Cutting Out Toe-Kick Notches

Suggested jigs and methods for notching out cabinet sides for toe kicks. July 12, 2008

We currently build our frameless cabinets from laid up laminate panels. In the shop we use a Robland sliding table saw, a Brandt edgebander, a double line Ritter linebore, and a Castle pocket cutter (we assemble with pocket screws). My question is; how do you all cut out the toekicks? Do you use a table saw, some kind of router setup, or something altogether different? We do not use a CNC, and would rather not use leveling legs.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor W:
Down and dirty and quick is my motto. In a pinch, make a jig that saddles the corner of the ply. Make the dimensions to whatever you use. For example, ours are 4" deep x 5" tall. Mark out the profile onto the sheet. You can mark a lot of boards in a matter of seconds. Then using a speed square and a jig saw, cut away. The whole process takes only about 15 minutes for an average sized kitchen.

From contributor K:
I use a 1/4" thick MDF jig and a router with a spiral bit and a guide collar.

From contributor J:
Years ago I worked in a shop that produced production vanity cabinets. They had a router mounted in a piece of melamine (basically a router table) with 2 strips of ply, forming a 90* corner set back from the bit the depth/height of the toes. The strips were probably 24'' long.

You would slide the panel against first one strip, cutting the first side of the kick, then when you deadened into the other strip you changed directions. It was done in 2 fluid moves. The peice was never lifted until the toe was done and it took about 5 seconds to do.

I don’t recall what kind of bit it was, but we were using 1/2'' veneer ply and mdf for the cabinets. One guy could notch out countless sides in no time.

From contributor S:
You mean, you guys actually still cut notches in the bottoms of your cabinet for toe-kicks? That sounds painful. Why not make European style cabinets and have a separate base for the toe-kick? It seems to me that you can't be getting a very good panel yield the way you are making the cabinets, plus cutting the notches adds an extra (time consuming) step.

From the original questioner:
I appreciate the responses. The GC's that we do business with do not want a separate base (we do not install most of what we build), although I agree that it is the best way. I think I'll experiment with the router table idea and see what I can come up with.

From contributor M:
Pre-CNC days we used the bandsaw, the fence and a stop block. Pretty simple if you use the same depth, height, no layout, and marking as needed. Set the fence to 4" and a stop block at 4".Cut flip 90 and cut again.