Lumber Box

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Ikea cabinets are great. They pretty much think of everything and for the most part installation is a breeze. That said after talking to a few people that owned them and doing a bit of research on our own, we weren’t the biggest fan of the plastic legs.

Ikea Kitchen Cabinet Legs
Don’t get me wrong, even this is a genius idea. You have the option of free standing look or traditional look and they are very easy to level but the idea of setting all the weight of the cabinets, their contents, and the countertops onto 4 dinky legs seemed, well, sub-par. The screenshots below from this Ikea installation video (which by the way looks like something straight out of the early 90s. Right down to the jean button downs) should give you a better idea of what I mean.

Ikea Kitchen Cabinet Legs Plastic
Cabinet on legs Our friends, Dan and Jennifer, who also have Ikea cabinets, recommended building a frame for the cabinets to sit on instead of using the kit legs and being the architect that he is (boom, added credibility) he drafted up this little sketch to help paint a better picture of the construction.
Ikea Base Frame Because the traditional toe kick depth is roughly 3″ and the cabinets are 24″ deep, Dan recommended building the frame at ## x 21. Of course, I went about this a bit backward but with the same result. Here’s what I did:

1) I measured out the length I needed for the cabinets – for example the lazy susan to the right of the dishwasher needed a 37″ platform.

2) I measured and cut two 2x4s at 37″.

3) Then, because a 2×4 depth is actually only 1.5″ (which when doubled equals 3″) I subtracted 3″ inches from 21 to get 18″.

4) I cut all of my depth pieces to 18″. When all was said and done I had a box 37″ long x 21″ deep.

Not too bad. Thanks Dan! Here is what the frames looked like before adding the fastening and adding the top layer. Not too shabby! 🙂

Frame What’s great about building this lumber box is that you can do all of your leveling, setting, straightening, positioning, etc all before the cabinets go in. Then it’s as easy as tossing a cabinet (probably shouldn’t actually toss) onto the platform, sliding it into place and installing. So if you take a look at that diagram, the next step is to put them in place and level everything off with shims. Then, with everything straight you cut yourself a couple leveling blocks aka scrap 2x4s and screw them into the sublfoor inside your box. This will give you something to attach your frame to and hold it in place.
CU of Diagram Once everything is level and secure, it’s time to install the platform. For this, I use 3/4″ particle board but as Dan notes, you can also use 3/4″ OSB or Plywood.

Platform

Screw it in nice and snug and you’ve got yourself a completed, level, lumber box. We don’t have pictures of it yet because we’re not ready to put finishing touches on but you should top it all off with quarter inch toe kick molding (sold at all the big box stores). You know, so you don’t have a giant 2×4 showing. This should make cabinet installation as breeze (and by breeze I mean facepalm, headdesk, bearable).

Have you installed Ikea cabinets or done something similar to this? What do you think?

Update: In the meantime check out some of our efforts leading up to this: The First PlanThe Revised PlanThe DeliveryAnd So It BeginsUpper CabinetsCounterslower cabinetsovenhalf wallthe listdrywall, last second changes.

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