What is your opinion on the best and strongest method of attaching the face frame to the cabinet? I'm thinking of purchasing a Porter Cable bench top pocket cutting machine and, since the sides of the cabinets will be covered by another cabinet or an end panel, pocket screws may be the way to go. Or should I dado out the back of the face frames and glue and clamp? This seems slower and I have two big kitchens to do. Also, when using prefinished ply, should I dado the sides to expose raw wood for a glue joint? I would rather butt joint and use confirmats, but I'm not sure how well that will work. I would also like opinions on hot melts. How well do they work and are they a good substitute for Titebond yellow?
I'm going to give you the fastest and "plenty strong enough" method I used for several years building face framed cabinets (I now build frameless). Glue (Titebond II) and strategically placed 2", 15 ga. finish nails shot from a PC air nailer. At least two nails per frame (to act as a mechanical fastener, should the glue ever fail). I tried very hard to make sure they drove in behind the door/drawer front overlay along the stiles and tops of bottom and mid rails. The crown molding hides the nail head holes at the top rails on upper cabs. All nail holes are filled with matching putty after finishing.
If I were still building framed cabinets, I'd use pocket screws as you've suggested, through the unfinished (outside) of the carcass. This would eliminate the nail holes in the frames and provide considerably more clamping pressure than face nailing. Iíve always used pocket screws to assemble face frame parts but Iíve not used them to attach the frames to the cabinets. The problem I had was that I would never know where along the frame run I needed to pull the not so flat frame against the carcass. You could always wait to mount the frame and pencil mark the cabinet side, and then use a portable (Kreg Jig) to drill the pocket holes at those particular areas, where the screw could pull the frame tight against the panel edges where needed.
Heck, maybe it would be just as easy to use clamps and wait for the glue to dry... No, I'd glue and shoot some nails into them and keep on goin'.
I'm sure glad I don't have to worry about all that stuff anymore. Frameless is the way to go. Unfortunately, cabinets without frames bring up a few other problems. Anyone got a good edgebander they don't need anymore?