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Hi everyone.

I'm new to making cabinetry. My project is mostly designed, cut, and painted but I haven't put the pocket holes into my parts yet. Well actually I still have to cut the cabinet backs and the top piece for the 42 inch tall cabinets...and I still have to get the crown molding.


I can't figure out how to screw things together because the cabinets I want to build are only 9 inches wide. After the shelves are screwed to one side, the screw gun won't fit inside the cabinet to fasten them to the other side.


The design drawing should hopefully illustrate what I'm going to build.

The bottom cabinets are 42 inches tall, 14 inches deep, 9 inches wide. They will store DVDs.

There is a fireplace in the middle, set into a brick wall.

Above the fireplace is horizontal storage for the Satellite box and DVD player.

There will be a 3/4 inch plywood top to hide the seams where the 42 inch vertical cabinet meets the 5 inch tall horizontal cabinet. All other wood is 1/2 inch.

The upper cabinets are 33 inches tall, 12 inches deep, 9 inches wide.


The TV is going to set on the 3/4 inch plywood top, in between the upper cabinets.

Cables from the TV and DVD and Satellite box are going to be run behind the back of the cabinets. The shelves are not as deep as the sides, and will allow the cords to be placed out of sight behind the cabinet backs.


I started drilling and assembling the 5 inch tall horizontal cabinet and realized there is no way to screw in the middle two vertical dividers (not shown in sketch) if the pocket holes are on the dividers.

Then I thought, I'll have the same problem with my 9 inch cabinets because I planned for the pocket holes to be on the shelves.

I didn't plan on making and using face frames. But if I have to I can.

I also didn't plan on making doors but I might put them on the bottom cabinets.


I hope the solution is so simple that it's staring me in the face and I just don't see it.

If anyone can suggest placement of the holes, it would be a great help.


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WoW Mayo, love your idea and the design !! When I built my entertainment unit I used a dato set and face frame so you don't see it. If you don't use a face frame you may have to screw it together with an old school stubby screw driver. Im sure you could buy a right angle drill attachment to fit your chuck but some of them are Mickeymouse at times, or too expensive.

Make sure you take the time to make spacer blocks before assembly so everything is spaced exact. And please share pictures !


thank you for posting this, i'm doing a similar project and drawing it around a windowseat...just realized the same thing


After a few projects with the same problem you are experiencing, I bought a right angle drill/driver.  It solves the problem in most tight spaces.  I also once used a ratchet with a screw driver attachment in a space that was about 5".  It was time consuming but it worked.

Hi Mayo, as an answer to the problem with not having enough room to use screw gun to drive the screws in one side.  I often have the same problem and my solution is that since the kreg screws are self tapping and are pretty agressive I use a short square drive bit and a 1/4 inch drive ratchet and a 1/4" socket.  Never had a problem in driving them even in oak and hickory.  In the photos I am showing a craftsman ratchet with a socket and a short driver bit and with the screw in the drilled hole it is about 4 1/2 inches.  The other two drivers are snap-on and a special driver I bought at a wood working supply for a few dollars for a set,  These all give you about the same amount of working space and fit well within the amount you have.  To further aid the two short driver bits are ones I magnatized.

Thank you all for your advice and comments.

I'm off to get a couple short square drive bits to use with my existing ratchets!

I'll try to remember to snap some photos of assembly in progress but it probably won't be until next week that I post them. I still have the backs and the top piece, the base molding and the crown to cut and paint.

You can always put the holes on the outside then use a different colour plug as contrast. The other ideas are much better than mine but I love to explore every angle.

I'm doing a project now for a friend.  I will work for (good) food.

we're doing stuff in 1/2 ply with some tight spaces. The outside will be covered with 1/8" luan (sp).  just a some glue & a few brad nails.  It covers the pocket holes where we can't fit the anything short of the ratchet solution.

it will have a face frame & it's paint grade work.

Hello Mayo,


Hope you have some fun making your cabinet, I see all the advice regarding small spaces has been covered.

I made a mushroom stool using a ratchet tool as it was only about 100mm or 4" for the Non metric world.



Robert, That is a pretty nice looking stool.  With the wide base it would be hard to fall off the stool or at least tip the stool over.  I like your joints, look very tight and consistant.  In putting in the screws it can be done showing that if there is a need and a will to do the task  there is a way to accomplish it.  Well done.

Robert Brennan said:

Hello Mayo,


Hope you have some fun making your cabinet, I see all the advice regarding small spaces has been covered.

I made a mushroom stool using a ratchet tool as it was only about 100mm or 4" for the Non metric world.





Had the same problem while building a work bench/cabinet...used the ratchet/bit solution for the back holes and for the front I purchased a Ryobi Flexible Shaft Bit Holder from Home Depot for 12 bucks...

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