Custom Mahogany Kitchen Build, Part 3: Sizing the Panels

This is the third post in a series documenting my method of construction for an entire set of custom kitchen cabinets. This series is not intended to be a full how-to tutorial, but rather to show the sequence of steps using photos and commentary. You can find all the posts in the series here. Please comment below or send follow-up questions to 

Now that all the cabinet sides and tops/bottoms are roughed out, they need to be cut precisely to the length and width. I will address how I determine all my dimensions in a separate post.

With the tracksawn edge against the fence of the tablesaw, I rip the panels down to 5mm wider than their final width on one side. Once all the panels of the same width have 1 clean edge, I set the fence for the final dimension and cut all the panels to final width. I avoid using the tracksawn edge as final whenever possible. I find the quality of cut on the table saw to be better – more plumb, less tearout, and just cleaner. 

For all plywood work I use a $20 Avanti 60 tooth blade. Plywood is tough on blades because of all the adhesive present, so I do not like using my expensive hardwood blades. Also visible in the photo below are my Jessem TS stock guides mounted to my table saw fence. As the piece is fed through the saw, the guides press it both down to the table and into the fence, preventing kickback and helping deliver a smooth, precise cut. 

Once the panels are all sized to width, they can be crosscut to final length. To create that first perpendicular cut I again use my Festool tracksaw along with the Festool MFT/3 work table. This table has a track-holding mechanism that allows it to be adjusted perfectly perpendicular to an edge.

To check for square I use my Starrett ruler and combination square like this:

Some panels exceed the width capacity for this table. Although it can be reconfigured for larger panels, I didn’t want to change the settings on the table. I created this quick setup to square large panels using a few clamps and a pair of 1-2-3 machine blocks.

Once all the panels have one square edge, I cut them to precise width on the table saw. Now I’ve got my stack of panels all cut to exact length and width. This set of parts is for the lower cabinet set only.

Thanks for reading. Up next I will make the solid wood edge banding.