Cabinet Toe-kicks


March 25, 2015 by Sarah

The cabinet toe-kicks have been half done for quite some time. I didn’t like the pressed particle board toe-kicks that were made to go with the IKEA cabinets from the beginning. (I heard the new cabinet line at IKEA has plastic now instead of particle board). Ordering from Scherr’s was out of the question due to the increased cost of shipping an 11ft board.  I was pretty set on making my own.  I made the decision to go with the cheaper red oak for toe-kicks awhile back and attempted to stain them to match the white oak doors the best I could.

building toe kicks for ikea cabinets

custom cabinet toe-kicks for ikea cabinets

I don’t know if IKEA is using these cabinet toe-kicks connector contraptions anymore with their new system, but they are actually quite handy.  I cut groves into my cabinet toe-kicks by making plunge cuts with a circular saw then inserting these clips that attach them to the cabinet legs.

building toe kicks for ikea cabinets

The long piece under the south wall cabinets has proven problematic.

baseboard under dishwasher

I thought it was good to go and I had it installed until I attempted to open the dishwasher door and found I could only open it a few inches. The kick was in the way of the door opening all the way, causing it to bind.  I promptly removed it and laid it on the ground in front of the cabinet. It has been sitting in the same position, collecting vast amounts of dust and cat hairs until this past weekend when I finally decided to do something about it.

ikea cabinet toe-kick

We picked up a very well-loved router for I think $15 at a rummage sale last fall and I have been too nervous to use it on expensive piece of wood that I did not want ruined. I did give it a go on some scrap pieces of wood but I still wasn’t too sure about it.  With the help of my trusty Kreg jig, I built a quick template jig from some scrap pieces of poplar I had lying around. It spend a laughably large amount of time trying to figure this out.

adjusting a router

operating a routerrouting baseboards

I clamped the jig down to the baseboard and I ran the router over it a few times, lowering the bit a small amount with each pass until it cut all the way through the wood. I used a straight cutting bit for the grunt work.

I removed the poplar jig and changed the straight cut bit to a round-over bit and ran that over the edge to get this nice curve.

dishwasher baseboard

routed baseboard


I used the same finish schedule as the oak cabinets on the cut edge.

panel-ready dishwasher baseboard

The poly is still wet here but you get the idea.

baseboard under dishwasher

red oak cabinet toe-kick

And the best part is that I can actually open my dishwasher door now. It looks so intentionally thought out and fancy–even though no one can actually see it unless you lay flat on the floor.

panel ready dishwasher baseboard

One big bonus is that this groove thing acts as a handle to detach the kicks, should it need to be removed for cleaning or plumbing access in the future.

panel ready dishwasher

And by the way, I love my IKEA panel-ready dishwasher. So, so much. Perhaps the dishwasher at our last house was just bad, but this thing is super awesome and cleans EVERYTHING and is quiet and is amazing and I love it. I was a bit skeptical about the IKEA appliances, but this thing is bomb. BOMB I say!

craftsman kitchen white oak cabinets

Checked one more thing off the kitchen list, woot! I didn’t know I could love cabinet toe-kicks so much. Up next, a full-blown kitchen update is in the works per viewer request.  Also I started writing about the front entryway including the removal of the old staircase for the duplex which will eventually be extra closet space. I have no progress to report regarding the second floor renovations, sadly. We suffered an unfortunate setback and are now looking for a new insulation contractor–I don’t care to discuss the details of that much right now–I’m still pretty salty about it actually. Bids are coming in this week and next, with hopes of getting it completed the following week.

14 thoughts on “Cabinet Toe-kicks

  1. Lory says:

    Whew, what an artist and craftsperson you are. Amazing.

  2. Maureen says:

    Gorgeous! !

  3. Apryl says:

    When’s the first meal?

  4. GG says:

    that looks freakin amazing – you are quite the problem-solver and it looks like high-quality custom work!!

  5. tjhess1 says:

    Thanks for this post! I was just about to message you inquiring how you went about the toe kicks. Great router job! Looks fabulous!!

  6. Karen says:

    What size boards did you use for your toe kicks? I need to make some custom ones also. Thanks!

    • Sarah says:

      I used a 1x6in oak board and cut it down to fit. You could likely get away with a 1×4 if your floors are fairly level. My floors are very uneven so I had to fill a larger gap at one side. Good luck on your project.

  7. Calleen says:

    Thanks for your help….where did you buy these horseshoe clips. They are just what I need.
    Thanks. Calleen

Comment or I'll hate you forever.

Sarah&Adrian @ StPaulHaus

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