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I'm building a kitchen cabinet into a concrete wall that has been rendered imperfectly (over concrete blocks that weren't perfect either).

In some places, the front of my plywood cabinet box is flush with the wall, in other places the cabinet protrudes by 5mm (1/8"). I then have doors and drawer faces that protrude from the wall by the thickness of their timber.

My idea is to add a wooden trim around the cabinet stained/varnished exactly the same as the doors/drawers. The trim will blend in with the doors/walls and at a passing glance only the person who built it (me) will notice a change in thickness over the full height of the cabinet. The protrusion of the cabinet and doors combined will vary from 25mm to 30mm, instead of what I have now - where some drawers touch the wall and others close 5mm away from the wall.

How do I accurately cut the trim to match the exact shape of the wall? The render has no texture.

I'm thinking of attaching a strip of MDF to the hole in the wall protruding slightly, then I'll use a flush trim bit on a hand held router to make it exactly the same as the wall, then the same technique to transfer this onto the hardwood trim that will be stained/varnished/glued onto the wall.

Will this work? Is there some better approach? Re-rendering the wall to be flush with the cabinet would be far more work & expense than I'm willing to spend on this.

Overview Close Up

  • Are these cabinet in a recess where the front of the cabinet are flush with the wall? Can you provide a picture of the wall where the cabinets are being installed? – Programmer66 May 1 at 1:11
  • @Programmer66 diagrams added. The front of the cabinet "box" is designed to be flush with the wall, with the doors and drawer faces closing against the wall. But as the wall is not flat and the cabinet is flat, there are places where it protrudes out. I'm thinking to make it protrude out everywhere to make this less obvious by adding a thin piece of timber for the doors/drawers to close up against. – Abhi Beckert May 1 at 2:40
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    The basic thing you're asking about requires what is called scribing. It's a common technique, employed every day in fitting things to walls for a tight fit and there are numerous tricks on how to do it, and tools sold for the purpose (but don't buy any of them!), as you'll see if you Google it now that you know what the technique is called. However, this is used normally to get a close fit on the edge of boards or pieces of trim, not in their thickness. While the 2nd is also perfectly doable it requires much more work, and you may well decide it's just not worth the effort needed. [contd] – Graphus May 1 at 15:22
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    Instead, just aim for a flush front and take up irregular gaps with packing pieces/shims. You'll get an uneven shadow line but it matters little and I believe this is considered the norm for this sort of situation. – Graphus May 1 at 15:23
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    You might also consider a narrow (1" +/-) perimeter trim with approx. 1/4" x 1/4" reveal on the exposed back edge. I would apply sealant and paint the reveal to match wall color. The overall effect would be to give a floating appearance. – Ashlar May 1 at 15:49
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I have done something similar to what you are trying to do. These cabinets are self-standing and are not attached to the back wall. Even on the sides, the gap between the cabinet and the side wall has a taper in the gap. The wall behind the cabinets are not even, probably lean to the front on top.
The cabinets are locked in place by long screw in the side of the cabinet to the side walls. No screws or bolts in the back of the cabinets.

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Answer modified based on OP edits to original Questions and comments

Your cabinet, as built, should have a flush front to what you want.

  1. With your cabinet, align the front of all the cabinets, drawers, doors to be flush and even with each other.

  2. Have your cabinet extend out approx 1" from the face of the wall. How far it extends should be the thickness of your trim.

  3. With your cabinet, align the front of all the cabinets, drawers, doors to be flush and even with each other.

  4. Use edge trim like the way I did around the outline of the cabinets doors and drawer. The trim would be 3" wide x 1" thick. I am suggesting 1" or 3/4 " trim to help hide the uneveness of the supporting wall. Finish the trim to match the finish of your cabinets.

  5. Plaster and feather the gap on the backside of the trim to the surrounding wall. Even plastering the whole wall should not be that difficult.

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  • I've done plastering in other rooms of this house. It's a huge amount of work (several days due to needing to wait for various chemical processes to do their work, for example to get the plaster to stick well to a painted wall) and requires expensive equipment I don't own that is expensive even just to hire, and a level of skill that I don't personally have to get an acceptable finish which means hiring a professional. Also it would cover our kitchen in dust and chemical smells that I'd rather avoid as we're living in the house. – Abhi Beckert May 2 at 1:07

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