How To Assemble RTA Kitchen Cabinets From Custom Service Hardware

JSI-Essex White

If you like the style choices and price points of ready-to-assemble (RTA) kitchen cabinets but balk at the thought of putting them together yourself, don’t worry. RTA cabinets are configured for simple assembly with basic tools. You don’t need prior experience. Plus, our customer service team is here to help provide information to best guide you through your questions.

How To Put RTA Cabinets Together

Think of a ready-to-assemble cabinet as nothing more than a rectangular box you have to put together from its separate parts. When your RTA kitchen cabinets from CSH arrive, all boxes are labeled and instructions are included. Video Tutorials are also available so you can see how to put your RTA cabinets together. Custom Service Hardware only works with RTA cabinet manufacturers that create a high-quality product with straightforward assembly.

Types of Assembly: Cam Locks or Sliding Dovetail Joints

Our RTA cabinets assemble either with a cam lock system or a sliding dovetail system. Cam locks are round metal fasteners similar to a screw that “lock” the cabinet panels in place. Sliding dovetail joints work like puzzle pieces securing one panel to another.

Look at RTA cabinet series from GHI and Sunnywood if you want cam locks, the simplest assembly process. These companies supply RTA cabinets that join with wood glue in addition to cam locks. If you have a flathead screwdriver, you have all you need to secure a cam lock. 

Other brands, like JSI, Fabuwood, and Legend, use a more upscale “sliding dovetail” assembly, which is very user-friendly yet it does require a screw gun, brad nail gun, and rubber mallet. Either assembly process is designed to take 15–30 minutes per cabinet once you get the hang of it.

Putting Together RTA Wall Cabinets and Base Cabinets

Remember that assembly principles are the same whether you’re joining your cabinet components together with cam locks or sliding dovetail joints. We recommend assembling them on a large section of cardboard so you don’t scratch the cabinet surface.

For a wall cabinet, start by placing the cabinet’s front frame face down. Then use wood glue to attach the sides, the bottom, the top, the back panel, and the small wood braces that keep it all nice and tight. Screw the cam locks or hammer the dovetail joints as needed. Plug in the shelf brackets, add the shelf. Screw the hinges on the door, screw the door on the frame, and there you have it—a lovely kitchen wall cabinet from Custom Service Hardware! 

A base cabinet comes together similarly although it requires more steps since you also have a drawer to assemble and drawer slides to install. The pre-drilled holes where you screw in the drawer slides are highly visible, so you shouldn’t have any trouble knowing where these go. You will need to center the front of the drawer box inside the decorative drawer panel, which requires simple measurements. Our short video, How To Assemble the Nexus Base Cabinets, on our cabinet tutorial videos page shows you exactly how this is done.

Is It Difficult To Assemble RTA Cabinets?

One of the most attractive features of ready-t0-assemble bathroom and kitchen cabinets is that they are not difficult to put together at all. You don’t need to have carpentry skills or prior experience putting together cabinets. If you understand the basic concept of constructing a rectangular box, then you get the idea of how to assemble your RTA cabinets. RTA cabinets from CS Hardware come with pre-drilled holes for the hinges and drawer slides, making it very easy for you to know where these components fit.

How Long Does It Take To Assemble RTA Cabinets?

Depending on your level of experience, the first cabinet usually takes 30 minutes to an hour. The first cabinet takes the longest to assemble as you learn your way around putting together the parts in order and fastening them either with glue, screws, or cam locks. After that, the process goes quicker, with cabinets taking about 15 minutes to a half hour to assemble, depending on the person. Here at Custom Service Hardware, we are happy to help provide the information you need to best assist you with completing your cabinet project!

Tools Needed To Assemble RTA Cabinets

For sliding dovetail assembly, you’ll need 

  • a screw gun, 
  • soft rubber mallet
  • wood glue
  • safety glasses
  • a brad nail gun with ⅝” or ¾” brad nails. 

If your RTA cabinets assemble with cam locks and wood glue, you’ll only need the glue and a flathead screwdriver.

How to Assemble RTA Cabinets Videos

We think the best way to see how simple it is to assemble RTA kitchen cabinets is to watch our short instructional videos. We offer straightforward visuals and easy-to-understand demonstrations showing how to put your cabinets together successfully. If you’re brand new to assembling your own home goods, these videos offer indispensable information for getting started and how to proceed until your cabinet is complete.

Don’t let concerns about assembly get in the way of your new kitchen cabinets. Even though it might take you a cabinet or two to find your groove, putting them together can be a very satisfying experience.  Contact us online or call our cabinet department directly at 262-243-3088 if you want more information about assembling RTA cabinets.