Framing Out a Shaker-Style End Panel

      Thoughts on detailing the end panel of a cabinet to look like the Shaker doors on the front. July 31, 2009

I'm building some cabinets using some really nice 3/4" cherry ply, and I'm wondering about creating a frame and panel at the end of a peninsula, without the standard 1/4" applied end panel. It seems wasteful to apply a 1/4" pre-finished cherry panel on top of cherry that's already there! Have any of you ever just built a 1/4" or 1/8" frame and attached it to 3/4" to make it look like a frame and panel design? That seems kind of cheesy to me but I'm wondering what others' opinions might be.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor G:
Build it as part of the box. I do it all the time. This is my standard way of building cabinets. I rarely use skins, probably because I rarely use melamine or pocket holes/screws to attach my FF's. To make it a finished look make the panel flush to the FF (if you are building FF cabinets).

From the original questioner:
Yes, they're going to be FF cabinets with the FF's being flush to the panel. I guess what I'm not sure about is how to deal with framing a 3/4" panel. With 1/4" it's simple, using 3/4" thick frame members. But with 3/4", do you just build the box as usual then apply the frame directly onto the panel's surface? Or are you talking about building the cabinet end itself out of a 3/4" frame and a 1/4" panel?

From contributor G:
The end panel is the cabinet side.

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"Photo by Leo G."

From contributor V:
Depends on whether you are talking about frame and panel or a flat panel end. Either way as contributor G suggests you simply make the end panel as part of your carcass. In other words it is fastened to the top and bottom shelves and also connected to the cabinet back. The face frame overlaps it and is glued to it and sanded flush. You may need to change a frame and panel stile width to compensate for the thickness of the face frame which is being added to it. Applied 1/4" skins are not standard in my shop anyway. The method contributor G and I describe is probably considered old school to some folks and it is more demanding than an "appliqué" finish end.

From the original questioner:
Sorry, I didn't present my original question clearly enough. The cabinets are going to be shaker style with flat recessed panel doors, and I'd like to have a decorative end panel on the cabinets that mirror that style. The easy thing to do would be to build the boxes and at the end of the run build a recessed panel with 3/4" rails/stiles and 1/4" prefinished ply and screw it on to that cabinet end, right? But since the boxes are cherry ply I wonder if I could just build a, 1/2" thick frame with no panel and attach it to the end panel. Seems kind of 'fake' to me but it would be much less wasteful. I'm probably making this question a lot more difficult than it needs to be.

From contributor D:
I've done it in the past just and as contributor V suggested you simply reduce the width of the stile on the end that meets the face frame the thickness of the face frame.

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From the original questioner:
I really like the framed drawer fronts, too. What are you using for the panels and frame members? It looks great.

From contributor T:
45 degree cut, glued and taped or a lock miter would make the ff to side panel joint almost unseen. That’s called a stile/rail drawer front with a inset panel.

From contributor G:
I would just call it Shaker style.

From contributor P:
In its simplest form this is what you are trying to achieve, and it's not cheesy it's just another way of doing it.

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From contributor V:
We may have misunderstood you a little bit, you said you are "building". I guess you mean you already built. Safe to say, in the future it would be less work to just omit the 3/4" cherry plywood end and substitute the actual frame and panel shaker style finish end you want. If it is a matter of matching or using the nice 3/4" cherry ply. An experienced millman would be able to machine 3/4" cherry plywood so that it fits into a stick and cope frame of 3/4" solid stock and matches the look of the doors. It would require some creative work inside the cabinet and I would personally prefer to find some 1/4" ply that matches.

As we were trying to say, you only need one end panel. In my book, it might as well be a frame and panel matching the doors and made to be an integral part of the cabinet. On the other hand, it is often made as a separate item and fastened to the real cabinet end with screws from the inside.

From the original questioner:
Contributor T - I was just curious as to whether the panels were solid wood, 1/2" ply, or whatever. A lot of shaker kitchens I see have simple slab drawers so I was just commenting on those.

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