Understanding the basic anatomy of a kitchen carcass

Kitchen cabinets come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but it is always recommended to stick to the standard sizes. The three standard components that make up a set are usually, floor units, tall units and wall units.An acceptable working height is 902mm.

Kitchen components

Floor units consists of three parts – the Formica LifeSeal Worktop (32mm), The cupboard carcass (720mm) and the kick plate, or legs (150mm). Depths can vary, but standard Formica worktops are 600mm wide. This means your carcass shouldn’t be deeper than 560mm if you still want to fit a 16mm thick door and handle that doesn’t protrude further than the worktop.

Tall units, vary in height and depth (depth is not dictated by worktops here), but a standard height to go on will be 2 180mm. This includes a 150mm kickplate.

Wall units also vary in height from a single shelf, to 300mm boxes, to a standard 1080mm high cupboard. Most of these wall units measure 300mm deep but there are instances where they will be deeper: an example is microwave boxes. An easy, workable space between the worktop and bottom of the wall unit is 550mm.

Design and assembly

When you design a cupboard keep the material thickness in mind. For quality and aesthetic reasons, kitchen cupboards are best made with 16mm thick Melawood and all horizontal pieces are always screwed between the two verticals panels.

For example; if a cupboard is 450mm wide the inside shelfspace will be 418mm. Work out your cutting list and have all the panels cut and edged by a reputable supplier for the best results.

Start assembling your carcass by standing the two verticals upright. Ensure you have an extra pair of hands to help. As per the attached picture, screw in the top, front and back cleats with 3.5 x 30mm cut screws after drilling a 3mm pilot hole.Then screw in the base and attach the backboard (3mm hardboard) with small 16mm screws.

I like to use PG Bison wood based products for cupboards. Material is supplied in sheets of 2740 x 1830mm. Choose the material you like from PG Bison’s colour range and be sure to keep the texture and grain in mind when you do so. Grain is especially important when you submit your cutting list. The panels must be cut so all the grain runs either vertically or horizontally.