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Face frame for furniture cabinet

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Forum topic by coloradotrout posted 12-23-2014 10:22 PM 1572 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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coloradotrout

61 posts in 1463 days


12-23-2014 10:22 PM

What might be a good way to build and attach the face-frames for this—http://ana-white.com/2011/08/dining-room-buffet-cabinet ?

My version has only 1 middle divider. So, two open bays on either side of the middle vertical panel. I dadoed the top, bottom, sides, and middle divider to create a “box” with center partition. I guess at this point my only option is to build the face-frame (pocket hole screws) and attach with biscuits, or possibly just biscuit on each stile and then each rail individually. It seems there would be a lot of opportunity for error to take a complete face-frame and biscuit and glue the entire assembly onto the panel edges.

What’s a typical way to build furniture (vs kitchen cabinets) that have face frames? I’ve ready some about starting with the frame and building the “box” around it.


19 replies so far

View pjones46's profile

pjones46

986 posts in 2103 days


#1 posted 12-24-2014 12:09 AM

Is the unit going to be painted? Is it free standing or attached to the wall? What materials are you using to make the carcass and the frames?

-- Respectfully, Paul

View levan's profile

levan

472 posts in 2439 days


#2 posted 12-24-2014 01:33 AM

There shouldn’t be any issue with using biscuits to attach the stiles and rails to the boxes. If you can do it before you assemble the boxes, that would make clamping easier. I have been using tongue and groove for this many years. My preferred method and it works fine. I do glue the rails and stiles to the panels before assembly, making sanding and glue clean up easier. I think a lot of it is just ones preference. You might want to dry fit before glue.
Best wishes
Lynn

-- "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right". Henry Ford

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a1Jim

115201 posts in 3037 days


#3 posted 12-24-2014 01:46 AM

Some folks Nail on face frames others just glue them on.Lynn’s approach works well. I don’t like biscuits because of they can expand and telegraph through the sides of the cabinets ,biscuits can be a pain to align. When the sides of the cabinets are not exposed you can also pocket screw them on.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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pjones46

986 posts in 2103 days


#4 posted 12-24-2014 02:20 AM

Many of the production shops, glue and use pocket screws.

-- Respectfully, Paul

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

2850 posts in 2691 days


#5 posted 12-24-2014 02:33 AM

Yep, glue and pocket screws where they don’t show. If you are going to paint it, just glue, clamp and nail it with a brad nailer. For stain grade, glue and clamp. You could drive in a few brads and cut the heads off. Clamp the FF and the brads will hold it in place until the glue dries.

I built something similar (10’ 3”) but I built individual cabinet pieces and attached them. I don’t have room in the shop to build something that big.
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/93006

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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coloradotrout

61 posts in 1463 days


#6 posted 12-24-2014 03:48 PM

some details..
- it will be freestanding, but the back not exposed, so I’ve cut a 1/4” deep rabbet to hold the back
- for the carcass – 3/4” mdf (painted – only exterior sides will be visible)
- for the frames – hardwood (natural finish)
- the carcass is built; no back in yet
- the top will likely be hardwood; same as FF
- FF and top likely from ash

@MT – yes that is more or less the same idea, but mine is about 6’ wide x 16” deep x 36” tall, and free standing

I’m wrestling with the idea of putting the entire FF together now, with pocket screws, and then fastening the entire FF to the carcass w/ biscuits or just glue. Or is there a better way to affix the FF? Years back I’d just nail on piece by piece – stiles, then tight fit the rails. But with that approach the FF stiles and rails are not mechanically fastened to one another.

I will then need 4 doors; 2 for each opening. I’m thinking to make frame and panel with the frame being ash and the panel MDF painted to match the sides of the cabinet.

So take my original link – removed the center drawer section – and that is what I have.

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

2850 posts in 2691 days


#7 posted 12-24-2014 05:15 PM

You can probably answer your own question by carefully measuring the carcases. Can you make a one piece face frame that will fit…with maybe a 1/16th or 1/8th inch overhang on each end? If so, I say go for it. Glue and brad nails, a little putty and paint should do the trick.

The pocket screws make the face frame construction nice and sturdy. Once attached to the carcase with glue and a few nails, you have a very sturdy cabinet. I attach the face frame top and bottom rails via pocket screws from the carcase side. They make good clamps. :-)

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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coloradotrout

61 posts in 1463 days


#8 posted 12-25-2014 11:57 PM

In this case, I want to finish (but not paint) the FF, so sounds like glue or glue/biscuits is the way to go. MT might be spot on—I think I can build the FF to fit the carcass, but getting the FF AND the biscuits all lined-up might be a challenge. I need to decide if I want the FF a bit proud of the sides or flush. In either case, a 1/16th or so overhang can either be left as-is, or planned down flush. That raises another interesting Q—if I paint the mdf sides, but want to apply a clear finish to the FF, is an overhang a better look—or do I plane the FF flush and then possibly paint the mdf side and FF edge the same color? This is a standalone buffet – not a typical kitchen cabinet assembly. Maybe more like a “dresser”.

I guess I have turned this joinery question somewhat into a design question. Appreciate all the feedback, this seems to be one of the more active WW forums around these days.

View Sawdust4Blood's profile

Sawdust4Blood

392 posts in 2481 days


#9 posted 12-26-2014 01:52 AM

I’ve taken to attaching face frames to cabinets with pocket screws and glue. They’re easier (for me) to align than biscuits and stronger than biscuits or nailing. The trick for me is that I build the cabinets with the good side of the plywood facing in and then apply a skin on the ends. Oversize the face frame to account for the thickness of the skin, pocket screw the face frame to the cabinet from the outside of the cabinet box, then apply the skin to the ends covering the pocket screws.

I used that technique on this project

-- Greg, Severn MD

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coloradotrout

61 posts in 1463 days


#10 posted 12-29-2014 12:45 AM

Is glue-only an option? This would be face-grain hardwood to edge MDF and edge ply. And I guess a bunch of clamps!! Maybe time to make some cauls! My FF is just a rectangle, approx 67” x 35” with a stile down the middle.

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RockyTopScott

1184 posts in 2938 days


#11 posted 12-29-2014 12:47 AM

You might consider a simple spline and glue.

-- “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” ― Thomas Sowell

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coloradotrout

61 posts in 1463 days


#12 posted 12-29-2014 06:17 AM



You might consider a simple spline and glue.

- RockyTopScott

Thanks, but how would a spline be different than biscuits? I’m concerned about my ability to put the grooves into the exact places so that the 3 stiles and 2 rails all line up. If I did those one at a time – independently – I could see that working, but I was thinking to build he FF as one complete unit and then attach it.
But I’m open to all options now!

View coloradotrout's profile

coloradotrout

61 posts in 1463 days


#13 posted 12-29-2014 06:30 AM

You might consider a simple spline and glue.

- RockyTopScott

Thanks, but how would a spline be different than biscuits? I m concerned about my ability to put the grooves into the exact places so that the 3 stiles and 2 rails all line up. If I did those one at a time – independently – I could see that working, but I was thinking to build he FF as one complete unit and then attach it.
But I m open to all options now!

- coloradotrout

I suppose I could biscuit the parts independently – test fit, mark, and then join the FF with pocket holes – and then attach then entire FF using the aligned biscuits.

I had been thinking to just make the FF to fit the outside edges and center upon the middle stile, and then assemble the FF. But next trying to get the biscuits to align perfectly seems like it could be very tricky. However, if I individually biscuit each piece of the FF, then test fit, and mark the rail and stile intersections, I can pocket hole those to match the biscuit alignment.

Ok.. am I just not thinking clearly? This seems way more difficult than it needs to be!!! Thanks in advance.

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RockyTopScott

1184 posts in 2938 days


#14 posted 12-29-2014 05:34 PM

Do the cut for the splines in the stiles first, dry fit them and measure your rails. Should fit ok.

-- “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” ― Thomas Sowell

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

2850 posts in 2691 days


#15 posted 12-29-2014 05:49 PM

It’s just my opinion, but I think y’all are taking this thing too seriously. Pocket screws and glue will do more than you will ever need. If one or more ends will be visible, a skin can be applied to cover the holes. The screws are just little clamps to hold the frame until the glue dries. :-)

I was building a wall cabinet (see attached pic) and made a cutting error on the center divider of a 42 inch wide cabinet. Once assembled, I realized the error of my ways and tried to take the face frame off. Couldn’t do it. I removed all screws and tried to gently tap the frame. No luck. Then I got a bigger mallet and a block of wood and beat on it. No luck. That frame is still on the cabinet. All of that transpired in less than thirty minutes after the glue was applied.

I cut it in half and reused the good part for a bath room floor standing cabinet to store towels, toilet paper, etc. The rest of the cabinet was patched and hung on the wall in my shop for storage. I had to build a new cabinet for the wet bar project. :-(

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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