Open Wall Cabinet - 36" Wide x 30" Tall

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It took great thought, time and careful planning to build this here cabinet.

Yes, we sure did spend hours considering exactly how "off" we should build the face frame from the carcass.  Not only is the carcass several inches too tall, the face frame is an extra inch wide.  

Many hours.  Of careful planning.

To get this cabinet built just right.

And we are so proud of it!

Here's why.  In the corner of this kitchen, there is a return air duct smack dab where the top of the kitchen cabinet would go.  

We'd have to move the air duct to fit a cabinet in there that matched the rest of the cabinets.

Or we'd have to build a wonky cabinet around the air duct.

If it's a choice of doing drywall or making sawdust, well, that's a no brainer.

We'll take the sawdust.

So we decided to make the carcass of the cabinet as tall as the ceiling height to allow the air duct to fit inside the cabinet, BUT keep the face frame the same height as the neighboring cabinets for consistency.  Since this cabinet is in a corner, we also used a 1x3 at the left edge to tie into the neighboring cabinet at 90 degrees.

We cut a hole out in the back of the cabinet for the air duct, and hung the cabinet.

Then we blocked on top of the cabinet with 3/4" material (in the open space above the face frame)

And also added blocking for all the other cabinets to support our crown moulding (it's not actually crown, it's the same stuff we used for our window and door headers, flat on the back side).

Then we just cut the crown and fit it,

Nailed it up,

And you'd never know that this cabinet actually at one point looked like we'd forgotten how to read a tape measure.

I'm sharing with you the plans for an open 36" wall cabinet below, but just in case you find yourself in a corner with a duct in the way, here's the mods we made:

Enjoy the plans following!


Ana + Family

Dimensions shown above


Shopping List

3/4" plywood (18 linear feet) ripped into depth of cabinet (we did 10-1/4" but you can choose any width just make sure the width is consistent from cabinet to cabinet)
1/2 sheet of 1/4" plywood
scrap plywood piece for top support/hanging cabinet
3 feet of 1x3s
8 feet of 1x2s
1-1/4" nails for attaching face frame (unless you use pocket holes) or fixed shelves
3/4" nails for attaching back
1-1/4" pocket holes for building and attaching frame
shelf pins if you use adjustable shelves
edge banding for front edges of shelves

Cut List

2 - 3/4" plywood @ 10-1/4" (or your rip width) x 30" (sides)
2 - 3/4" plywood @ 10-1/4" (or your rip width) x 34" (top and bottom)
1 - 3/4" plywood or 1x4 @ 34" (can be different width, this piece is just used for hanging on wall)
1 - 1/4" plywood 30" x 35-1/2" (back)

1 - 1x3 @ 36"
1- 1x2 @ 36"
2 - 1x2 @ 26"

Fixed with front edgebanding - cut 36" long and trim front edge back 1/8" for edge banding
Adjustable with front edgebanding - cut 35-3/4" long and trim front edge back 1/8" for edge banding

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Miter Saw
Table Saw
Brad Nailer
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

Build your carcass by attaching top and bottom to sides. Remember to keep all pocket holes on outsides - the neighboring cabinets or end panels will finish out outsides when you install your kitchen.

TIP: Drill 3/4" pocket holes facing forward along all top, bottom and side edges for attaching face frame in later steps.

Step 2

You'll need something for hanging the cabinet on the wall. We use scraps from the carcass plywood (but you could use a 1x4 here too) attached from the back with pocket holes.

Step 3

Attach back with nails and glue. We use 3/4" nails.

Step 4

Build the face frame first with 3/4" pocket holes and 1-1/4" pocket hole screws, then attach through the pocket holes you drilled in step 1 with 1-1/4" pocket hole screws. The face frame will overhang the sides by 1/4", but is flush to top and bottom of sides.

Step 5

Step 6

Hang cabinet through top back support to studs in walls.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.