Equipment for Beaded Face Frame Door Fabrication

Thoughts on machinery and methods for making beaded face frames for doors. July 28, 2012

I have recently had interest from customers in beaded face frame cabinets. Have you had experience with the Kreg beaded face frame system? It seems quite ingenious. How are most of you doing it now? Are you using euro hinges?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor J:
I have just finished up a set of beaded face frame cabs with euros. The tool I used was the Kreg beaded face frame jig. Works great, but you have to have essentially the Kreg table as well for back set, and ensure each piece is pre-sized/jointed, etc. before you start notching - very important. Also, the bead set/notch you get with the machine is on the small size. Buy the next size larger at minimum. It's the cheapest, fastest option to get you in the game, but you may find that sometimes the notch is off 1/64 in depth. Real machines will set you back 2-4k for used, so the 500.00 is peanuts. Euros I set the doors almost 3/32 deeper than the rails and stiles. Looks great in relation to the bead. Face frame sides/bottom are built just about flush with a box maybe 1/32 inset. That way euro hinges are easily installed. Hinges to get: Blum 107 degree, 95 degree thick dr, 170s. These will offer the most cranking and clearance.

From contributor M:
I have never done beaded face frames either, but the Sommerfeld Tools system seems to be a better and less expensive option.

From contributor E:
Non-mortise butt hinges with a decorative finial will give you a much better, more classic look. The only drawback is you have to be spot on with your reveals.

From contributor J:
Kreg system is much safer, and the stop system is so much quicker and safer than a giant spining hunk of steel on your table saw.

From contributor R:
I have the Kreg system and it works just fine. I built a router table for it so I didn't have to move it. The only thing that is difficult is doing the stiles for tall cabinets - need support to hold up the long pieces.

From contributor S:
The Sommerfield system works great. The cost is about the same as the Kreg attachment after building a sled of UHMW plastic. I have a dedicated system on an old table saw and never change the setup.

From contributor K:
Anyone having issues with chipping when running the bead on the rails and stiles? Perhaps I need a new bit. This is one area of my production that I'd like to speed up. I currently make my face frames, then apply the bead. I run the bead onto strips, rip it off, run it through the widebelt, cut, then apply with glue and brads, fill the holes and miters (if needed), say "thank goodness that's done."

What is out there for large equipment? The Kreg system seems kind of hobbyist to me.

From contributor D:
The next step up from the Kreg jig is the Morso/Hoffman chopper, which is around $8000.

From contributor J:
About the chipping on the rails and stiles… I use soft maple quite a bit and running the bead, I did get some chipping, but it's usually only on the right angle part of the cut. It's due to grain direction when routing, and sometimes by the time you get to the beading, you have zero control at which way you need to push it through the machine.

From contributor B:
I found a bit set (bevel cutter and beading bit) for $59.00. I have several doors to bead, so I'll let you know how it works out. Never done this on a frame and panel door, just casing. In the past when doing face frames I've applied the bead, but if this proves to be efficient I'll rout 'em. More professional, in my opinion.

From contributor W:
Until I can afford a Hoffman machine, I'm going to keep applying glue, pin and clamp. Put the cabinet right in front of the chop saw and go to town. When I'm done you can't tell the bead is applied. Titebond and clamped, that bead will not go anywhere for a long, long time.

From contributor J:
Ha! I just looked at their prices. 20k... I'd cut them with a serrated knife before I'd ever spend that. Let the big boys play with that equipment, in their multi-million dollar shops. Used equipment is looking real good.