Cabinet Shop Layout

Your cabinet shop layout should be completely different from a general woodworking shop layout.

When building cabinets, the processes and machines that you use should keep production moving through the shop until the end product is complete and ready to ship. There are several ways to keep the flow moving without production bottlenecks.

Keep in mind that every cut, drilled hole and banded edge is part of the process of getting to the finished product. Every step has to be planned out to be the fastest to the end result.

Looking at each step, figure out how much you can do in a normal workday. Pick out your slowest step and change it to be faster. Then find your next slowest step and so on. If there isn't an affordable faster way then install a double station. Whatever it takes to be profitable.

By following this procedure you'll be able to figure out how many cabinets you can build in a workday, how many man hours it should take, how much to charge for your work, your projected income and much more.

The cabinet shop layout and the building process should go from the Cutting Area to Sub-assembly to Finishing to Final Assembly to Inspection/Shipping with few variations.

The Cutting Area...

should be located where the materials come into the shop. The materials such as plywood and face frame lumber should be stored out of the way as close to the cutting area as possible or cut as soon as it comes into the shop. You can cut parts on a per job basis or precut and store in the sub-assembly area.

The machinery used in each area should be dedicated to that area so there is little to no changeover of tools and blades. For example, the table saw in the cutting area should not be used for cutting parts in the sub-assembly area. Buy two saws!

Sub Assembly...

This is where the parts go to be sanded, drilled, edgebanded and any finish prep before going on to the finishing area. Some parts, after leaving the sub-assembly area will go directly to assembly while others are prefinished before assembly. This is the process you have to set up according to the way you want to build cabinets.

Each area should be specialized workstations like drawer assembly, door parts assembly, panel drilling, edgebanding and trimming, finish sanding, etc.

Finishing Area...

should be in a separate area, closed off from the dusty shop area and should include a cleaning area, spraying area, paint storage and a storage area large enough to store finished parts until ready to go to final assembly.

Final Assembly Area...

This area of the cabinet shop layout should store all of the necessary hardware and accessories at easy reach from where the cabinets are being assembled. There should also be enough room for storage for parts waiting to be assembled.


Some cabinet shops move cabinets from the final assembly area directly onto the delivery truck. Although this is ideal for a single cabinet order, most of the time there will be more than one order, and customers not ready to accept the order. Providing for room for protected storage is essential.

A cabinet shop layout can be set up in a 2000-5000 sq/ft building or slightly less. You'll find that most industrial parks have buildings in this size range.

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