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Face Frame construction methods.


Ok everyone, I am looking for information on the best methods for building face frame cabinets.
My back ground is that I have built full overlay cabinets for years, I started out working for a company that did miles and miles of institutional cabinets, mostly birch plywood, started out with 1/4 inch solid edging and then moved to 3 mm pvc edging, boxes were all cut on a beam saw, machined on a nested or thru cnc and put together in a case clamp.
I have continued to build full overlay but recently started doing the face frame option.
I put my face frames together with pocket screws as I have only done a few smaller jobs and I fastened my face frames to my boxes with domino’s.
For my drawer slides I used accuride drawer slides and I shimmed them out with material the same thickness as the overhang of the face frame. I used a concealed hinge that attached to the 3/4 inch edge of the face frame and the boxes were pretty much the same construction as every other box I built. I sprayed the face frame before I applied it as the boxes were melamine.
I would say my production/speed was very poor, seemed to take me forever.
So my questions are, what is the most efficient construction method? What is the best hardware, for Blum under mount slides are you using the clips that mount to the back of the cabinet? What do you think is the best looking or optimal size of your stiles and rails? How much do you overhang the end of your box, both on exposed gables and when you fasten two cabinets together?
I know that to those who build these every day these questions seem amateur, but I have no experience building them.
As for construction methods, I have pretty much all the equipment that a well set up cabinet shop would have.

7/12/21       #2: Face Frame construction methods. ...
Dennis Bean  Member


Why go backwards now? With your experience with full access commercial cabinetry you could easily build a successful reputation building full access residential cabinetry. Many would say….”but I’m in an area where the customer wants face frame”. Let those people go to Home Depot, you have something better to offer.
Just my 2 cents

Best of luck.

Denis Bean
Salice America

7/12/21       #3: Face Frame construction methods. ...
Tom Gafgen

I agree with Dennis

7/12/21       #4: Face Frame construction methods. ...
Mark B

Agree with Dennis too but if I were building res-cabinetry (thankfully not) in my area and stuck to frameless sending the face-framers elsewhere, even after showing the gains, they would all be at HD or the 2-3 other custom shops. I'd be sitting in an impeccably clean/tidy shop filing my nails. Maybe snag a few full insets but those would be few and far between. Its in no way a correct commentary on frameless/full-access but around here frameless in residential is overwhelmingly seen as a cost savings option even using veneer core. PB/MDF core, MDF routed doors, foil, whatever, they see as cheap/plastic even if you put 5 piece wood doors on. Its just the way these people see it and educating them is a doozy. Its weird. For years its been said the cabinet maker cares about the carcass and drawers more than the customer and no one cares about carcass but floating frameless they pick the carcass to death.

To the Scott, I think the answers you will get with regards to construction methods/practices will be as many as there are options. Everything from face frames glued and clamped to the carcass (know one shop that still does that), to pocket screws, dado, biscuits, on and on. Same with face frames, M&T, pocket screws, Hoffman, domino....

Construction details and overhangs kinda depend on your construction method, applied ends, skins, etc. Hardware affected by are you building mostly door or drawer cabs. I probably run 3 residential kitchens a year, often less. for years they have been almost 100% drawer cabs on the bases or doors with roll-outs, so I build flush interiors, no blocking out (other than a roll out) for slides, they are planted right on the carcass. Hinge plates are not projecting back off the face frame in to mid air. Same with uppers. All finished ends are rail & stile and applied so with a flush interior, 1/2" carcass, 1 1/2" face frame, we have a 1" overhang and the applied end leaves the standard 1/4" when applied. Face frames are glued and pocket screwed for both construction and application to the boxes.

7/12/21       #5: Face Frame construction methods. ...
Chris H


While the Lamello "P-System" connectors were designed specifically for Euro-style frameless cabinet assembly, customers started adapting it for many other applications. Invisibly attaching face frames to cabinet boxes is one of the more popular applications for the Lamello Clamex P-14 or Tenso P-14 connector (with pre-load clip accessory). This method allows for flat-pack transport and pre-finishing of face frames without masking off your cabinet boxes. I've put one Instragram link to our customers using this method below, but here are a couple more you can copy and paste too:



Please reach out to us if you want more info!

Link to Instagram Post

7/12/21       #6: Face Frame construction methods. ...
Dennis Bean  Member


Hey Mark,

I agree that building full access in a face frame market can be swimming up stream. I have been working the Midwest market from Ohio to the Mississippi for 30 years and have seen quite a bit of both. Even the Amish of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois are building Euro-style. They have adopted frameless because they have clients in urban markets like Chicago and, Indianapolis.

Well, this really does not have anything to do with the original question, so I will close with this:

Build whatever makes you money. :)


7/12/21       #7: Face Frame construction methods. ...

Thanks for the great comments, I guess I asked a really open ended question, and like mentioned there will be a lot of different ways that people do construction to basically come up with the same end result.
I don’t think my intentions are to do a lot of face frame cabinets, but the ones I did do, and if I ever do a few more I just want to be proficient, I felt like I was as slow as molasses.

7/12/21       #8: Face Frame construction methods. ...
Mark B

They are not as speedy as frameless that for poop damn sure.

8/17/21       #9: Face Frame construction methods. ...
Bruce H

I think the biggest resistance to euro cabinet construction is the cabinetmaker. If the cabinetmaker doesn't believe in the system, doesn't understand it, thinks it won't work, has never tried it, thinks they are not strong enough, it most likely it's not for them. Most customers doesn't know the difference. Even if they do, you mention the fact they are loosing 2" between every drawer, usually ends the discussion. There are places where "style and appearance" is the driving factor, FF it will be. I recently turned down a 100K job, the designer got involved and decided she wanted face frame, inset doors, hand mortised hinges and a hand brushed painted finish. It was all about the look which I was OK with, just not for me.

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