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Forum topic by tymsg posted 03-06-2017 05:12 PM 570 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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tymsg

5 posts in 286 days


03-06-2017 05:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: kitchen cabinet reface rails stiles

I have traditional kitchen cabinets, well built, 3/4” plywood, with a 2” wide maple
face frame. I’m going to be making new drawer boxes, new drawer fronts, and new
doors. The countertop is quartz; there’s no overhang over the cabinets, the bottom
of the countertop is flush with the top of the cabinets.

I’m considering cutting out the face frame rails that are right below the counter top
to give me an additional 2” of height in the top drawer. The new doors will be
attached with Euro-style concealed hinges to the face frame. The face frame is
securely glued and finish-nailed to the cabinets.

Is this a good or bad idea?


16 replies so far

View Bobmedic's profile

Bobmedic

375 posts in 2641 days


#1 posted 03-06-2017 05:14 PM

The face frame gives support to the countertop above. Kinda like a header over a door.

View tymsg's profile

tymsg

5 posts in 286 days


#2 posted 03-06-2017 05:28 PM

Many cabinets (Euro-style) are built without any face frames at all, and they
support countertops fine.

(not being a wise guy, honest, I appreciate your point)

View mat60's profile

mat60

34 posts in 295 days


#3 posted 03-06-2017 05:30 PM

Bad Idea. I think you will make a mess trying to get the top rails off your cabinets. I have done kitchen cabinet refacing and this kind of work takes almost as long as building new. Have you done this kind of work before?

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tymsg

5 posts in 286 days


#4 posted 03-06-2017 06:32 PM

The face frames rails are joined to the stiles with wooden dowels.
It should be easy to cut the rails starting with a flush cut dovetail
saw, and finishing with an oscillating multitool right when I get
close to the countertop. The counter top (quartz) is attached
to the cabinets with some silicon caulk-there’s no hardware fasteners.

I have cut stiles off in a similar manner with no issues.
I built the original cabinets, so I’m not afraid of the job.
I am confident I could remove the top rails pretty easily and
the result will look good when I’m done.

I’m not concerned about how to (possibly) cut out the rails.
I am asking about why I shouldn’t do it (besides it’s a lot of
work). Getting the extra 2” of drawer height is worth
the effort to me.

View canadianchips's profile

canadianchips

2600 posts in 2836 days


#5 posted 03-06-2017 06:50 PM

Pictures of before would be nice ?
Im going out on a limb…..if you have quartz top you should be fine to remove top rail
Also depends on how wide each drawer is…...if you have 36+ wide maybe some saggingor breaking.
“Just something to keep in mind” Anything can be done !......just costs money

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View mat60's profile

mat60

34 posts in 295 days


#6 posted 03-06-2017 07:10 PM

Your still going to need something at least 3/4 wide where the rail was to make it even with the rest of the faceframe. So you will only gain 1 1/4 unless you just leave a hole.

View Bobmedic's profile

Bobmedic

375 posts in 2641 days


#7 posted 03-06-2017 07:34 PM


Many cabinets (Euro-style) are built without any face frames at all, and they
support countertops fine.

(not being a wise guy, honest, I appreciate your point)

- tymsg


Euro style cabinets also have a top on them. The face frame and back give the cabinet strength so it doesn’t rack. But hey, give it a go, worst case scenario the countertop breaks or the cabinet shifts because of the weight of the quartz.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4766 posts in 2333 days


#8 posted 03-06-2017 08:41 PM

To be honest, I don’t see a problem with what you want to do, except maybe a drawer top that is right at the bottom of the counter might look unusual. Are there rails between the existing drawers as well?

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View mat60's profile

mat60

34 posts in 295 days


#9 posted 03-06-2017 09:51 PM

For cabinets with doors under the drawers you could move that faceframe down for smaller doors and have room for larger drawers. [ A smile goes here]

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mat60

34 posts in 295 days


#10 posted 03-06-2017 10:00 PM

Would some pull out shelfs behind the doors help?

View tymsg's profile

tymsg

5 posts in 286 days


#11 posted 03-06-2017 10:00 PM

> I’m going out on a limb…..if you have quartz top you should be
> fine to remove top rail. Also depends on how wide each drawer is

>> So you will only gain 1 1/4 unless you just leave a hole.

I was planning a just leaving a hole. When it’s all done,
it should have a Euro style look (my wife is from Germany, and
it’s her wish, not mine). Between double doors on a Euro style
cabinet, I don’t think (I invite correction) that there is any
faux stile: there’s just a very small gap with nothing behind it.
And that’s what I was thinking for these 2 cabinets: a very small
gap between the counterop and drawer front with nothing behind it.

>>> Euro style cabinets also have a top on them. The face frame and back
>>> give the cabinet strength so it doesn’t rack.
>>> But hey, give it a go, worst case scenario the countertop breaks
>>> or the cabinet shifts because of the weight of the quartz.

Duh, thanks! Having never built a Euro style cabinet, it never
occurred to that they had a top. That certainly gives me some
pause and I appreciate your insight.

>>>> To be honest, I don’t see a problem with what you want to do,
>>>> except maybe a drawer top that is right at the bottom of the
>>>> counter might look unusual.

I don’t think it would look unusual… That’s how all Euro style
cabinets look. All my drawer fronts (whether or not I cut these 2
top rails) will run up to the bottom of the countertop.

>>>> Are there rails between the existing drawers as well?

On the end run, I have a 6” tall x 14” wide drawer
over a door. There is a 3/4” plywood “shelf” right
below the drawer. I put quotes around “shelf” because
it’s not a shelf that anything sits on, it just separates
the drawer comparment from the larger cabinet space
below the drawer. There also is a 2” wide face frame
rail running across this “shelf”. This “shelf”
is 3/4” plywood dadoed into the cabinet sides and
glued in place. I was planning on leaving the
rail between the drawer and the door in place, because
the top of the rail is flush with the “shelf” top.

In the other cabinet I’m thinking about doing this,
it’s a 3 drawers stacked on top of each other in the
middle of a run. The top drawer is 6” tall x 13” wide.
Again, there are 3/4” plywood dadoed/glued “shelves”
between the 3 drawer compartments, and face frame
rails as above.

Because of the sturdy “shelves” located 6” from the top of
the cabinets, I don’t think racking would be a problem.
But on the other hand, I think it’s a valid concern
to wonder about how big of a span a quartz countertop
can span. 14” doesn’t seem like very much right now,
but I want to look into that more before just blindly assuming
everything will be OK.

What really got me thinking about this is I plan on using
Blum 363H undermount drawer slides, instead of side-mount
slides, and that means I’m going to be losing some
drawer height already.

This sure is an active forum. Thank you to everyone
who has provided help.

View tymsg's profile

tymsg

5 posts in 286 days


#12 posted 03-06-2017 11:15 PM

Searching for “how far can a quartz countertop span”, I found this info
from one particular quartz manufacturer (not mine):

For 3cm thick quartz countertops of < 26” width
supported on 3 sides (for example, a dishwasher),
the countertop must be supported every 36 inches.
(This is based on a support weight of 140 lbs; decide
for yourself if standing on your countertop is worth
the risk.)

I do have a 3cm product, and it is < 26” wide, and it is
supported on 3 sides (I have a 3/4” x 4” plywood nail rail
installed in the rear top of the cabinets)

Even if my brand of quartz countertop is slightly different,
it must be OK for it to span at least the width of a dishwasher
(24”). Since the two cabinets I’m considering doing this on
are < 24” wide, I’m convincing myself that there’s no technical
reason not to cut out the top rail on these 2 cabinets to give me
more drawer height.

I wish I could find someone who’s done it. I don’t like being a
trailblazer.

View jerryminer's profile

jerryminer

811 posts in 1281 days


#13 posted 03-07-2017 06:14 AM

We “clear span” stone countertops over 24” dishwasher spaces all the time. Your 14” span should not be a problem.

I wouldn’t worry about racking if you’ve got a run of cabinets screwed to the wall.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2612 posts in 2136 days


#14 posted 03-07-2017 01:51 PM

I say structurally you should have no issue. Visually it would look wrong to me. Do you really need to pack your drawers to the brim?

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2716 posts in 1320 days


#15 posted 03-07-2017 02:17 PM

I don’t think you will have a problem with it. There is not much support from that top rail anyway.

When we had granite tops installed, I added an oak rail to a 36” wide cabinet thinking it needed support.

The installer told me it was unnecessary unless someone was going to stand on the counter and jump up and down.

I did my cabs frameless and even thought there is a 2” top rail, the drawer faces go to within 1/2” of the countertop. It looks fine.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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