Top 10 Essential Kitchen Fitting Tools
The kitchen is often said to be the heart of the home. In recent years it has certainly become a place where people tend to socialise when they are at home or visiting friends. In this article we discuss 10 essential kitchen fitting tools that offer performance, precision and practicality throughout the installation.
We have broken these stages down as follows:
- Setting Out
- Installing the cabinets
- Fitting and cutting out the worktops
- Finishing up
Before we start
When it comes to power tools, we focus on cordless machines wherever possible. Working inside a property that may still be inhabited is difficult enough, let alone having leads strewn across the floor causing potential trip hazards and scuffing paintwork. Cordless tools are much easier to carry into a property and do not need to be plugged in – so if the electric is turned off you can carry on working.
Fitting a kitchen is one of the most expensive home improvement and installation projects you can undertake, it can also have a significant effect on the value of a property. For all the reasons above – you need to get it right!
Beyond choosing a stylish and practical design, a well fitted kitchen is the last part of delivering the wow factor. Lopsided cabinet doors, poorly cut cornice and uneven worktop joints will seriously compromise the overall appearance of your kitchen. It’s also likely to cause frustration in what is a functional part of the home.
A good friend of mine who happens to be a kitchen fitter, told me that – fitting a kitchen is not as easy as it may seem. ‘General building work can be generous in terms of dimensions and accuracy, whereas fitting a kitchen, which has adjoining cabinets and work surfaces is unforgiving. You might get 20mm to play with building a wall, but you get less than 2mm fitting a kitchen’.
Let’s get into it. Nearly all kitchens are based around a series of floor and wall cabinets. They are usually connected to one another, providing storage and working areas. It is essential they are placed precisely in accordance with detailed plans for aesthetic and functional reasons. A cross line laser projects horizontal and vertical lines, making setting out for worktops, cabinets, and tall larder units, fast, accurate and easy. Using a laser to mark out saves lots of time – especially when working in large spaces.
Milwaukee is renowned for manufacturing high quality power tools and hand tools. When they launched their laser range they concentrated on accuracy, durability and practicality.
- The high-quality green diodes used in this laser, produce a thin and highly visible green laser line, which is 4 X easier to see than lasers that project a red beam. When you purchase a cross line laser, you are in effect buying a line to work from. Therefore, the easier that line is to see and mark against, the better it is. With a 30 metre working range (50 metres with a detector) this laser will easily accommodate the largest kitchen installations.
- Redlithium rechargeable battery has an 8-hour run time to see you through a full day’s work. It is chargeable via a universal USB
cable port, so you do not need to be on the Milwaukee battery platform. The Redlithium battery
- can also replace up to 6000 alkaline equivalent batteries, dramatically reducing cost and battery disposal, lessening its long term environmental impact.
- 0.3mm accuracy is maintained even after a 1 metre drop, ensuring the cross line laser can be relied upon for precise installations.
If you are looking for the ultimate cross line laser, which projects a highly visible green beam on 3 planes – this is it!
- Projects a highly visible green beam on two vertical axis and one horizontal axis. With an additional 360 degree vertical beam, the Milwaukee M123PL 3 plane laser combines all the features of a traditional cross line laser, whilst adding a third reference line – displaying plumb point markings top and bottom where the vertical lines cross. Three reference lines make this laser an ideal set up tool for stud walls, columns, breakfast bars and larder units.
- Massive 15 hours run time using a Milwaukee M12 4.0 Ah battery pack. The M12 battery pack powering this laser, is compatible with every Milwaukee power tool working from their 12V platform, adding yet another remarkable tool to the most comprehensive compact cordless system currently available.
- The clever pendulum system mounted inside the laser has these 3 modes, adding functionality and protection:
Mode 1: Allows the user to lock the lines of the laser at any angle, for example – if you wanted to project a line on the wall to follow the angle of an extractor hood.
Mode 2: The self-levelling swinging action of the pendulum allows the laser to adjust itself on uneven surfaces of up to 4 degrees.
Mode 3: To protect the laser from damage during transport, the pendulum action can be locked preventing any internal movement.
Installing the cabinets
Once you have established where the cabinets need to be positioned, they need fixing into place. End panels will also need cutting to size and holes may need drilling inside the units to accommodate pipework and cables.
The pneumatic hammering action of an SDS drill makes light work of drilling holes in masonry. We believe these machines should be on your shortlist when fitting a kitchen:
Using the same 12v battery platform as the Milwaukee 3 plane laser, this incredibly compact machine is the perfect tool for drilling holes to suit red and brown plugs.
- Light weight and very compact, this machine weighs less than a combi drill and easily fits within the dimensions of an A4 sheet of paper, making this tool a comfortable companion for drilling in confined spaces and overhead applications.
- Ideal for hole sizes to suit red and brown plugs.
- Part of the Milwaukee M12 cordless system which has more than 95 compact tools to choose from.
Working on the incredible Milwaukee M12 cordless system, the attachments that come with this drill driver make it an invaluable tool for a kitchen fitter.
- Offset attachment makes screwdriving in corners possible – ideal for corner blocks and brackets.
- Compact ¼ hex screwdriving chuck shortens the length of the machine. Due to the bit holder being much narrower than a rotating keyless chuck, it eliminates the potential for scuffing cabinets when screwdriving.
- Multi position angle attachment converts the drill driver into an angle screwdriver or angle drill – when chuck attached. Perfect for applications such as attaching cornice trim and when working in confined spaces.
Plunge Guide Rail Saw
Cutting end panels and worktops to size requires a saw. Plunge guide rail saws allow perfectly straight cuts to be made with little set up time. Safer working is another benefit of using a plunge saw as the blade is only exposed when in use, dust extraction is also improved due to the blade being fully enclosed within the blade housing.
- Kickback stop reduces the risk of injury and material damage when sawing.
- Bluetooth battery system wirelessly activates a compatible Festool dust extractor, eliminating cables which can be cumbersome.
- Optimised blade design increases battery life and cutting speed.
A circular saw such as the Milwaukee M18FCSG66 can be used in general construction and kitchen fitting applications, the addition of a guide rail only adds to its versatility. Unlike a plunge guide rail saw, the blade is pushed into the edge of the workpiece rather than pushed down onto it. In some cutting applications it’s easier using this traditional version of a circular saw.
- 48mm depth of cut at 45 deg (43mm when mounted on the guide rail) makes it possible to mitre worktops when a waterfall design is incorporated. 66mm depth of cut at 90 deg.
- Equivalent to a mains powered circular saw for uncompromised site performance.
- Part of the impressive Milwaukee M18 system with more than 200 tools to choose from. Conveniently the Milwaukee M18 chargers also charge 12V batteries from Milwaukee’s M12 system.
Worktops form a functional and aesthetic part of any kitchen. They provide a working surface to prepare food and typically house the sink unit and hob. Sinks and hobs need a cut out to sit in and worktops often need to be joined together. The following tools are ideal for these tasks.
If you are looking to achieve a perfectly finished edge on worktops and end panels, a router is the tool you need. Cutting through 40mm of worktop necessitates a ½” capacity router, currently, they are only available as mains powered tools. Routers require large motors which makes them quite heavy. Fortunately, in most routing applications the weight of these powerful machines helps to keep the tool firmly planted on the work surface which is advantageous.
Considered by many the flagship of all ½” routers; offering unrivalled accuracy, dust extraction and operator comfort, the Festool OF2200 has been designed from scratch to meet all the requirements for professional joiners and kitchen fitters.
- Compatible with Festool guide rails for long, straight cuts with a perfect finish.
- Micro depth adjustment for accurate routing.
- No tools required to change bases or copying rings – makes working with routing jigs effortless.
Proven reliability and robust build quality make this router a favourite for production environments, kitchen manufacturers and solid surface fabricators.
- Super smooth plunge action due to linear ball bearings.
- Sophisticated electronics maintain the routing speed even under load, resulting in faster cutting and improved surface finish.
- Variable speed allows the correct RPM to be selected, relevant to cutter diameter and material being machined.
When cutting out sinks and hobs or scribing plinths and trim, a jigsaw is the ‘go to’ tool. With so many blades to choose from, a jigsaw is incredibly versatile and can perform tight radius cuts, splinter free cuts, and scroll cuts. It’s worth noting that there are two body styles for jigsaws.
- A d-handle design places the hand on top of the machine with the tool placed on top of the material.
- The body grip style sees the hand gripped around the gearbox, this allows the machine to be inverted so the operator can clearly see the blade on the cut line.
Festool jigsaws have always been associated with power and precision. The cordless Carvex range offers mains powered performance, encompassing all the features of their well-established corded cousins.
- Unique blade guide hugs the edge of the jigsaw blade, helping to prevent blade waiver and make 90 degree cuts possible.
- As with all Festool tools, dust extraction is built in rather than an afterthought. The transparent dust guard encapsulates the blade area improving dust collection.
- Bluetooth connectivity allows automatic activation of a Bluetooth enabled dust extractor, eliminating cables and making the jigsaw easier to handle.
Milwaukee Fuel cordless power tools have been designed to provide users with huge performance and withstand the rigours of working on site. The Milwaukee range of 18V jigsaws have proven reliability whilst being capable of making accurate and intricate cuts. Being part of the vast Milwaukee M18 system adds another level of convenience for professionals looking to work off a single battery platform.
- Fixtec quick release blade holder makes changing blades effortless. It also reduces the chance of being burned when removing a blade which has become hot during use.
- Dust blower keeps the cutting line clear for improved visibility.
- Variable speed allows the correct speed to be selected when cutting different materials
Cordless Mitre Saws
It is the finishing touches applied to functional cabinetry that gives kitchens their luxurious look and feel. Cornice and pelmets often meet at internal and external corners and therefore require mitring. A poorly executed mitre can become a negative focal point and detract from the kitchens overall finish. Mitre saws which can perform accurate cuts repeatedly, are a ‘must have’ tool for a kitchen fitter.
Festool mitre saws are designed to offer trade professionals precision and durability. Fine adjustment and accessories such as a unique bevel guide, ensure that mitres come together perfectly, producing joints that are strong and visually attractive.
- The Bevel guide supplied with all versions of the Festool KSC60 makes it possible to copy the angle on the wall and transfer it to the saw – thus ensuring mitred components meet perfectly without gaps.
- Dust collection chip bag works in conjunction with Festools ‘ground up’ design philosophy towards dust extraction; providing dust free operation – even without a separate extractor.
- Brushless EC-TEC motor extends battery and service life.
Milwaukee’s latest generation of mitre saws offer mains powered performance with the convenience of cable free working. Working from the M18 battery platform which boasts more than 200 tools, this 10” mitre saw can cut structural first fix timbers as well as cornice, crown moulding and architrave.
- Shadow cut line indicates precisely where the blade will fall on the workpiece, clearly indicating where the cut will be made.
- Pre-determined mitre angle detents provide fast location points for popular angle cuts, they can be overridden when other angles are required offering unlimited scope for mitre joints.
- Detachable, tall side fences provide excellent support for tall work pieces such as crown mouldings.
We have already established that fitting a kitchen requires skill and practical ability. Having the right power tools not only makes the job easier, it can make the installation faster and look better too.
We believe that it’s just as important to not only consider the type of tool you purchase, but also the brand you buy into, as it’s likely that you will be making a commitment to a battery platform – so be sure to look at other tools in the range which you may require in the future.
Although we have only focused on power tools; there are many other hand tools, power tool accessories, fixings and sealants that you will need to complete the task, they can be found on our website www.protrade.co.uk. Some may have already been discussed in past blogs and will definitely feature in future ones Click here to view our blog section.
Des Duddy – Managing Director