Odd Cabinet Heights with 32mm System Hole Spacing

Cabinetmakers who use the 32mm system discuss how to create symmetrical balanced panels when building cabinets with heights that aren't even multiples of the basic 32mm module. February 26, 2007

I have partly adopted the 32mm system for cabinet construction. I currently use what I call "mixed measurement" construction for upper cabinets. The uppers are either 30" or 42" tall, and to reduce the "Swiss cheese" appearance, I've been using 5mm shelf holes in series of three or five for each shelf (customer decides).

If I use balanced panel construction, and change my, for example, 42" (106.7cm) cabinet to 105.6cm (an even multiple of 3.2), how far from the panel end should I place a pair of 5mm holes to mount hinges (typically full overlay doors)? Should these holes be 37mm from the front edge (do the hinges which mount with 5mm screws use the same front offset measurement as the ones which mount with #6 screws)?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor K:
I would use "first hole" 64mm and 96mm for the hinge spacing which would be about 3.149" or 80mm for hinge cup drilling on doors. 3" o.c. always seams to work very well for hinge cups. Also all of the hinges I have used they have always been 37mm from front edge for full overlay.

From contributor R:
I build frameless cabinets using Blum Process 32 specs. They don't show a 42" wall cabinet but I generated my own drawing using the same convention. The first 5mm hole is 46.5mm from the bottom and is 37mm back from the front. The cabinet should be 1063mm tall (41.8") to get a balanced panel so the hinges are 62.5mm center in from each end of the door.

From contributor K:
My solution creates a balanced cabinet for the height (1056mm) in your example. We create balanced cabinets all of the time from any cabinet height or width. It does not have to be a multiple of 32mm, you just have to create symmetry in 32mm increments. This may not be the method for most True32 guys but it works very well with little restrictions.

From contributor C:
To contributor K: Process32 cabinets (not to be confused with True32 cabinets) are designed for a 10mm reveal at the top of both base and upper cabinets and a zero reveal at the bottom giving you unbalanced end panels.

From contributor H:
The 37mm setback is not only used for all hinge plates on upper cabinets, including 45degree, blind corner and Lazy Susan pie-cut. It is also used for all base cabinet drawer slides including Accuride side mount, tandem, undermount and Blum side mount.

From contributor E:
To contributor C: What are the implications of an "unbalanced end panel"? Do you mean that the end panel would have to follow the door? I thought 10-12mm top reveal and 0 bottom on overlay doors was pretty standard. I use the process 32 system all the time it has worked out great for me - it is a standard reference point to work from

From contributor C:
There's nothing wrong with having unbalanced panels like you have in the Process32 written by Blum. The nice thing about having a 10mm reveal on the top is that you probably won't ever have to worry about the top drawer scraping the bottom edge of the countertop. Those detailed schematics are fantastic for figuring out how to mount the drawer box to the drawer front on base cabinets, vanities and desks.

It's all a matter of personal preference and dependent on what kind of equipment you have at hand. I only have a 13 head delta line boring machine so I need to bore balanced panels (first and last hole equidistant from the edge) because at some point, I'm going to have to rotate the panel around to bore the other side of holes - I need to keep things simple! I start my first hole at 48 and dimension my end panels 774 (768+6) so that I have a reveal of 3mm above and below for clearance.

If you've got a double line boring machine, PTP or a CNC you have the option of efficiently boring them in an unbalanced pattern. Theoretically, it would be convenient to be able to just have a stack of end panels without needing to account for left or right-handedness.

From contributor E:
I use the mini-press with a seven spindle head and appropriate stops, and it has made life a lot easier.