Routing Wood Veneer Flush to Pantry


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Old 11-16-22, 07:44 AM
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Routing Wood Veneer Flush to Pantry

Hi All,

Looking for some assistance with attaching/routing wood veneer to a pantry cabinet. Here is the situation:

- I am going to install a pantry cabinet, the left side is not flush
-
Plan was to install wood veneer to make it flush so the granite will have a strait edge flush against the pantry rather than a squiggly cut
-
The veneer is slightly thicker than 1/8" thick (0.140” on my caliper), but the gap is 1/4" deep. My plan was to use contact cement on both pieces and then route the edge smooth with my new Milwaukee portable router and flush bit. Two issues with this:

1) The back of the cabinet (where I would rest the bearing of the bit) is not flush. I am thinking here to put double sided tape with an appropriate thickness wood to make it flush so I can have a good edge to rest the bearing - thoughts?

2) Even with the veneer the cabinet will not be flush. I am thinking to get just regular unfinished veneer, then put the finished veneer on top - thoughts?

Home Depot by me carries 1/8” (nominal) plywood but have to see what the actual thickness is in person. Last thing I want to do is create the opposite problem (veneer sticking proud of the cabinet).

Below are some pics to help frame the discussion. Thanks for your input!

Design with pantry in question on the right:



Here's the gap - goal is to even that so the granite sits flush:


This is the veneer panel. Measures 0.140" (slightly larger than 1/8")

 
  #2  
Old 11-16-22, 08:14 AM
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Very confusing question.

If the 1/4 inch gap between the counter top and the cabinet side is caused by the cabinet trim (stile) then that is what should be modified by cutting it and letting the counter top slide in flush with the cabinet side. No veneer or filler required. Use a trim saw or oscillating tool to make the cut 1/4 inch deep.
 
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Old 11-16-22, 08:47 AM
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Option 1: You can disassemble the cabinets so you can route down the overhanging lip like 2john recommended. You could do it without disassembly and only route what you can then get the ends with some fussy hand work.

Option 2: It is fussy work but you can notch the granite to fit around the cabinet's protruding frame. I would get a diamond wheel for an angle grinder. Then if you want more fine control you can switch to a diamond wheel in a die grinder or Dremel for really fussy work.

Option 3: Do or don't veneer the end of the cabinet then install a filler strip to fill the gap.

Option 4: Get 1/4" thick veneer plywood as it seems a lot of your troubles are caused by using only veneer available at your local big box. Looking online some big box stores carry birch veneer 1/4" ply but if you look at other sources you can get oak, maple, ash...
 
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Old 11-16-22, 11:30 AM
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Thanks for the replies! To add some context, these are "semi custom" Kraftmaid cabinets which I ordered through HD.

I had the option to get flush sides, but it was presented I could just stick on the panel myself and save some cash - little did I know it would be more expensive lol.

Anyway, I cannot route the cabinet frame - It would leave exposed plywood and couldn't get the veneer to cover the part facing you.

The veneer I have is from Kraftmaid and matches the "molasses" stain color - something I doubt I could find in a box store.

The granite will be cut by the granite place so this is more just for aesthetics - it looks better if there is a flush end rather than a piece of granite cut to fit the gap.

The sales guy showed me what the product looked like with flush granite vs. cut and flush looks better.

Ideal situation would be if I had 1/4" veneer in the color of the cabinet then I could just install one piece and be done.

Edited to add - the 1/8" 4x8 of regular plywood is $20 so worth a shot.
 
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Old 11-16-22, 05:28 PM
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A 1/8 shim behind the 1/8 panel will work. However you may not need a full panel. Shim strips a few inches apart and across the top and bottom should be OK if you are not going to mount anything on the panel. For best results put the factory cut edge at the front against the cabinet trim. A field cut edge at the back will be less noticeable. Cut edges at the top and bottom will be covered by the cabinet and countertop.
 
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Old 11-16-22, 06:39 PM
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Just notch the extended stile, only the 3 cm where the granite will abut the cabinet, as 2John suggested in his first reply. There will be no exposed plywood; the granite will cover it up. The pro's do this all the time. Even if you order flush sides on the cabinet, it usually isn't perfectly flush. It's too late for you now, but the best way to avoid this problem is to order the small base cabinet 21" deep instead of 24. Then the countertop dies into the cabinet side well behind the stile.
 
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Old 11-17-22, 05:35 AM
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Thanks John and Carbide.

@Carbide - The cabinets are actually only 18" deep to accommodate the limited space in the area (it is next to the kitchen table - sideboard type setup and not in the main part of the kitchen.

I agree with your suggestion for future though - a more shallow base would resolve the issue.

Interesting idea about notching the stile to accommodate the granite - I will have to add that to my list of options. In my neighbor's kitchen (where I got the idea to install the "sideboard" pantry setup I am doing), the installers just cut the granite to fit around the stile. It looks sort of "afterthought".

One thing though, assuming I can get 1/8" plywood as a base for the side and put the veneer on top of that and it all sits flush with the stile, I am curious why this would not be a good solution? Or is it that it will not likely total 1/4"?

If not, it seems notching the stile would be the best option.

@John - I did not understand your suggestion at first but get it now; thanks!
 
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Old 11-17-22, 07:18 AM
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One thing though, assuming I can get 1/8" plywood as a base for the side and put the veneer on top of that and it all sits flush with the stile, I am curious why this would not be a good solution? Or is it that it will not likely total 1/4"?
Yes, lots of opportunity for it to look sloppy or an afterthought.

A nice clean small notch in an area that has a reason to be there will look more finished and professional. Cutting the softer material (wood) in an area that is not a focal point (as the granite countertop is) is easier and less noticeable. Your comment about the neighbor's kitchen supports this opinion. The cabinet is causing the "problem" that you are trying to solve--not the countertop.

DIYers tend to remember and obsess about these kinds of issues. If you don't point it out, others will not even notice (unless they are maybe DIYers, too, and will be impressed that you found such a good solution to a problem that they once also had.)

Further note; I took a class to build a birch twig chair taught by a Canadian. He said that people tend to look at things left-to-right. (I think it applies especially to artwork and it may be cultural to the West.) In any case he suggested that whenever possible we work right-to-left so that any issues that occur are corrected before getting to the point of initial observation on the left and are less noticed on the right.
 

Last edited by 2john02458; 11-17-22 at 07:47 AM.
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Old 11-17-22, 09:21 AM
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@John - LOL on that story!

I agree that fixing the pantry (cabinet) is better than the granite. I will have to test both ideas - I have cabinets in my office with a flush side and raised stile. Flushed looks good to me so I will see if the dimensions of the veneer add up. If not, then I will go the notch route.

Speaking of, any tricks for not damaging the cabinet while cutting? My plan would be to use a flush cut saw sitting on a piece of granite then maybe file the rest away. Biggest concern is scratching the surrounding finish on the pantry.

And totally agreed - DIYers (if anything like me) see the minor flaws as glaring even though no one else notices!
 
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Old 11-17-22, 11:32 AM
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Biggest concern is scratching the surrounding finish on the pantry.
Assuming that you are still going to use the 1/8 inch veneer and that the cut will be only 1/8 inch deep...

Make the cut before installing the veneer. That way you will have 1/8 inch clearance before hitting the cabinet side. Use a 1/8 inch piece of scrap against the cabinet as a guide to prevent cutting too deep. (Even so the only place you have to be concerned about cutting too deep is at the front where it might show. The cabinet side will be covered by the veneer so a cut or scratch there will be no problem.

If you are making the cut after the veneer is in place, use a piece of metal flashing against it to protect. Or use a multi-tool to make the cut straight-in keeping the cutting edge of the blade perpendicular to the cabinet.

Also recognize that wood in the gap will have to be chiseled out also. Very carefully at the front where it might be seen (score it with a sharp blade first.) Not so much at the back where it will be covered.
 
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Old 11-17-22, 12:27 PM
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Thanks John - great tips!
 
 

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