WoodCentral's Book Reviews
The Complete Kitchen Cabinetmaker

The Complete Kitchen Cabinetmaker
by Robert W. Lang

Cambium Press: 2006
Paperback, 224 pp., $22.95
ISBN 1-892836-22-x

     Building kitchen cabinets is a big job, in terms of sheer size, complexity and expense; if you aren't sure about what you're doing, the results can be disappointing or worse. Bob Lang's latest book takes the mystery out of this specialized type of cabinetry - from the planning stage all the way through installation - and gives you a firm foundation for designing and building kitchen cabinets from scratch.
     The book begins with short discussions of the two major cabinet types - frameless and face-frame - and of several hybrids and variations, with valuable insights on the advantages, disadvantages and aesthetic possibilities of each. The discussions include recommendations for making the most of "32mm system" componentry in a small shop setting: valuable information for anyone confused by all the specialized drilling, assembly and hardware features of this European cabinet fabrication system.
     Next, Lang devotes two chapters to parts lists and cabinet variations, with illustrated sections on how to develop a floor plan and parts lists, and how to estimate the cost of a project. The writing is aimed at the intermediate to advanced amateur and is interspersed with reality checks and good advice at every step of the way. The cabinet variation chapter focuses on generic cabinet design options for straight wall and base cabinets as well as specialty cabinets for inside corners, islands, peninsulas and appliances. Crisp, schematic CAD drawings illustrate the options clearly.
     From here, the book launches into a thorough explanation of how to actually build your cabinets, with in-depth discussions of materials, fasteners, hardware, jigs, tools and techniques -- with more good advice and time-saving tips at every turn. Further discussions of countertops, working with laminates, building bases, finishing and installation round out the book.
     If you want an "idea book" with juicy color photography and talk of aesthetics, this is not the book for you. But, if you're ready to translate your ideas into reality, you won't find a more jam-packed "how-to" manual than The Complete Kitchen Cabinetmaker. It is a book written for woodworkers by an author who has been there and done that. I recommend it highly.

. . . Ellis Walentine