Author Topic: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?  (Read 1333 times)

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Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 567
Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« on: November 12, 2020, 12:32 PM »
I've cut several cabinets without a toe kick since I planned to put them on casters for shop mobility/flexibility; however, in reality, they'll probably never be moved around and I'm now considering to use them as miter station base cabinets.

The cabinets would need to be stable and level for a miter station so I'll need to add leveling feet, make an adjustable ladder base, etc. and I'm considering which method would will be best for this purpose as well as be good practice for future kitchen cabinets should I make them with a detached toe kick.

That said, do you make cabinets with an integrated or detached toe kick and why do you use that method ... does it help with sheet efficiencies, cutting, assembly, installation, any other aspect of cabinet making, or is it just what you do?

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Offline ChuckM

  • Posts: 2192
Re: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2020, 12:47 PM »
Some form of toe kick is desirable, but the traditional toe kick means storage space underneath the cabinet is wasted. I'd either use a removable toe kick (more work) or simply raise up the cabinet with some kind of a stand or legs so the floor space under the cabinet can be used. The space was handy for storing slides, c-clamps etc. (kept in strays and slid under the cabinet)  in the past for me.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2020, 01:28 PM by ChuckM »

Offline Tim Raleigh

  • Posts: 3585
    • Oakville Cabinetry
Re: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2020, 12:55 PM »
The cabinets would need to be stable and level for a miter station so I'll need to add leveling feet, make an adjustable ladder base, etc. and I'm considering which method would will be best for this purpose as well as be good practice for future kitchen cabinets should I make them with a detached toe kick.
I like the adjustable plastic feet for most applications. The snap on or stick on fixtures for the kick plates work well.

That said, do you make cabinets with an integrated or detached toe kick and why do you use that method ... does it help with sheet efficiencies, cutting, assembly, installation, any other aspect of cabinet making, or is it just what you do?
Always detached, makes leveling and scribing easier and quicker.
Tim

Offline cpw

  • Posts: 241
Re: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2020, 12:58 PM »
Bob Lang discusses this in his kitchen cabinet book.

You can do them either way, but having a separate toe kick means you can level the toe kick first without having the heavy run of cabinets already screwed together.  If you have a run of separate cabinets, you need to skin over the toe kicks to have a single board anyway.

You can also use any cheap offcuts to make the 4" high platforms.  The remaining 30.5" high * 3 does conveniently fit within an 8' sheet of plywood vs. 34.5 * 3 would not.

For my pantry, I put a small drawer underneath the cabinet in the toe kick space, which we keep our griddle and a few other big flat things there.

Offline kevinculle

  • Posts: 380
Re: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2020, 01:07 PM »
By a separate toe kick I think you mean a plinth, a base that runs the length of a run of base cabinets, is the depth and height of the toe kick, and is placed and leveled then cabinets attached on top.  I always do base cabinets this way as it simplifies cabinet construction, reduces height of cabinet boxes by the toe kick height making stock utilization better, and results in a much easier and more accurate installation than trying to align and level individual cabinets.

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 567
Re: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2020, 02:15 PM »
Wow, I assumed the "detached toe kick" crowd would be smaller so I'm surprised to see every reply indicating the opposite!!

I've definitely been a fan of the push to open drawer slides in the toe kick area where people have stored things in the kitchen and this would carry over well to the shop.  I agree it would be far easier to level a base and then set cabinets on top and fix to the base/wall than individual leveling and thanks for sharing the plywood efficiency math, another great advantage as sheets aren't cheap.

I watched a video of a base for a kitchen island and seen him scribe the skin on the base but hadn't thought much about that aspect of things, excellent point!

What leg/leveling adjusters do you recommend on a "ladder base" or bottom of a cabinet?

Offline DynaGlide

  • Posts: 791
Re: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2020, 02:48 PM »
When I did my office I used the leg levelers and detachable toe kicks. I hide all the power strips and power adapters for my electronics under the cabinets and can pop off the toe kick when I need access.
Instagram @matts.garage

Offline Stan Tillinghast

  • Posts: 132
Re: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2020, 02:57 PM »
Oh, I like the idea of hiding the power strips, etc. behind the toe kick! I will borrow that idea for the cabinets in my study...when I get around to them.

Offline afish

  • Posts: 211
Re: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2020, 03:04 PM »
I also like to screw a 2x4 ledger (can be ripped if needed) screwed along the bottom of the wall (into studs) that is level. I set the back of the cabinet on it for a nice level starting point. Then just use the plastic leveling feet along the front.  Makes it easy to level and there is no reaching way to the back to make adjustments. 

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 567
Re: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2020, 04:34 PM »
When I did my office I used the leg levelers and detachable toe kicks. I hide all the power strips and power adapters for my electronics under the cabinets and can pop off the toe kick when I need access.

I was considering to mount LED power supplies in the back of the cabinet but I suspect this would be a much easier way to access/replace them ... excellent idea!

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 567
Re: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2020, 04:36 PM »
I also like to screw a 2x4 ledger (can be ripped if needed) screwed along the bottom of the wall (into studs) that is level. I set the back of the cabinet on it for a nice level starting point. Then just use the plastic leveling feet along the front.  Makes it easy to level and there is no reaching way to the back to make adjustments.

This is an interesting idea.  I know some mention Granite can crack if there's shifting in the base ... I wonder if your method prevents this shifting better than a traditional ladder base or front/rear leveling legs...

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 567
Re: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2020, 04:42 PM »
Bob Lang discusses this in his kitchen cabinet book.

You can do them either way, but having a separate toe kick means you can level the toe kick first without having the heavy run of cabinets already screwed together.  If you have a run of separate cabinets, you need to skin over the toe kicks to have a single board anyway.

You can also use any cheap offcuts to make the 4" high platforms.  The remaining 30.5" high * 3 does conveniently fit within an 8' sheet of plywood vs. 34.5 * 3 would not.

For my pantry, I put a small drawer underneath the cabinet in the toe kick space, which we keep our griddle and a few other big flat things there.

Did you align the toe kick panel with the bottom of the drawer so they're all slightly off the floor?  I've not found any examples on the FOG of this yet and curious how it looks with a gap off the floor.

Offline JimH2

  • Posts: 983
Re: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2020, 05:04 PM »
I use detached toe kicks* for long run built-ins as it is easier to the set the cabinets on a flat level service especially when they are the width of a wall. I never really have considered it for a kitchen though it does sound like a good idea.

*I almost always design built-ins so I can integrate the existing baseboard by adding it to the cabinet front (no toe kick). If the run is long I'll have an electrician add outlets in the baseboard in front of where they were on the wall.

For garages where the floor slope change can be significant it makes the job infinitely easier. I just finished a set of cabinets for a garage where the floor dropped 2+" over 8'. You know there are slope issues when you notice wood underneath the homeowners shelving units to keep everything level.

Offline cpw

  • Posts: 241
Re: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2020, 05:12 PM »
Did you align the toe kick panel with the bottom of the drawer so they're all slightly off the floor?  I've not found any examples on the FOG of this yet and curious how it looks with a gap off the floor.

So these are the two cabinets that do not actually have a separated toe kick.  They are 95" tall, as a monolithic unit, without any toe kick as it were.  Here is a picture open and closed.

323053-0323055-1

The base cabinets in the center have a platform, with enough room in the center for a heater that replaced the baseboard which used to be along the wall.323057-2

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 567
Re: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2020, 05:50 PM »
Did you align the toe kick panel with the bottom of the drawer so they're all slightly off the floor?  I've not found any examples on the FOG of this yet and curious how it looks with a gap off the floor.

So these are the two cabinets that do not actually have a separated toe kick.  They are 95" tall, as a monolithic unit, without any toe kick as it were.  Here is a picture open and closed.

(Attachment Link) (Attachment Link)

The base cabinets in the center have a platform, with enough room in the center for a heater that replaced the baseboard which used to be along the wall. (Attachment Link)

Thanks @cpw, those look great!!  I assume the drawer is on a slide to prevent it from just sliding on the floor?  I wouldn't have had any clue there was a drawer there!  I've seen some kitchen islands where the pillar is on a drawer slide and is a secret pull out drawer ... really neat.

Offline cpw

  • Posts: 241
Re: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2020, 06:01 PM »
Yes, the slides are Blum 562 undermount with the tip-on device so that if you push them in they pop open.  We don't actually use them incredibly often; but the 1/8" gap for the drawer front is enough to avoid scraping.  I think if they were heavily loaded, there might be enough play in the slide to cause some scraping.  I don't think we would notice it though, because we switched from hardwood to porcelain planks for the flooring; because muddy dog feet are not so different from sandpaper on a hardwood.

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 567
Re: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2020, 06:57 PM »
Nice!  Maybe stupid but I assume you level the base first and then install drawer slides/box?

Offline cpw

  • Posts: 241
Re: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2020, 07:54 PM »
For the toe kick drawer there was no separate base to level. The whole cabinet was installed, and then the floor, and I went back to do the slides and drawer box.  The front is attached after that with double stick table and then screws through the front of the drawer box.  Getting your hands or drill with an RA extension underneath there to install and adjust the slides can definitely be a PITA.

For the regular cabinets, I would level the base, then install the box, and then the doors/drawers.  The slides could be pre-installed or installed afterwards.  Either way, any adjustments need to be made after the whole run is installed to get the reveals right.

Offline afish

  • Posts: 211
Re: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2020, 08:21 PM »
I also like to screw a 2x4 ledger (can be ripped if needed) screwed along the bottom of the wall (into studs) that is level. I set the back of the cabinet on it for a nice level starting point. Then just use the plastic leveling feet along the front.  Makes it easy to level and there is no reaching way to the back to make adjustments.

This is an interesting idea.  I know some mention Granite can crack if there's shifting in the base ... I wonder if your method prevents this shifting better than a traditional ladder base or front/rear leveling legs...

Not sure, but its stout no doubt.  I have more faith in the ledger than the leveling feet. If its a long run I usually like to pack up and shim with some solid blocking in a couple spots (directly under some vertical sides) in the front just to make sure there isnt any issue with a heavy slab.  I also use rips of 3/4 ply if there are any left over.  2x4's used to be cheap but its hard to get good straight ones and now they are like 6 bucks. So if you are cutting the cabinets and have some narrow rips left its a perfect use for otherwise wood that is most likely going to become scrap.  Hit each stud with a BAS or two and you could park a car on it. If you where really concerned you could mix up some non shrink grout and pack it under but thats way overboard for me.   

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 567
Re: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2020, 09:36 AM »
I also like to screw a 2x4 ledger (can be ripped if needed) screwed along the bottom of the wall (into studs) that is level. I set the back of the cabinet on it for a nice level starting point. Then just use the plastic leveling feet along the front.  Makes it easy to level and there is no reaching way to the back to make adjustments.

This is an interesting idea.  I know some mention Granite can crack if there's shifting in the base ... I wonder if your method prevents this shifting better than a traditional ladder base or front/rear leveling legs...

Not sure, but its stout no doubt.  I have more faith in the ledger than the leveling feet. If its a long run I usually like to pack up and shim with some solid blocking in a couple spots (directly under some vertical sides) in the front just to make sure there isnt any issue with a heavy slab.  I also use rips of 3/4 ply if there are any left over.  2x4's used to be cheap but its hard to get good straight ones and now they are like 6 bucks. So if you are cutting the cabinets and have some narrow rips left its a perfect use for otherwise wood that is most likely going to become scrap.  Hit each stud with a BAS or two and you could park a car on it. If you where really concerned you could mix up some non shrink grout and pack it under but thats way overboard for me.

Do you use a 8 ft level to make sure the cheap 2x4's are straight?  Menards 2x4's can be pretty terrible...

Offline afish

  • Posts: 211
Re: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2020, 07:10 PM »
I usually use a small laser.  I set it on anything handy. Take a few readings to see how level the floor is and establish my starting point. Then measure down from the arbitrary laser height then transfer that measurement to all the corners and at the end of runs.  Then snap a chalk line and screw the ledger to the line tweaking it up or down as needed.  Nice and straight and solid with minimal fuss.  The ledger also helps provide support to the bottom panel on wide cabinets if you put heavy items in it, opposed to using just leveling feet front and back.  You can and some people do, put a leveling foot in the middle for this but its rare from what I have seen.   

Offline afish

  • Posts: 211
Re: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2020, 07:19 PM »
OH, and you are lucky to have a Menards.  We had them where I used to live but all we have here in S. Florida is lowes and HD.  Not sure if its a lowes/HD issue or a reginal thing but they are the worst stores.  The shelves look like they are going out of business.  If I was a HD stock owner I would be ticked they are losing money having all those holes on the shelves.  It almost never fails I have to go to both or a 3rd store to get everything I need.  I actually order as much as I can from Amazon or internet sources for anything I can because I hate going there.  Not sure if menards has changed but they always had stock and tons of items HD didnt even carry.  Menards is one of the few things I miss from Michigan along with coney dogs and golden city almond boneless chicken. :(

Offline acer66

  • Posts: 39
Re: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2020, 07:21 PM »
Detached.

Offline MaineShop

  • Posts: 66
Re: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2020, 09:04 AM »
On my jobs I always do a separate base that I level first, easier to level and we have a lot of older settled homes in New England so I am always having to level everything. Also it means I can get six side panels from a single 4x8 sheet and usually saves on waste. Another shop I work in does them all integrated. So I do both regularly depending on where I am working that day. My preference is for a detached base. However in small runs of a few base units or a vanity I will often do integrated toe kicks as it is less time on site.

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 6349
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: Cabinets - Attached or Detached Toe Kick?
« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2020, 09:32 AM »
We do detached. Set the ladder base to the floor, laser to check for level by measureing down, shims as needed. Our target finished cabinet height is normally 34-3/4. Even with a full gable side we do it this way. Leave the side a little long, scribe to floor.

With faceframe cabinets all of the shim work is hidden by the lower rail.

Euros, we install a lower valance on most. If I did a lot of euros, I'd go with adjustable legs.

Tom