Working with Faceframes

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Forum topic by ynathans posted 06-23-2014 05:04 PM 974 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ynathans's profile


55 posts in 1838 days

06-23-2014 05:04 PM

Hey folks,
I’m going to make a small cabinet with some drawers for shop storage. I’ve done similar projects before, but did not use face frames so I’m going to give them a shot. Dimensions are about 24” wide by 30” deep.
Had a couple questions:

1. Drawer slides: If I attach a face frame to the front of the cabinet and I am using softclose drawer slides, I assume the slides have to be flush with the front of the cabinet (the face frame) in order to fully close, so do I need to mount the slides to the side of the face frame (in addition to the plywood) so they are flush with the front of the cabinet? (I hope that makes sense)

2. If I wanted to use plywood for the drawers but was hoping that the plywood edges would not be visible when the drawers are open is it normal to attach some hardwood to the top of the drawers?

3. Are there standard widths and thicknesses for a face frame when using ¾” ply?

If you have any other advice on working with faceframes I’d greatly appreciate it.


5 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


5741 posts in 2934 days

#1 posted 06-23-2014 05:24 PM

I like 1-3/4 wide faceframe components. Put them together with pocket screws.
Edgebanding plywood can be done if you prefer the look. Otherwise just use a secondary wood like poplar, soft maple, or pine to build the drawer boxes.
For the drawer slides, first decide on what type of drawers… overlay or inset. Then buy the appropriate slides and design the cabinet around the hardware. Each type of slide has its own requirements.

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

View MT_Stringer's profile


3173 posts in 3352 days

#2 posted 06-23-2014 05:30 PM

Hello Nathan. The drawer slides need to come out flush with the face frame front, or maybe just a tad recessed inside. Check your instructions that come with the slides.

You have a couple of choices for mounting them.
  • Build your cabinet, then use spacers to bring the inside of the cabinet flush with the face frame edge.
  • Build your face frame, then build the cabinet to fit the opening so the sides are flush with the inside opening.

Actually, I do it both ways. It just depends on what I am building. But, I usually build the face frame first (using pocket screw technology) and then build the cabinet carcass to fit. If I need to add a spacer or shim in order for the slides to fit properly, so be it.

For shop cabinet drawers, I have used white pine bought at the big box store for the sides, front and rear. And half inch ply for the bottoms. My drawers are full of stuff (lots of clamps) that makes for a heavy weight in each drawer. I have had no problem with simple rabbit joints, glue and brad nails.

Feel free to read through my blogs. I overhauled my garage by building wall hung cabinets with lots of storage.

I also have other blogs documenting project builds where I have used face frames for cabinets.

My Garage/Workshop Makeover

Our Buffet

Lee and Shelley's Wet Bar

Good luck. Hope you find this info helpful.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View skipj's profile


97 posts in 2393 days

#3 posted 06-24-2014 11:50 AM

What ever you do get the drawer slides first and read the instructions’ before building the boxes.

View skatefriday's profile


420 posts in 1603 days

#4 posted 06-24-2014 05:46 PM

I really like the look of baltic birch ply in drawer boxes and wouldn’t
use veneer core plywood because I would worry about warping
issues, and even still wouldn’t edge band because I just don’t like
the look.

If I really wanted solid edges on drawer boxes, I’d just pay a little
extra for a solid hardwood.

View RogerM's profile


798 posts in 2520 days

#5 posted 06-27-2014 02:16 PM

Check out the Sommerfield’s Own tongue and groove cabinet maker system ( This system really works and would be something for you to consider.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

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