Free Woodworking Plans to Build an Under Sink Base Cabinet

10.15.10 By //
You Can Build This! Easy DIY Furniture Plans from The Design Confidential with Complete Instructions on How to Build an Under Sink Base Cabinet via @thedesconf

On we head through our Dream Kitchen Series, with a Base Cabinet for your sink area. This unit is similar to a standard double base cabinet in size, yet is quite different in construction, in that it needs to house a sink component as well as disguise the fact that it is housing it, at least from the front. It’s also typically more functional to have one single lower cabinet underneath the sink with french doors in essence, rather than 2 separate cabinets, or doors that are separated by part of the face frame.

We will continue with additional wall and base cabinet systems, a few other specialty items, and quite a few styling options for doors and drawers…stay tuned for those.

As with all of our plans, you are building at your own risk and you should have a firm understanding of building in general before you attempt many of our plans (some are easy as pie and perfect for beginners). With that, go forth, have fun, take lots of pictures and share them in a showcase on the site or on social media with the hashtag #builtTDCtuff and we will share our faves! Be sure to tag @thedesignconfidential on Instagram / FB and @thedesconf on Twitter / Pinterest. If you are a blogger and you post about your build, don’t forget to include a link to your post on your showcase here. Don’t forget… for all of our newer plans, clicking on the images will let them expand to enormous sizes with much greater clarity. The older plans may need updating so please let us know if you need one fixed!

THINGS TO NOTE // This plan will have a false drawer front on top, to blend with the other pieces in your kitchen and hide your sink component, while still remaining functional for the sink. It calls for double doors that will are slightly larger than what is required if the double base unit has a divider since we will want the doors to be wide enough to close completely without leaving a gap. If you prefer to have one of those little tilt out drawers (not really a drawer, not a cabinet exactly either, but can’t recall what these are called at the moment) instead of a having a simple and stationary false front (to hold sponges or scrubbers perhaps), I will provide a plan for that as well, and you will have the option.

We have already completed the Base Cabinet, Wall Cabinet , Pantry and Open Shelving Wall Cabinet plans as well as a door and drawer styling for a Farmhouse look. We have quite a few more plans to tackle before we can complete the dream kitchen series! With so many options for decorative touches and styles, my hope is to provide you with an extensive collection to pick and choose from, until your heart’s content.

This is a standard Base Cabinet Size for a drop in sink. The farmhouse style, oversized basins that show on the front of the cabinet unit will be constructed differently and I will provide plans for that as well. Some sinks are placed in a kitchen island or alongside a 3 drawer unit on one side and dishwasher on the other, and we will cover those options too!

This plan accounts for a counter top that is 1 1/2″ thick in total (with the backer and the counter material). If you plan to choose a counter top that is only 3/4″ thick and doesn’t require a backer board or mounting piece to install properly, you will need to increase the height of the cabinet sides and face frame by 3/4″ if you prefer for your bottom cabinetry to be a standard 36″ height.

Also note that I decided to leave out the back for this cabinet. I think it is easier and more cost effective to leave it open, if it will back up to a wall or other surface, and to allow for the plumbing to exist under there, without having additional surfaces that need to be purchased and cut to accommodate your pipes and parts. I felt that if you were to have some sort of water crisis or pluming, pipe, or disposal problem occur having full, uninhibited access down there would be favorable. After taking a peak at the cabinetry in my own home it appears that perhaps I am on to something here since we don’t have backs on any of the sink units in either the kitchen or any of the bathrooms. Maybe the builder and I were both thinking on the cheap? or with practicality…either way…

This plan also just so happens to be very similar to (or exactly the same as) one that might be used in a bathroom. Just sayin…

Please note that counter heights tend to run either 33″ or 36″ and that 36″ is what you see most often in homes. A 33″ unit might be more comfortable in a bathroom or if you aren’t of the taller persuasion (me) and in particular for a bathroom used by the kiddos and other extemporaneous folks.

Once we finish the Kitchen Series (or as we move along through it, we will also begin a bathroom collection so if you are drooling over my statement above and the building juices are beginning to boil…stay tuned. The skill set and the techniques will be exactly the same so we will have no problem making the transition! Exciting right? Oh the possibilities…

If there is an area of your home you are looking to remodel, or create from scratch, please feel free to request plans for that area in the project suggestion topic of the Forum. I tend to wander through drawing plans in a willy-nilly sort of manner, unless I have a specific need of my own, so your suggestions or requests are very welcome and provide me with a little direction.

  • 1/2 sheet- 3/4″ Plywood (**a lower grade is fine OR you can opt to use Melamine here for easily cleaned and maintained cabinetry that is a bit more water resistant, this is for a sink unit after all, and accidents are likely to occur at some point).
  • 1/2 sheet – 1/2″ Plywood (**a lower grade is fine OR just as above you can opt for Melamine)
  • 1/2 sheet – 1/4″ Plywood **important note: this will be showing on the sides of any outside cabinets, so if you are planning on staining your cabinetry and if this unit will have an exposed edge or two, you will want to buy something that matches your face frame wood specie or that has a type of grain pattern, appearance, and quality that you want your kitchen to have throughout. Your face frame, outside panels (that are exposed), kick plates, doors, and drawers should all be as consistent as possible. Different species will accept stain differently and differing grain patterns and colors (oak versus birch or maple) will potentially be very obvious, after you sand and finish.
  • 2 – 1×2 at 10′ (34 1/2″ of this is for the nailing cleat and can be substituted with any board you already own, if you prefer to save money or use materials from other cabinet plans or furniture, the width doesn’t really matter as long as it is at least 1 1/2″ and is no more than 1″ thick (3/4″ actual thickness, so a 3/4″ plywood strip is also an option) ** If you choose to substitute for the cleat you only need 1 – 1×2 at 10′ and 1 – 1×2 at 6′.
  • 1 – 1×6 at 6′ (you can also cut a narrow strip from your 3/4″ ply or melamine if you prefer (some folks prefer to avoid making cuts whenever possible and prefer prefab board sizes), this is just for support and to provide a surface for attaching the face frame to later and possibly for attaching the tilt out drawer hardware to, if you go that route later.)
  • 2 – 1/4″ Ply at 34 1/2″ x 23 1/4″ Outside Panels
  • 2 – 1/2″ Ply at 5″ x 23 1/4″ Lower Interior Panels – can also be melamine or have laminate coating
  • 2 – 1/2″ Ply at 28 3/4″ x 23 1/4″ Upper Interior Panels – can also be melamine or have laminate coating
  • 1 – 3/4″ Ply at 10 7/8″ x 23 1/4″ Bottom Shelf

**4 – 3/4″ Ply at 4″ x 4″ Right Triangles (these are the corner blocks and don’t have to be exact. The hypotenuse would be 5 21/32″ for a 4″ right triangle) ** If your sink component doesn’t allow for the corner blocks because they protrude to far, you can use a 1×3 or 1×4 fastened perpendicularly to the interior panel, that runs the depth of your interior panel from the front to the cleat (22 1/2″).

  • 1 – 5″ x 36″ – Kick Plate. It is preferable that you use solid wood for this so you don’t have to worry about finished edges, and this plan shows a 3/4″ thick kick plate (standard 1″ board thickness), BUT, this can be any thickness you prefer. Just keep in mind if you use plywood or a standard prefab 1/4″ kick plate it may not have finished edges, so this is a matter of preference.
  • 1 – 1×2 at 34 1/2″ Cleat (runs along the back to allow you to attach to the wall, if you want to use materials you already have, this can be any board type: 1×3, 1×5, etc.)
  • 2 – 1×2 at 30″ Stiles (Sides of Face Frame)
  • 3 – 1×2 at 33″ Rails (Top, Bottom, and Middle)

**2 – 1×6 at 22 1/2″ Supports (can also be 3/4″ ply or melamine, anything that is 3/4″ in thickness and should be a minimum of 5 1/2″ in width but can be as large as 6 1/4″ or so)

** this symbol suggests modifications or additional options are listed and should be read through before purchasing and cutting.

**Please note that I have designed this plan in such a manner as to allow you to build it without having to own a table saw and without the need for creating dadoes and rabbits while still achieving the same well supported and sturdy cabinetry of a professional. We are able to recreate the same framework using multiple panels and leaving spaces between vertical pieces to accommodate shelving and provide the same type of support system that creating dadoes would provide. This method for constructing cabinetry is entirely my own creation, and the laws of physics dictate that it will be equally as strong (perhaps even more so than if you were to carve out and remove sections from a single 3/4″ panel.

** If you own a table saw or router and love the chance to use it, you can build any of the cabinetry units using a single 3/4″ plywood panel rather than using a 1/2″ and 1/4″ combined. You will create your rabbets, dadoes, and grooves sized according to my spacing, as provided in the plans, and created by the different panel heights, lengths, and widths. If the interior panel in my plan is 3/4″ shorter than the outside panel, then this indicates that you need to create a dado that is 3/4″ x 1/2″ deep (interior panels are 1/2″ thickness) and with the appropriate length I have indicated.

**If you aren’t using a Kreg Jig, or for fastening in places that don’t call for one, always Pre-Drill and Counter Sink for the most professional appearance and ease of fastening (for beginners, your screws will be easier to screw in if you pre-drill). Using wood glue and clamps will help you keep your boards together while pre-drilling, countersinking, and fastening.

**Join Boards with a Pocket Hole system whenever possible (I suppose that means I am saying, buy one if you can…the Jr will work just fine and costs only $39), be sure to place your pocket holes out of site (underneath or behind whenever possible) because they will leave quite a hole to fill otherwise and if you are staining this is either problematic or expensive depending on whether you use wood filler or Kreg Plugs. Even wood filler that claims it’s stainable will take the stain differently than the wood, and will be visible.

**Check for Square after EACH step, making it a habit is the best modus operandi for building, until you are able to tell by sight if something is off (so pretty much never, for most folks). It will really matter in this project, when you go to attach the face frame, or hang a set of doors or drawers. An un-square cabinet unit will cause a world of issues later so check throughout and correct if necessary.

** As always, adhere to all safety standards and guidelines (wear safety glasses and gloves if you can. Be sure you are wearing proper footwear and clothing, and if you are prone to injury or already have one a back brace/back support/tool belt overall set is pretty nifty!

** This set of plans allows for a counter top that is 1 1/2″ thick which is typical for granite, marble, most tile even butcher block. For most counter top applications you will need a backer board that is 3/4″ to support it and fasten it to, though some tile applications will allow for 1/2″ backer, in which case it will be up to you as to whether you adjust your cabinet height to accommodate the additional 1/4″ for standard height, leave it as is or just use 3/4″ backer. If you plan to choose a counter top that is only 3/4″ thick and doesn’t require a backer board or mounting piece to install properly(can’t think of many off the top of my head, but…you never know), you will need to increase the height of this cabinet sides and face frame by 3/4″ to reach standard counter height (or disregard that extra 3/4″) or decrease the cabinet size by 2 1/4″ to lower to 33″ high cabinetry.

Cut your Side Panels to size and notch out as indicated in the diagram below.

Cut the interior panels to size as indicated: I have made this so easy for you in the way I have designed this. You don’t need a table saw to create Dadoes, and it isn’t necessary to carve out a notch for the nailing cleat unless you have some great desire to use your table saw or other saw type…this is just plain easy.

Don’t forget both the outside panel above and both interior panels will be mirrored on the other side, so you will need to double the number shown.

Attach the cleats, shelf and corner blocks to the interior panels. The cleat is is how you will ultimately attach your cabinet to the wall using your dry wall screws, if you fear you may be working with a wall that is uneven consider leaving 1/8″ space just behind the cleat to accommodate any irregularities and allow extra space to stabilize and level your unit as needed.
Use your Kreg set for 1/2″ stock for each of these attachments and your 1″ PHS to fasten . If you aren’t using a Kreg Jig, you will fasten using 1 1/4″ screws from the outside of the interior panels and from underneath the shelf prior fastening to the Upper Interior Panel, then glue the Lower Interior Panel to the bottom of the shelf. It will be stable because of how it will sit on the Lower Interior Panel and will be secured in place once you attach the Outside Panels.
If your sink component doesn’t fit using the corner blocks as indicated below, you can replace them with a 1×3 or 1×4 that runs along each upper interior panel from front to back, and fasten to the interior panels in the same manner as the corner blocks would have been attached, using your Kreg Jig set for 1/2″ stock and your 1″ PHS, then you will place the vertical supports (in the next step) directly below these supports and they will provide an additional level of support to the perpendicular boards. See 2nd diagram in this step to view the diagram for the boards as they would be positioned and attached.

If you are replacing the corner blocks with a board to allow for a wider sink basin, they will attach as shown below:

Attach the Supports, Notch out and attach the Kick Plate: The supports will run the depth of your panel and will sit flush with the front. Secure them to the cleat and to the corner blocks and it will provide extra support for them.

Notch out a 3/4″ Square from both top corners of your Kick Plate. If you are using a Kick Plate that is 1/2″ – 3/4″ thick, you can fasten from behind using your Kreg Jig set for 1/2″ stock and your 1″ PHS. You can also use your finish nails to fasten from the front, into the lower panels. If you are using a 1/4″ thick Kick Plate, fastening with finish nails from the front, is a how you will attach it.

Create your Face Frame: use your Kreg Jig set for 3/4″ stock and use your 1 1/4″ PHS. Place your pocket holes on the rails (horizontal pieces). Fasten to your cabinet using 2″ finish nails and glue. You can fasten the face frame to the panels, shelf, supports and the corner blocks to ensure a tight and secure fit (the bottom rail to the shelf, the middle rail to the supports, the top rail to the corner blocks, etc.). After your glue has set or you have attached the face frame to the cabinet unit, you can run a thin line of wood filler down the seam to prevent water entry and to disguise the attachment. You may need to fill this more than once since filler has a tendency to shrink as it dries.

Fill any remaining visible holes, if you have any, sand, and finish as desired. The manner in which this plan was designed allows you to avoid most visible holes with exception of the Face Frame and your finish nails…But, they are awfully small so it shouldn’t be very obvious if you are staining, assuming you don’t go crazy with the nail gun.

// Disclaimer: Some rights reserved. Private use only. Feel Free to link to any of my plans so long as you ONLY use 1 image and provide an ADEQUATE link back to the original source and appropriate plan! Plans from this page are not to be used for commercial purposes or republished without the express written consent of Rayan Turner, The Design Confidential. By accessing or using any part of the web site, you agree to become bound by the terms and conditions of this website as outlined under Terms of Use. If you do not agree to all the terms and conditions of this agreement, then you may not access the Website or use any services. The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by The Design and while we endeavor to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, personal injury or death, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of information or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this website. I hope to provide accurate plans, however, I cannot guarantee each plan for accuracy. Not every plan that I post has been built and tested, so you are building at your own risk. It is recommended that you have a clear understanding of how the project works before beginning any project. Please contact me if you find an error or inaccuracy so that I might fix it. The Design is inspired by but does not replicate exact designs, any similarities between these plans and items sold at specialty retailers is coincidental and not endorsed by or related to any said retailers. // Affiliate links are used for tools and materials. The Design Confidential will earn a small commission for any items purchased using these links. Thank you for your support – every little bit counts!

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