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Roll-out kitchen trays.

When my stomach is growling before I even get dinner started, the last thing I need is to be hunched over looking for frying pans and kettles in the dark recesses of my cabinets. To save time and my back, I finally made and installed base cabinet roll-out trays--something I've done for my remodeling customers for years. These adjustable-height, roll-out trays replace old shelves and work like shallow drawers to give you easy access. You'll love the newfound convenience, and they're especially handy for older or disabled people.

This is a project you can easily do in one day for about $45 per base cabinet. Any base cabinet with single or double doors can be modified for roll-out shelving. I'll show you how to install these shelves in a face-frame style cabinet with double doors without a center partition between the doors. The same techniques can be applied to single-door cabinets. Double-door cabinets with a partition should be treated like two single-door cabinets. If you have box or European-style cabinets, you can also use the same techniques shown here.


Don't be intimidated--this project doesn't require any cabinetmaking skills. If you have any experience with basic carpentry, take it on. The step-by-step instructions and photos show the use of a table saw, but you can do the job with a good circular saw with a rip guide. You'll also need basic tools like a tape measure, hammer and screwdriver.


It's impossible to give exact measurements for your particular cabinet, so here's how to measure to find out what you need.

Begin by measuring the width of the opening between the doors when they are opened straight toward you. The plywood bottom (Photo 6) of each roll-out tray will be about 3 in. narrower than the opening. The depth of the plywood tray bottom will be 2-1/2 in. less than the measured depth (from the back of the cabinet to the back of the face frame). Use these measurements as a guide to buy the appropriate amount of 3/4-in. plywood for the tray bottoms. The tray sides are also made from 3/4-in. plywood) these are cut into 2-1/4 in. strips using the table saw.


You'll also need some 3/4-in. thick hardwood for the vertical and horizontal supports (Photo 5). It's important to use hardwood for the supports. They have to be able to take the abuse of heavyloads added to the trays.


To help you estimate your materials, here's what you would need for two roll-out trays for a standard 24-in. wide base cabinet:

* 4 ft. of 1x6 hardwood (oak, birch, maple, cherry, etc.).

* a half sheet of 3/4-in. A-2 plywood (finish grade on both sides) or particleboard or Melamine-coated particleboard.

* 22-in. Euro-style epoxy-coated drawer slides (see Buyer's Guide on p. 59), one pair per tray.

* construction adhesive, carpenter's glue and 6d finish nails.

Follow the step-by-step photos for installation instructions.


Remove the drawer slides and sand the entire tray with 100-grit, then 1 50-grit sandpaper. Follow up with two coats of polyurethane varnish. If you use a Melamine-coated tray bottom, you'll need to sand and varnish only the sides and ends of the tray.

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Title Annotation:construction directions
Author:Radtke, David
Publication:The Family Handyman
Date:May 1, 1997
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