Tuesday, July 9, 2013

How to build a shaker style range hood

So, we're still working on our kitchen.  Seriously.  Longest.  Reno.  Ever. (Just kidding.  We tore our basement out two + years ago).  Anyway, We're finally coming around the home stretch.  I don't have updated pictures of everything to share, but I wanted to take the time to let you all know how I went about building my range hood, because it was something that I really took a lot of time and researching to figure out how the heck to go about.

First of all, when you decide you're going to build a range hood, you're going to need two main parts- a power pack, which is the actual fan/blower/vent thing, and a hood liner.

We went with the Zephyr Tornado I.  Honestly, I bought this one because I found it on ebay used for 1/3 of it's retail price.  Since I'm kind of (really) cheap (frugal), and we don't know if we'll be selling or renting our place in a year when we leave for fellowship- and I know, I didn't tell you all about that either...soooo behind- I went the most economical route to get it done.

I can't find a stock picture of the liner online, but it's essentially a stainless steel box.  Here's the thing- you do actually need this.  When you cook, the grease goes up and into the bottom of this blower and surrounding area.  Without the metal liner, cleaning is going to be a pain.  On top of that, you're cooking over a wood box.  It's just safer to cover it so you're not cooking over a flammable surface.

In case you're wondering for yourself- I also tried thinking of every and any way I could make the liner myself.  Unless you are a metal worker- you can't.  Just cough up the dough, and buy the liner.

Ooookay. Now onto the building part.

The first thing I did was build a box.  I had exactly 30" between our 9" cabinet and the window, so I built my box 30" wide.  The depth is something you can play with, but keep in mind that you want it to extend over your front burners so you can essentially trap the rising steam/oil/cooking junk within the box to push it into the power pack.  Mine extends out about 22" from the wall.  I used 1x4" pine boards (in hindsight, I would've used 6" instead), which are actually only 3/4" thick, and mitered the corners.  Inside the box is a 3/4" thick sheet of plywood.  To find your measurement for the plywood, you just take your overall box size, and subtract 1 1/2" from the width and depth since you have 3/4" thickness on every side.  Don't attach the plywood until you've put your hood liner in place to fit.

Anyway- so build your box, and then put your liner in for fit.  There's a cut out in the middle of the liner where your power pack will go.  Trace that, remove the liner, and cut the shape out with a jig saw.  Then you can put your liner back in and adjust the plywood to the height inside the box it needs to be to contact the liner.  I attached my plywood to the box with my Kregg, and then I attached the entire box to the wall through the back, into the studs, and into the neighboring cabinet, and if I had a cabinet on the opposite side, I would've attached it to that too.  Once in place, you can install your liner via directions it came with, then put your power pack in.

At this point, you want to dry fit your duct work.  You can see in the photo that I had to put a slight curve on mine.  That's because we found that we have a sewer line running at a slight angle between the window and the first stud, and I wanted to be absolutely sure that I'd miss that when I went to cut this huge 6" hole.

Once I had the duct work where I wanted it, I traced around the spot on the wall.  I cut through the interior wall with a jigsaw, and drilled pilot holes through to the outside at the very top, bottom, left, and right.  When I went outside to drill the hole, I just had to line up a piece of duct up to it, trace, and cut again with the jigsaw (with a wood/metal blade).  We went through a layer of vinyl siding, the original wood siding, and the wood frame work just fine with a jigsaw, and attached the outer vent.  I did not buy the vent from the Zephyr website.  It was $40, plus tax and shipping, and it didn't even come with a damper to decrease cold/warm air movement.  Instead, I bought an $8 vent at Menards that has a grate and damper.  Perfect.  Once installed on the outside, I attached the duct work on the inside, and taped every joint with duct tape.

Now, I know you've been seeing the sides in my posts above.  I initially had decided I wanted a box shaped hood.  Then as I looked and thought, I decided that it may look too obtrusive in my little space to have an entire box extending 22" from my wall, so I decided to go with an angled design.  Obviously, this takes a little more calculation and work- but it's totally doable.  For my measurements, I measured the distance from the top of my box to the top of the spice cabinet next to it.  I marked that out on my MDF, and then marked out 12" from the top of it and 22" from the bottom.  I drew a line connecting the 12 to 22 and that was my shape.  I used the original edge of the MDF for the straight side, and cut the angle using a circular saw.  I attached a support bar to the back of the two panels, and used my Kregg to attach the panels to the box.

The next step was the face frame-- where we finally close the box in and start making it pretty!  I didn't get all fancy building rails and styles with this.  I just cut my 2 1/2" MDF boards to the right sizes and connected them with the Kregg.  When building face frames, you want to always make sure you're hiding the end of the wood.  To do this, you make your vertical pieces (stiles) the full length they should be, and your horizontal pieces (rails) the overall width minus the width of the two stiles.  I used two additional stiles in the middle, and did a little math to figure out their placement.

Here it is roughly in place.  You can see the top sticks up further than the rest of the box, and the bottom doesn't fit flush either.  I was only worried about cutting the angle on top so it was flat like the rest of the cabinetry for me to add trim to later.  To do that, I just eyeballed where it was level, marked it, and cut it with a table saw.

After it was trimmed, I added a sheet of 1/4" luan to the back using a bead of glue and some staples.  Then I nailed the face frame in place with brad nails.  The final step was to add trim around the lower box.  I used a base cap shoe molding around the edges, and a coping saw to make it fit around the windows, and to allow the cabinet door on the opposite side open and close.  Remember how I said I wished I'd used 6" boards instead?  This is why.  I didn't have a lot of room to anchor my molding on without it looking squished and silly.  So my upper molding is JUST barely covering the upper seam where the box and face frame meet (where I didn't cut an angle), and I attached the lower molding to a square piece of trim that I drove up through the bottom of the box to finish it off.

And here you can see how we've begun adding the molding to the top of the cabinets.

And here it is with all the trim/crown in place along the upper.


And the finished look in the kitchen

Hopefully if you're trying to figure out just how to build one of these bad boys yourself, you'll find some answers here!  It's really not difficult or expensive, and the look it adds to your kitchen is AMAZING.

And just to keep with my history- here's a little furniture dump for the road!

Onto the next thing,

Linking up with:
52 Mantles
The Shabby Creek Cottage
Domestically Speaking
Savvy Southern Style


  1. OMG- I'm so in love with this hood top - I'm pinning it as soon as finish typing this
    And that furniture dump on top of it is a pure bonus!
    Definitely your newest follower!
    Big hugs from Montreal
    ( now leave me alone - I have some serious pinning to do !!! )

  2. Love the rangehood! great project.... need to pin for future reference when we get onto the kitchen. Love what you say in your 'about' ... my hubs isn't too thrilled about the stack of "befores" I have piling up in our garage. But they have so much potential!

  3. Do you like your range hood? Does it function well? Thanks so much for this post! We are remodeling our kitchen, and we are now considering (and probably going to) do our range hood ourselves.

    Just looking for your thoughts on using the range hood, and if you like it. Thanks!

  4. Hi Heather! I love, love LOVE my range hood. I had a friend who swore to me that they didn't work. I don't think he knew the type we were getting. This thing pulls crazy amounts of air. Ours has a damper in it, and the one complaint I still have, if anything, is that it's TOO powerful. If I leave it on power I for too long, I start smelling soot from our fireplace. If I turn it up to power III, I smell it right away. It pulls so strongly that the house is compensating by pulling air down our chimney to make up the air. It's not a real issue. If/when I know I need to turn it on high, I just crack a window and that solves the problem. The other "complaint" I have is that I really have had to learn to adjust my baking. I used to be able to use my oven and nose together to be able to tell when my food was getting close to done, but this thing moves so much air, I can have something burning to a crisp in there and not even know it! Really, that's a blessing, and an adjustment to be made more than a complaint...hence my quotations. Anyhow- I don't think I ever want to have a kitchen without a hood again. I love the thing!

  5. Live your window planters. Did you make them too?

  6. I noticed your window planters and I have been looking for rods and hooks to make something similar,any info would be greatly appreciated. Your hood cover is amazing!

  7. How much would you say this cost to build? I am trying to see if I can squeeze this into my reno budget! ;-)

  8. would like to get more information on the liner: where to get it and where is it installed

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. What did you use for light fixtures on the bottom of the hood? How have they held up with the heat? Thanks!

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