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Building and Installing Custom Cabinets for a Sloped Ceiling

June 25, 2016
Read time: 3 mins


Angled cabinets with wiring chases, prebuilt, installed, and dressed up with moldings.


To add benchtop cabinets in her studio, Sandra pre-builds and installs multiple boxes, incorporating wiring chases and molding elements. The back of the cabinets is sloped because—so is the ceiling. #Duh.


Here's her step by step process:

  • Match the ceiling angle by measuring the height front and back, and making a template from plywood. Use an awesome track saw to cut the template if you are lucky enough to have one.
  • The bottom of the cabinet sits 1-1/2 inch above the counter too to be flush with the face frame. 
  • Add cleats at back and slanted top. The top cleat is to hold the sides apart during construction. The back cleat is for anchoring the cabinets to the studs. 

With one prototype built, test the fit. If it fits, build more cabinets to match, depending on how many you need. As if by magic, Sandra's cabinet fits, so she builds four more.

  • Screw cabinet pairs together in front and back. 
  • Install the backs and tops on the cabinet pairs also with glue and staples. All of this helps keep them rigid when moving them around during the fitting process. 
  • On the end unit a hole is cut for an electrical outlet. An extension will be added to the outlet box after the fitting is correct.
  • A spacer block keeps the cabinets far enough off the wall to allow the face frame to remain flush with the inside of the carcass. 


False columns make wiring chases

A couple of false columns between pairs of cabinet boxes creates a chase for additional electrical boxes. The columns are about seven inches wide and a couple of inches deep. The face frame will sit proud of them. 

The center cabinet is one-piece, rather than two. At 44 inches, "it's a beast of a cabinet"

  • The 44 inch shelf will be supported from above by a 3/4 inch plywood false-back—attached to the sides of the cabinet and the bottom of the MDF shelf. 
  • The back, clears, and bottoms go together as with previous cabinets and she slides the cabinet into place—to see if she sized everything correctly. 

Turns out there's a 1x5 in the ceiling that needs to be trimmed. Also, turns out the cleats she added at the tops were a bit too high to allow anchoring to the 'false wall framing' behind.  

She added some blocking to line up with the cleats and she's back in business. 


Face frames are added piece by piece.

Cabinet pairs must be secured together before adding face frames because a face frame stile will cover sides of adjacent boxes. 

The column stiles are 1x3s and the rest are 1x2s, as is the bottom rail. The top rail is a 1x3 to allow space for crown molding to overlap. 

With the face frames installed, she cuts bead moldings to insert into the column openings.

This bead molding is fastened with caulk. 


—Sandra Powell, aka Sawdust Girl, is a woodworker, remodeler, and carpentry mentor.


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