Masking and Spraying Face Frames

      Tips on how to finish wood face frames without damaging their melamine cabinet walls. August 23, 2006

My kitchen cab boxes will be constructed of almond melamine particleboard. I fasten the face frames to the boxes with either splines or biscuits. The problem is, face frames are maple to be stained cherry with ML Campbell pre-cat over. How can I finish face frames without damaging melamine? Do you finish frames first and then mount them to cabs? If so, how does the glue adhere to a finished piece of maple where it butts up against the particleboard box?

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor R:
I always finish the face frames before they are installed. No masking, no mess. Do not finish the backs of the frames and you will not have any problem with the glue.

From contributor G:
Have you ever had any warping issues due to the backs not being sealed?

From contributor R:
No problems. We glue and pocket screw the face frames to the boxes so even it there were warping, it will lay flat when attached to the boxes.

From contributor O:
I use the European 32 mm system, so I only occasionally use frames, usually on furniture style add-ons. I'll usually just rip sheets of stiff cardboard the height of the inside of the boxes plus 1/16", rip for width and pop in snug and spray, then cleanup overspray with thinner.

From contributor T:
I don't use melamine, but most of this would work. I pre-assemble the face frames and finish the front and inside edges only. Then I attach to the case using biscuits. I then sand the sides of the cabinet and face frame flush, ease the sharp edge and then finish the cabinet side/face frame edge. Since I'm spraying from the side, the inside doesn't get sprayed. I don't think it's necessary to finish the face frame backs, but if they were finished, it wouldn't affect the biscuit joints.

From contributor M:
When we did face frame cabs, we assembled the frames, staining all edges before assembly, then stapled brown paper bag stock to the back side of the face frame using an Arrow electric stapler. The brown paper stock can be purchased from any paper product distributor and comes in 1000 ft. rolls in convenient widths (24, 30, 36 and 42"). After finishing, just punch hole and run a razor knife around the edge of the box and remove paper. It only takes a couple of minutes to line the back of each frame. Don't get bogged down with too many widths of paper, as it can be folded back to accommodate the needed size. I typically stocked 30" and 42" to handle most applications.

From contributor S:
Contributor G, you glue *and* pocket screw? Aren't pocket screws secure enough on their own?

From contributor R:
Pocket screws are strong, but we glue and screw. In pre-finishing the frames, they get handled a lot, but the joints will not open up at all if glued with the screws. Otherwise, the joints will open some.

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 © 1996-2018 - 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