Finish Cracking at Face Frame Joints

      Ways to prevent or correct finish cracking at cabinet joints. July 3, 2008

Question
I work with a company that builds face frame style kitchen cabinets. Our joints are pocket screwed and glued then glued and clamped to the face frame. We are using ML Campbell Magna Max for white finishes. After a couple of weeks we are seeing hairline cracks at the joints in the face frame. Is this finish to brittle for solid wood face frames? Is there another finish that would be suitable for kitchen cabinets that is a little more flexible?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor L:
I use the same techniques as you with the same finishes. You must be doing something wrong because I don't have that problem. One thing you might be doing is rushing the process. If you glue and spray in the same day and you are using a water-based glue such as TiteBond II this is where your problem is. The glue joint needs to dry out. Up to three days on larger glue ups. FF joints need to dry for 24 hours before you should be coating them with anything as the wood dries it shrinks and the joint shape changes, taking the paint with it.



From contributor A:
If there is a crack in the finish then there is a crack in the joint. You are having bad glue joints. Follow Contributor L's comment. The guys doing the gluing should have enough glue coming out of the joint that it doesn't need putty.


From contributor R:
It could also be a wood moisture problem. What is the MC of the wood coming to the shop? How long does it have to acclimate in the shop?


From contributor C:
Even when dried and glued properly joints can fracture slightly if the once attached face frames are moved a lot and or mishandled. This does not mean it happens all the time, and the other posters are most likely correct in there assumptions by way of hands on visual and correct results they are or have achieved. Poor gluing/clamping/drying techniques are usually the cause of such failures.

Therefore what I offer was gleaned from my time in contract furniture and problems they overcame in this area which have worked well as a fix for this problem, if and or when it does occur. All the face joints received what is called a reveal/quirk/break - 1/16x1/16th inch where the pieces go together. If by chance the joint does crack, it is simple to fill and brush/air brush/t.u. gun the color/clear over it to make it disappear again. It does not detract from the look in fact it enhances the look. That’s what I believe but that will be up to your company to determine for themselves. It could actually be a good marketing tool if you want to use it.



Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?


Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Finishing

  • KnowledgeBase: Finishing: General Wood Finishing


    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.



    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2016 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB











  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers


      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article