up gluing easily. He goes into considerable detail discussing the use of dowels and other mechanical fasteners.

In his step by step, he very clearly has a set of procedures that work. You start by cutting the pieces to size. This is followed by applying edge banding on front/visible edges. Then drill the system holes.then - etc.
I like this because it will mean that I wont have to try to add the white edging after I have assembled the unit. I don't think I have a monopoly on getting steps out of order. Fact is, that it what is great about this new book - you can find the type of cabinet you want to make, and then make it.

In fact, that is exactly what I am going to do. I can always use a new cabinet in the shop and there is no better way for me to learn the specifics, per Danny Proulx, than for me to go ahead and do it.

And since I have the website to do these types of projects, these two cabinets (upper and base) will be great projects for me, and able assistant Beth, to take on and photograph step-by-step. I have asked Danny if I can have his permission to do that, he said "yes, but don't show too much of the illustrations. He has a lot of money in them - I can see that. But, he was nice enough to offer copies for me to distribute as a giveaway - so stay tuned on the website for more information on that.

The books discusses many fasteners, hinges, edge treatments, etc. I will try to include many of these on the web pages. One picture is still worth a thousand words.

So, a special thanks to Danny Proulx for giving us this fine book. I expect to use it many times in the years to come - and my cabinetry should be the better for it. By the way, for those who might think that I am abandoning face frames - no way, nor is Danny. He includes a complete section on using these cabinets with face frames.

John Lucas

Editor's Note: You can find out more about Danny Proulx's books at his website.

Back to the Gazette

Contact Us | Homepage
We encourage all our visitors to send us
their thoughts, suggestions and complaints.