How to Construct a Custom Kitchen Range Hood

Give your stock kitchen the high-end treatment with a custom, built-in range hood. Fitted with an exhaust fan that vents outside, your kitchen will not only look better — it will smell better, too.

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Materials Needed:

  • exhaust fan insert and liner (Note: A liner is necessary if range hood is less than 30 inches from cooktop.)
  • one 4' x 8' sheet of cabinet grade plywood
  • one 1" x 8" x 6' piece of poplar (for arch and bottom pieces of sides)
  • one 1" x 6" x 6' piece of poplar (for sides of front panel)
  • three 1" x 4" x 6' piece of poplar (for shelf and braces)
  • one 4" x 6' piece of trim with a flat back, like chair rail (for shelf)
  • one 6' piece of crown molding (for top)
  • table saw or circular saw (optional)
  • tape measure
  • pencil
  • combo square
  • miter saw
  • clamps (at least 2 bar clamps, 2 spring clamps)
  • small pieces of scrap wood for clamping
  • router (optional)
  • flush-trim router bit, shank-side bearing (optional)
  • pocket-hole jig (optional)
  • 1-1/4" pocket-hole screws
  • drill bit for pocket-hole screws
  • drill
  • 3/4" drill bit
  • jigsaw
  • 1/4" MDF of luan approximately 1' x 3' (for template)
  • finish nailer (hammer and traditional nails may be used)
  • stud finder (optional)
  • 1-1/4" nails for nailer (optional)
  • wood filler
  • caulk gun and bright white paintable trim caulk
  • sandpaper (150, 180 and 220 grits)
  • primer
  • paint in desired finish
  • 2" sash brush
  • 6" foam roller cover and roller
  • paint tray
  • protective eyewear

Measure and Cut Wood

Use a tape measure to determine range hood's desired height, width and depth — be sure to take into account the size of exhaust fan, placement of vent to roof or exterior wall, and size of liner if one is being used. Following range hood plan (Image 1), make a wood cut list for plywood and poplar pieces. To avoid showing a plywood edge, the arch piece, bottom of side panels and side of front panel will be made out of poplar, since those edges will be visible; the remaining pieces are plywood. Tip: Instead of using plywood, 3/4" MDF can be used. Since MDF is smooth, it will not be necessary to use poplar for edges.
Cut wood to size using a table saw or circular saw and miter saw. If these tools aren't available, pieces can usually be cut to size for free at hardware stores. Bottom piece will hold exhaust fan, so a hole needs to be cut to size. Measure exhaust fan and transfer measurements to piece cut for bottom, marking those with a pencil (Image 2). Drill inside area marked to be cut out with a 1/4" drill bit (Image 3). Insert jigsaw in hole and cut along marked line (Image 4). Lightly sand edges to smooth. Test-fit exhaust fan in cutout before assembling the range hood in the next step.

Assemble Range Hood

Using a pocket-hole jig and drill equipped with a pocket-hole drill bit, drill holes into poplar pieces that connect to front and side panels (Image 1). Assemble front panel and side panels according to plan (Images 2 and 3). Arrows indicate approximate placement of pocket-hole screws; holes should be drilled into side that will be not be visible when range hood is completed. Apply a small amount of wood filler with finger if there are any visible gaps. Sand panels at seams until smooth. Next, drill pocket holes into bottom piece and attach to side panels with screws according to plan (Image 4). Make sure placement height is correct for proper exhaust fan installation. Add two front braces and two back braces with pocket hole screws as well, following plan (Image 5). Placement of braces does not have to be exact, since they will not be visible, but make sure back braces don't interfere with exhaust fan vent or duct work. Use bar clamps when assembling to hold pieces in place. Tip: Use a scrap piece of wood as a spacer to keep braces square when assembling.

Dry-Fit Front Panel and Range Hood

Place range hood on back side and set front panel in place on top to make sure sides line up. Panel should fit perfectly if measurements and cuts were executed correctly. Trim front panel to fit, if necessary. Note: Do not attach front panel in this step. Hold range hood into place to "dry fit" (Image 1). Make any necessary adjustments. Remember that caulk can cover small seams and gaps. Tip: Measure each piece several times before cutting to reduce risk of mistakes.

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