Installing New Doors and Drawers in Old Face-Frame Cabinets

June 26, 2009

On old face frame cabinets, new drawer boxes with "Blum tandems" with soft close mechanism, new doors with "Blum face frame wing plates" (six way adjustment) - everything is inset. Yes it will be tedious. Does anyone have any tips for drawer installation in old face frame casework? For that matter tips in general are welcome. I know Blum sells inset drawer adjustments to get the drawer front flush. Does that slide installation tool work from Kreg or Blum (the square with handle and magnets on it)?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor V:
Can't say much except it will be tough to fit the inset doors and drawer fronts without being in the same room with the face frames. I suppose you could take pencil rubbings of all the openings back to your shop on butcher paper. Narrow openings are tough to install drawer hardware when you canít get to the back or through the top. Itís better to have 90 degree drill/drivers.

From contributor P:
Neither drawer slide holder has worked well for me Ė itís probably easier to make a jig for system screws that indexe from the underside of the cabinet's top or stretchers. It sounds like a nightmare job to me, especially considering the tolerances typically used for old FF openings.

From contributor T:
I rip full length blocks to go behind each slide, if the side of the cabinet isn't square with the FF rip it narrow and shim to adjust, attach two 1/4" tabs to the bottom that extend 1 1/4" to support the slide for securing; pilot the rip for screws. To locate the rips cut props (the height of the top of the drawer rail) one front one back to support the rip, just tape them to the side, if it's a drawer stack start at the top and work down. The drawer fronts aren't a problem because you'll place those after the box is installed; I use double face tape then screws and then the adjustment on the locking device.

From the original questioner:
I will be using the face frame brackets that mount to the back of the cabinet, this is the part that have not done. Tips on getting the drawer glide positioned at 90 degrees? The full rip idea front to back is what I normally do, but I am thinking it takes too much time in this case.

From contributor V:
To position at 90 degrees I would use a square. I think fitting insets into the frames is the larger portion of work.

From contributor R:
I don't think that Kreg jig works with undermount slides. You say old face frame cabinets - were the old doors and drawer fronts inset? Or were they partial or full overlay? If overlaid, I'd be careful to check the squareness of the openings. You could be in for quite a bit of work hand-fitting your new insets to ensure nice even reveals. From an aesthetic point of view, have the inside edges of the frames been beat-up or dented? That wouldn't look very good against the nice new crisp edges of your new insets.

From contributor T:
If you don't want to use solid rips use the rear mounting brackets and a block up front because your slide won't reach the ff but still use the vertical props because that allows you to just set your slide there and work on it, then as was said use a framing square off the rail to get your horizontal 90. The hinge mounting brackets are located like any other mounting plate except the screws go on the inside, if you need help with that Blum sells a PlateMate jig that works pretty well. Other than that, like everyone says, be sure your doors and drawers are fitted. I don't think itís going to be as challenging as you might think, dig in and do a great job.