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  • Perfect Face Frame Alignment and Less Clamps

    After watching the New Yankee Workshop last season, I picked up a few tips on attaching face frames to cabinets. I took some of Norm's tricks and then added my own to come up with a system to perfectly align the face frames. So here goes.

    When Norm did his series on building a kitchen he used a biscuit cutting router bit to cut a continuous groove around the carcass of the cabinet. He then cut biscuit slots in the back side of the face frame, glued it up and clamped it into place. The biscuit slots ensured perfect alignment. I thought this was ingenious, so I gave it a try. I ran into a few small issues. I found that I had to keep changing the setting on my biscuit joiner if I wanted to do a 1/4 inch overhang on the edges of the cabinet. This was due to the fact that I wanted my face frame to be flush with the inside of the cabinet bottom. If you do not want a 1/4 inch lip and want your frames flush to the sides then Norm's system is right on. I found it was harder to clamp all of the frames tightly together during installation if I didn't have the lip.

    After some thought, I modified Norm's method. Instead of using biscuits on the top and bottom, I simply put pocket screws in the top and bottom. Neither will ever be visible, unless you stick your head under the cabinet. The biscuits worked great for indexing the frame side to side. It gave me a perfect 1/4 inch lip the entire length of the cabinet. I was then able to slide the frame up or down to line up the top and bottom. I inserted the pocket screws and was able to use four less clamps because there was no need to clamp the top and bottom.

  • #2
    Re: Perfect Face Frame Alignment and Less Clamps

    Hi, have you checked out Mark Sommerfeld tongue and groove bits and pocket screws method for face frame cabinetry?
    http://www.sommerfeldtools.com/Cabin...ductinfo/DVD4/
    Last edited by penaddict; 08-20-2009, 02:25 AM. Reason: Forgot link

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    • #3
      Re: Perfect Face Frame Alignment and Less Clamps

      No I haven't. Do you have a link to a web site with pictures? I googled it, but only found discussion boards discussing the method.

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      • #4
        Re: Perfect Face Frame Alignment and Less Clamps

        I find biscuits to be a bit of a pain in this application, too. Instead, I cut a groove in both the edges of the plywood carcass side panels and the face frame using a regular tablesaw blade. Then, cut a floating tenon (spline)out of 1/8 masonite. This fits in a most standard saw blade kerfs nicely. The result is strong, very accurate, and FAST.

        Then you can use pocket screws as you've suggested, or locate the top and bottom panels into a dado. Or even use a biscuit and screws... or ??? I generally dado the top and bottom rails of the face frame, as it seems to hold everything nice and square.

        By the way, I avoid changing the setup on the biscuit joiner by making a shim that I slip between the biscuit joiner fence and the reference surface of the workpiece to change the height of the slot. For example, if you're looking for a 1/4 lip on the face frame bottom rail, set up your biscuit joiner to put the slot in the right spot on the rail. Then, say, for flush sides, just slip a 1/4 shim in between fence and stile and cut away. Much faster than changing the fence setup.

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        • #5
          Re: Perfect Face Frame Alignment and Less Clamps

          Here's the link to Marc Sommerfeld instructional DVD. In this DVD Marc shows you you to build kitchen cabinet with face frame using his tongue and glue router bits along with pocket screws.

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          • #6
            Re: Perfect Face Frame Alignment and Less Clamps

            oopps, forgot the link
            http://www.sommerfeldtools.com/Cabin...ductinfo/DVD4/

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