Setting Up a 32mm Stop System

Tips on the "Sticks" 32mm stop system from Metricks, and general advice on getting started with 32mm Euro cabinetry methods. August 31, 2009

I just bought these for my Blum machine and the directions arenít that great. Iím new to 32mm boring so I need to know where to begin with this stop system. Is the fence supposed to float over the table?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor K:
The "Sticks" is a great introduction into the world of 32mm and a great tool for getting everything into place and on system holes. The product comes with two short positioners that mount to the mini press permanently, it is very important that these are placed correctly. The sticks are then attached with carriage bolts with thumb screws so that they can be adjusted to the various positions needed for hinges, system holes, drawer slides, etc. Not too complicated but there is a lot to it.

From contributor J:
Here are some Knowledge Base articles you could look at.

Drawer Runner Holes In 32mm System

Methods of 32mm System Layout

Blum's Process 32 Manual

From contributor J:
Most important Ė the True32 Ten Commandments.

The system is a design specific application of the 32mm system. True32 cabinets have full overlay faces and the boxes are designed to be stackable. Because of this, their basic rules (ten commandments) are a bit more specific. Following are my comments on how those rules relate to 32mm basics.

1. Thou shall only use the metric measuring system.

The 32mm system is a metric system where everything is sized an located in 32mm increments. Using the metric system to design and build 32mm cabinets is a must. While you won't get precise US/1" equivalents, you don't have to deviate from standard US sizes by more than 16mm (5/8").

2. Thou shall use end panels that are a divisible of 32mm.

This is a True32 specific rule based on their chosen panel design (Stackable Boxes), it is not a 32mm system rule. For any given panel design, all panels sizes will be some increment of 32mm bigger or smaller than the others. It doesn't matter if its kitchen uppers or lowers, a desk or a vanity, all panels will be some increment of 32mm plus top and bottom reveal (relative to door and drawer faces). Only with either a 1.5mm top and bottom reveal or a 3mm top reveal and 0mm bottom reveal, will your panel height will be divisible by 32mm.

3. Thou shall use door and drawer fronts that are a divisible of 32mm minus your reveal.

This is the most important and and overriding 32mm system rule. Because all faces (drawer, door, etc.) are mounted to to holes (via hardware, e.g. slides and hinges) that are 32mm apart, all faces are an increment of 32mm tall (less reveal/clearance). All face top and bottom edges have an equal top and bottom reveal relative to system holes (not the panel). All top and bottom edges (plus reveal) align on the center of system holes, or at the midpoint between system holes, with one or the other the chosen constant.

4. Thou shall use hinge locations that are equal distance from top and bottom of the door.

With the above rule, this is a given. The only logical way to mount doors that are an increment of 32mm (less reveal) tall and center on or between system holes is to bore the hinge cups an equal distance from each end.

5. Thou shall make all drawers with equal bottom referencing.

By following rule three, a common reference point is a given. All drawer face edges are an equal distance from a system hole and drawer adjusters, slides, etc. can all be mounted an equal distance from the top and/or bottom of the drawer box or drawer face (e.g. Indexing Wood Drawer Boxes). Your panel design and hardware will determine which provides a better reference point. The goal is to mount all hardware an equal distance from either the top and/or the bottom of the drawer box and/or face.

6. Thou shall locate the front line of holes 37mm back from front edge.

All 32mm system compatible hardware, that uses the front edge of the panel as a reference point, has its primary mounting hole in a standard location. By far the most common application is overlay faces mounted to slides and hinges that have a panel component that is mounted 37mm from the front edge of the panel. With inset faces, the distance from the front edge is 37mm plus the face thickness. So, while the front row of system holes is typically 37mm from the front edge, it's not always the case.

7. Thou shall locate the back line of holes to work with drawer guides.

While handy, having your rows the same distance from the front and back edges may be more efficient if you don't have a dual head boring machine. This rule also ignores construction hole boring considerations as the True32 assembly method involves random staples and screws. As a more general rule, all panel depths (for any given panel design) should be in 32mm increments.

8. Thou shall reference from the front and bottom of an end panel.

You'll get arguments on this one. The idea is that all inaccuracies end up where they are least visible (if you're that inaccurate, you've got bigger problems). Another, more general, rule is to use a consistent point of reference. More specifically, use the point of reference that works best with your panel design and machine setup, e.g. so that a reference edge is always against your boring stops.

9. Thou shall locate the first hole in one of four locations.

Panel design determines the first hole location. More specifically, rule three plus desired panel reveals and best reference point determines the first hole location. The True32 panel design is for full overlay cabinets with either a 1.5mm top and bottom reveal or a 3mm top reveal and a 0mm bottom reveal. For this particular design (and a bottom reference point) there are only four possible start hole locations (+/- 32mm) - 32 or 48mm for 1.5mm reveals and 30.5 or 46.5mm for 3/0mm reveals. With the 32 and 30.5mm start holes, the face edges will land on system holes. With the 48 and 46.5mm start holes, the face edges will lie centered between system holes. Your choice of drawer slides will determine which one works best.

10. Thou shall use the complete hardware solution.

Hardware choices and panel design are inseparable. Certain hardware (drawers slides in particular) will work better with some designs (e.g. less wasted space) and worse, or not at all, with other designs (e.g. box top/bottom clearances).

From contributor K:
I agree with the other posts but would also add to not get stuck with one "system" or methodology. They all have their good points and bad points so study them all and use them more as "guidelines" more than rules.

From contributor JD:
Contributor K makes a very good point. You sort of need to study all the methods, then develop what works for you based on the equipment you have, hardware you plan to use, etc. I personally use a variation of the True 32 method. Itís been modified to work with the Blum Tandem drawer slides. My starting hole is at 62.5mm.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for all the responses but I want to take it one step at a time and get these installed right first. Iíve got the short positioners mounted in place but I assume everyone that is using "the sticks" have a left and right outboard table top to support them. There seems to be a gap between the bottom of the sticks and my outboard tables. How do you mount them while still making them adjustable? What do you do with the gap below if anything?

From contributor K:

Did your sticks come with thumb screws and carriage bolts to allow you to slide them into the fence on the machine? They slide into the "T" type slot at the top of the fence. I placed another carriage bolt through the stick at the end hole with some washers, etc. so the stick made contact with my support tables at the ends.

From contributor K:
You didnít make it clear but the bolt on the end of the stick goes up from the bottom of the stick with the nut on top, it does not install to the table and is there for the height difference.

From the original questioner:
Thanks. I think I get it now. Now my concern is that the sticks are going to be flimsy toward the ends, maybe I will just buy 12í length of 30mmx30mm square T-slot to replace the short original one to make it more rigid. Also I donít plan on using it for drawer systems, just hinge and line boring, specifically line boring only where needed and for hinge clips for frameless construction. With that said, what is the most common position that the sticks are left in as far as the letters on the fixed mounts "L", etc?

From contributor R:
The Blum machine and the stick will never be accurate enough to do system cabinets. It will be ok for someone who wants to learn the basics but you will quickly find out that the .5 mm will make a huge difference in the quality of the cabinet.

From contributor P:
I'm missing something. Why can't you adjust a hinge slightly to make up for a .5mm error?

From the original questioner:
I think he is pointing out the fact that there might be .5mm of slop in the 32mm pins, seems like you could adjust to compensate for this "slop" and fine tune them.

From contributor J:
You could contact your local Blum rep and see if he will help you. When I bought the "Stick" my Blum rep came out and explained the system to me and it has worked real well.