face frame question

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Forum topic by Mainiac Matt posted 06-30-2012 12:22 AM 1316 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mainiac Matt

7639 posts in 2232 days

06-30-2012 12:22 AM

Topic tags/keywords: face frame

I’m ready to face frame my bench project… shown here

and the styles will be rather narrow (~1-1/4”)...

so I’m looking for a recomendation whether or not I should

1. join them to the rails with FF biscuits (using the tiny cutter that comes with the PC router)


2. pocket screw them… and if so, if this is two narrow to get two screws into


3. something else….

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

11 replies so far

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3601 days

#1 posted 06-30-2012 12:28 AM

For me pocket screws

View DonnyD's profile


49 posts in 2078 days

#2 posted 06-30-2012 12:41 AM

id use pocket screws u can get 2 screws in 1 1/4 ive got 2 in 1in use plenty of glue or mortise and tenon alot stronger than pocket screws but slower

View cabmaker's profile


1694 posts in 2712 days

#3 posted 06-30-2012 02:05 AM

How wide are your rails ? two inch rails will receive no. 0 biscut without blow out.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5565 posts in 2717 days

#4 posted 06-30-2012 02:12 AM

I would use pocket screws. One or two per joint would be fine with some glue.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View bruc101's profile


1197 posts in 3445 days

#5 posted 06-30-2012 02:50 AM

Pocket screws

-- Bruce Free Plans

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Mainiac Matt

7639 posts in 2232 days

#6 posted 06-30-2012 04:00 AM

top rail is ~1-3/8, bottom rail is ~ 3-1/2”

I have a solid model of the completed bench in the first post of my blog.

Thanks for the comments….

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 2579 days

#7 posted 06-30-2012 12:35 PM

Agreed – Pocket screws work great. But Use buiscits to attach frame to cabinet.

Man, this thing must be heavy! It looks like you built three boxes out of 3/4” and screwed them together. That would mean the vertical stiles need to be 1 1/2” minimum – right? I like the FF to have a shadow line (overlap) to hide imperfections when ever possible. But it sounds like you’re locked in to the size if the drawers are already built.
Also, this looks like it’s going to be a melamine veneered cabinet. Are you going to veneer the face frame too or paint it? If you paint it it won’t look the same as the melamine. different shine, brush strokes, doesn’t wear as well.

Idea: what if you skipped the face frame and just glued formica to what you already have? It would have the same finish as the drawers and look modern like the rest of the cabinet.

If you are going with a face frame, I would suggest spray prefinishing it before you install it to the box, make frame overlap sides 1/8” for a reveal, use maple if you want rock hard surface like melamine.

Don’t call me when it’s time to move it….uh, I think I may be busy. Ha!

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Mainiac Matt

7639 posts in 2232 days

#8 posted 06-30-2012 03:20 PM

the boxes were made from salvaged 5/8” MDF… drawers from salvaged 7/16” MDF…

the three boxes have a sheet of 1/2” CDX spanning the back… And a sheet of 5/8 MDF spanning the top and bottom.

So for a cheesy MDF bench … it should be pretty stable and rugged.

I”m going to have to stick with the FF as I need the extra 3/4” depth to get my drawers all the way in.

I was hoping to FF and band the top with red oak left over from previous projects… but I don’t have pieces long enough for the rails.

I did, however, manage to scrounge up two nice pieces of 8’ clear pine from my stash…. and I may have some mre out in the barn…. so it’s looking like it’s going to be Pine … stained “Pecan” and probably finished with poly Acrylic….

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View John 's profile


253 posts in 3305 days

#9 posted 06-30-2012 03:39 PM

I have used dowels in the past when my stiles are that narrow just for the added strength.

-- John

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Mainiac Matt

7639 posts in 2232 days

#10 posted 06-30-2012 03:43 PM

here’s a model of the bench….

so I’m thinking that the blueish gray will now be stained pine and the top banded with same.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

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Mainiac Matt

7639 posts in 2232 days

#11 posted 06-30-2012 03:44 PM


the shop has yellow walls with lime green trim (left over paint from bathroom…. blame Martha Stuart if it’s ugly)

I cold paint the FF and banding green to match shop cabinets and trim.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

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