Skinny hanging strips on cheap cabinets

Suspension Blocks and Steel Hang Rail

Almost all of our competitors depend upon a skinny  strip of scrap wood running along the top of the cabinet to hang the cabinet. As you can imagine, this isn’t the best way to hang a cabinet.  I have seen homes with the slender wood strip still attached to the wall, with the rest of the cabinet laying on the floor in pieces.


A better way is to use suspension blocks and a steel hanging rail, the suspension blocks have fittings that hammer into two 10 mm holes in the side of the cabinet.  You are  actually hanging the side of the cabinet  which supports the rest of the cabinet. Then the steel hanging rail is screwed to the studs and  large molly bolts used if the rail ends before the next stud.  The suspension block protrudes past  the back of the cabinet and hooks onto the steel hanging rail. Two screws handle any minor adjustments needed for the height and leveling of the cabinet..

  In addition to having the cabinets hung much more strongly the rails makes installing and removal fast and secure.  After the cabinets are leveled and lined up fasteners are installed so that the cabinet’s weight is spread all across the line of cabinets.  After a wet spring or dry summer your


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Suspension Block on one of our Okie cabinets.

home might sink or  the swelling soil might raise your home walls, with our cabinets removing the crown molding is easy and then the cabinets are unbolted and either adjusted back level or removed by pulling them p and out for repairs. d after unscrewing the cabinet from the others, you just lift it up and away for repair.

Using these suspension blocks and steel rail  costs a quite bit more than using up table saw scrap but the end result is cabinets that are much easier to install and much more sturdy cabinets.

This is just one example of how we just do things better when we build cabinets.It is a lot cheaper to just make things right than come back later to fix the cabinets or lose a customer over poor quality work.

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“But I want all wood cabinets…”

How things are done series

You get this on occasion, new customers asking for all wood cabinets. That is actually a legal trade term that the government cooked up and it includes particle board which is indeed wood and glue.  MDF is far better, stiffer, flatter, more consistent in thickness due to the compressed nature of the material. MDF is much heavier but that is only a problem for the cabinet maker.

The reality is few cabinets are made of all wood as you and I would classify it. Wood is unstable in large widths, it likes to cup and warp and twist. The design of a raised panel door isn’t because it is pretty, that outer perimeter of rails and stiles helps keep the center panel reasonably flat while the extra space between the panel edges and the inside of the groove (called cope and stick) allows the panel to shrink and well without creating gaps or breaking the glue joints in the stiles and rails.

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Wood is unstable

  • It warps, twists, and cups easily
  • Wood shrinks and swells all the time
  • Build the components with the correct materials
  • Plan on expansion, build it into the design


Things like trim, toe kicks, rails and stiles, even drawer fronts up to around 12″ are fine in solid wood. Over that, expect some issues and be ready to live with them. And even in small sizes, the width will change along with the humidity in the room so there are tolerances for solid wood parts to allow for shrinkage and swelling.

Things like carcass panels, sides, tops,, bottoms or decks, and shelves need to be an engineered panel product. Parts that need to be solid wood are rails or stretches, parts that have screws and nails going into the ends where an engineered part would split, the wood will accept the nail or screw and hold long and strong.

In the end it is about using the best materials in the best spots. And NO particle board, ever, MDF, Classic Core blended MDF/Plywood panels, or plywood (where it can be used safely) make good carcasses.