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Face frames and casework

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  • Face frames and casework

    What technique is best to attach face frames to casework?



  • #2
    My favorite is to set the carcase into a dado on the back of the frame. Strong as can be, and you avoid the Norm Abrams "let's put a brad to hold it while it dries". No brad equals no brad hole to patch.

    This is particularly appropriate for plywood carcases. For solid wood, I could entertain the idea of just butt-joining them. So long as I didn't have to nail it.



    • #3
      Thanks, Dave. I had not even considered that aproach.

      Uh, it seems pretty exacting to me. Do you build the entire face frame first, or assemble the face frame piece by piece? When do you plough the dadoes?

      Maybe I oughta apprentice out to you for a while, then you wouldn't have to write so many tomes for my benefit.



      • #4
        No sweat on the tomes, Joe.

        By exacting, yeah, they have to be the right size. That shouldn't be very hard though.

        I make the frame first, installing the grooves before assembly. The stile grooves are stopped, of course. Then, build the carcase to match the as built size of the frame.

        Work this exacting should actually be pretty easy. The big (BIG!) problem I see again and again is a reliance on measuring devices. Someone builds something that is supposed to be 24" wide, so they measure 24" on their tape measure, and make the frame. Then they measure 24" again to make the carcase. Making these piece fit up properly is a near impossibility, one time they measure a little long, one a little short.

        Instead, try this routine: You need to make something 24" wide. Make your face frame to measure. Now (figuratively) throw the tape measure away. Make the carcase to fit the face you've built, using the frame pieces to mark your carcase pieces. When you rip the case top and bottom, make sure any size error you have is on the large side. Then, fit it to your frame. If it is indeed a little large, trim rip just a little off.

        Over-reliance on measuring devices is a real handicap for a woodworker. For an excellent book on cabinetbuilding, almost entirely without measuring, look at Jim Tolpin's "Building Traditional Kitchen Cabinets", published by Taunton Press. He has fitting and story sticks down to a science, if followed one really cannot fail.



        • #5
          How about biscuits to mount the face frame to the case? Seems like a simple solution. I dont know about strength though.