Cabinet Hanger Helpers

A quick rundown on the tools you can buy or make to help you set wall cabinets by yourself. April 4, 2011

Having had to pare back on labor, I am now installing mainly by myself. I have heard about a deadman to assist in holding and positioning wall cabinets, but can't remember where. I know many of you install by yourself or with limited assistance. I am not interested in purchasing or building a Gil-Lift type apparatus at this time. I would like to hear from those installing this way. The ones I have seen in the past were simply 2x4's with maybe a bird's mouth and a bottom support, padded for protecting finish, but I'm thinking there were two supports attached to one another.

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor M:
I use the T-JACK. Works great! You can get it at I used 2x in the past but it dented the front bottom sometimes, and you need one for each elevation. With the T-JACK you can adjust from about 48" to about 80" (I think). You can also get the 3rd hand pole, but you will need to cut it down because it is taller than 54".

From contributor R:
Fastcap makes an adjustable deadman called the Upper Hand that does exactly what you want.

From contributor X:
Might a JawHorse by Rockwell work for you?

From contributor M:
I see that FastCap now makes a proper size helper. I got the third hand long ago and it was a little too tall, so I cut it down. I also have the small one. You can use it on top of the countertop/base cab.

Nice to have if you have to swap a wall cab, or to install base first. But I have to say that I like the T-JACK better than the FastCap product. It's all metal and can hold much more weight, and I can adjust the height faster. All in all, both products have served me well.

From contributor J:
The best one I ever saw and made one for myself was a bottom plate 2x10x38 long with two screw jacks cut down to 14". The top was the same with 1 1/2" PVC in a floor flange slipped over the jack threads.

You put base in first or rolled work cab under, put wall cab on, and screwed it into height and level. Worked like a charm. The other method is to get one cab hung with a T stick and then use a clamp and a 2x4x8" long to index off each cabinet as you go along.

From contributor T:
If you build your own cabinets, start installing a French cleat. Level and install the hanging strip on the wall, then lift the cabinet and set. This may not work if the cabinets are tight to the ceiling with no crown.

From contributor A:
KISS method: screw or nail a cleat to the wall as a ledger. Take the cleat off and Spackle the holes if it's a painted wall or leave them if it's tiled. Make two boxes about 10x10x14 out of 3/4" ply. Install a leg leveler in each. Install the lowers then either install the counters or lay a piece of plywood over the lowers. Use the above cabinet levelers to hold up and level your uppers.