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Please Help: Are these side panels right?

dav Member

I had custom cabinets built for kitchen. Bottom line is a lot of the details were wrong when the were finished. I am wondering if the side panels are supposed to be flush with the entire side? It looks weird to me. All of my side panels are one inch short of the back. Check photo for detail. Any information would be great. Thanks.

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3/15/15       #2: Please Help: Are these side panels ...
Anon Member


Yes, they are wrong. Someone ordered or built the wrong size panels.

Good luck

3/15/15       #3: Please Help: Are these side panels ...

You can't scribe that mitered door to fit a crooked wall, looks like they made the panel narrower and put the scribe behind the panel. There are other ways to do it but if it is consistent throughout and done neatly than it is part of the design.

3/15/15       #4: Please Help: Are these side panels ...
Ethan  Member


I don't see any scribe strip there at all. Looks like they made the end panel the same width as the cabinet side, then decided they wanted to make the door look inset without making a new end panel.

3/15/15       #5: Please Help: Are these side panels ...
John Langley  Member


I've got to say they are wrong ,I would want them to fill the void at least.

3/15/15       #6: Please Help: Are these side panels ...

I'm with Ethan, looks like they pushed it out to be flush to the front of the door, so not necessarily ordered or built wrong, installed wrong. It was made to be installed flush to the front edge of the cabinet, not the door.

Good thing is it's a pretty easy fix and won't leave any damage.

good luck,

3/16/15       #7: Please Help: Are these side panels ...
Mark V.

Interesting post…

While I agree that 1” appears to be excessive, I have been using this detail for a few years now. I shoot for 1/2 - 3/4” and this helps solve so many problems that I find in the field.

So for those that say that this is wrong, how do you deal with your upper or lower end panels when the wall is ¼”+ out of plumb in say 3 feet? Better yet, what if the wall is out 5/8” where you have a full height refrigerator end panel. I work in old homes, so these are not hypotheticals, but rather every day realities.

Do you use scribe molding?

Maybe order/make one style oversized? By how much? What if it is a mitered end panel or one that has an outside detail?

Do tell, because I am not 100% happy with the look, but like I said above, it does solve a bunch of problems and so far has been a 100% solution that works with every end panel that I have used.


3/16/15       #8: Please Help: Are these side panels ...

I have to chuckle. I'm always amused when I hear how ambiguous the term "custom" is used. Now I'm not looking to start a ruckus or flaming war here, but I'm just an old timer who was brought up in the world of true "custom" cabinetry. That, in my shop, means end panels are an integral part of the cabinet, not just a door ordered and screwed onto the end of a box. We usually allow about 1/4" scribe, which is checked with a level prior to the cabinets being built - true "custom" boxes..

I know, things have changed and just securing a loose door to the box ends have become an accepted standard, especially given today's cabinets are mostly frameless. Sigh.

That being said, to get back to the OP's question - I agree with JeffD that the panel should have been installed flush with the box front, not moved forward to the face plane of the doors. The fabricator could easily just order new doors, er, umm, I mean - panels, in a wider width to appease the customer. Easily swapped out given the method of securing end panels on this particular job. Or, just move them back (thanks, JeffD).

But hey, it's a subjective viewpoint and that's what makes life interesting. It would make for a boring life if we all just said "yea, me too"..

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3/16/15       #9: Please Help: Are these side panels ...
D Brown

Mark V, if the back wall is out then the cabinet needs shimming one way or the other.I do use scribe molding where needed.

Typically I make the back stile 2 1/2" like on most any wall end I do.
Usually there is no detail on the back edge to worry about. Every job varies but if I run a base shoe and a crown typically the scribe if used fits on top of the base and butts up to the crown.Usually run 13/16" X 1/4" .

3/16/15       #10: Please Help: Are these side panels ...
Alan F.

There is no industry standard or set of rules or guidelines that govern these details.
What did the shop drawings the shop that built your cabinets provide show?
What were the details on the proposal?

Asking other shops to make a subjective decision without all the facts will not get you an accurate answer.

The means and methods used by the shop you contracted with are used to accommodate deviations in construction and that is and acceptable detail.


3/16/15       #11: Please Help: Are these side panels ...
David R Sochar Member

"Custom" is such an abused term that most things called custom are only custom to a degree. The OP's photo represents one end of the 'custom' spectrum, while ML's photo of his work shows the other end. (note also the moldings, the tile, and the alignment)

Thank gawd for good work like ML's, or else no one would know what the hell a cabinet looked like. Bad enough that few care what they look like. No wonder this profession is hurting so badly.

The OP is a victim of poor specifications, poor drawings and a poor cabinetmaker that either does not know, or does not care.

3/16/15       #12: Please Help: Are these side panels ...
Bob Harkleroad


Apples and oranges... OP kitchen is frameless and has applied end panels very typical of what we do here in So. Cal. A mitered end panel presents the scribing issues already mentioned. I've done the same thing with an applied filler flush to the door face plane to be the scribed part. Perhaps a smaller shadow line would have been a better choice, but I have a hard time faulting the general idea.
ML on the other hand is offering a completely different construction and I don't see the relevance to the original question. No offense, I love inset face frame. Hate frameless... my 2 pennies.

3/16/15       #13: Please Help: Are these side panels ...
Jim Herron

I think you should refer to the shop drawings or the cabinetmaker.
When using profiled edge end panels I set them flush with the box not in plane with the doors. I haven't used profiled edge doors or end panels in quite a long time.
Square edge doors and end panels have been the norm and make scribing a panel to an out of plumb wall easy.

3/16/15       #14: Please Help: Are these side panels ...

I think some guys may be confusing "custom" with "expensive" when it comes to cabinetry. Custom simply means it was designed and built specifically for the client. As opposed to semi-custom which is fitting pre-determined box sizes, molding etc, to a clients dimensions. Euro style cabinetry is/can be just as custom as a full beaded face frame with inset doors. I build both and one costs about double plus what the other does. They're still both custom though.

So defining the more expensive cabinetry as custom, while scoffing at the more affordable types is really just cabinet snobbery. And some eluding to it as something which has lost it's way is ironic to me, when in reality modern kitchen cabinetry is not that much older than I am. Prior to this modern trend there wasn't much of cabinetry at all in kitchens! And in reality if most of us only did the highest forms of custom cabinetry, I'd guess there wouldn't be enough of us around to even have this forum.

Anyway I'll get off my soap box now as this isn't really helping the OP out anymore. His situation is a panel installed incorrectly, at least IMHO. Doesn't really even matter if it's custom of semi-custom, only that the person charged with installing did it wrong….again, IMHO.

good luck,

3/17/15       #15: Please Help: Are these side panels ...
Joe Member

I recently finished a job similar to this. The customer spec-ed applied doors for the ends. We spent a great deal of time working out the reveals both on the front and wall edges. When the cabinets were installed and the panels applied, the customer changed their mind and wanted the panels to be flush with the front of the doors. They were not happy with the space it left to move these panels forward, but accepted it. I offered to replace the panels at material cost (no Profit or labor), since they wanted the change. They chose to "live with it". If it was my fault, I would replace them at no cost.

My goal is to do what ever I can to help the customer love their cabinets. But I couldn't replace the doors for free.

As others have said, I would like to hear from the OP to see what was spec-ed. From what I see, I do not care for the 1" space either, but the doors are very nice and would never scribe that profile.

3/23/15       #16: Please Help: Are these side panels ...
Bruce H

The issue I see is the use of a mitered door as an end panel and the inability to scribe to an out of plumb wall. Who ever did it came up with a solution to the problem and the OP didn't like the result. I always have me end panels flush with the doors (euro construction, planted on end panels) and think anything else looks funny. Where the house is in question I don't make the end panels until the cabinets are installed. In that way I can make them fit in the shop instead of inventing a solution on the job site.

4/1/15       #17: Please Help: Are these side panels ...

We make our own product. So we do make our end panels 1/4" wider than the cabinet. They are attached to the box not applied.

However, I have in the past done a bit of ordering. In that situation I would have ordered a door/end panel 1/4" wider than the end of the cabinet planning on scribing it down to flush with the cabinet.

The end panel in this kitchen is not kind to the idea of scribing. Not a great design. However, I am also not a fan of mitered doors. Everyone likes different ways of doing things. We build cabinets atleast 3 different ways because we can, where as other shops build every cabinet the same because they can't or won't build them any other way for various reasons.

4/12/15       #18: Please Help: Are these side panels ...
Jason Scott

I think we don't have enough info to know if it was done wrong or not. It could be that that this is how the person who built the cabinets does it every time. Possibly there is a thicker base board that runs into the base cabinets and the builder was looking for continuity in his design. If the plan was to have the panel hit the wall then what happens when the wall is crooked with a miter door panel. If it was a standard cope and stick type door then I would say it was wrong, but there is not exactly some "cabinet builders code" that says it has to be done a certain way. I don't build cabinets exactly the same way that anyone else does.

My contract basically says that if it is not specified in the drawings or contract then details are left up to me.

You said multiple details were wrong. What was specified in your drawings/contract?

Were the details that you said are wrong different than what your drawings showed or are they different then what you thought you were getting? When it comes down to it there is nothing structurally wrong with that end panel. Would I have done it differently? I would probably have made it a 1/4" wider. I am sure some would say that was wrong. It is possible that the walls were crooked and there is scribe on the back of the box that could have been trimmed off if you had had straight walls.

I don't want to sound too negative about the whole thing but I hate to say someone did something wrong and should pay to fix without some more info.

My guess is that the original poster is a home owner who is unhappy with the work performed. Day tell me if I am wrong about that but that was the idea I got.

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