Building Cabinets 4 - Face Frame Building Cabinets 4 - Face Frame

<< Building Cabinets 3 - Cutting and Assembly

Assembling the Faceframe

  1. Rip the hardwood to the specified width. If there is a bow (curve) in your stock, you will need to remove this before cutting to the final width so that the final pieces will be straight. You can use a jointer or attach a straight piece of plywood to the stock as a straight edge and run it through a table saw.
  2. Cross cut the stock to the specified length. Use a stop block and the rip fence to cut several pieces to the correct length.
  3. Determine the location of the dowel holes. Lay the face frame out on a flat surface large enough to support all the pieces. Position the pieces in their correct location to be sure everything was cut to the proper length. Remove the rails (the horizontal pieces of the face frame) and bring the stiles (the vertical pieces) together and mark them both for the dowels. This process will assure that the rails run level. Separate the stiles and place the rails in their proper positions and extend their marks from the stiles to the rails, so that the dowel holes in each will be aligned.
  4. Use the doweling jig to drill the holes for the dowels. Line the mark on your stock up with the doweling jig that corresponds to the size of the dowel you are using.
    Note: A piece of tape or a depth gauge wrapped around the drill bit makes a good depth stop.
  5. Put wood glue on the stiles, rails, dowels, and the dowel holes. Insert the dowels, using a mallet to help seat each dowel.
    Note: When gluing, apply the glue and let it cure for few minutes. The glue will be absorbed into the grain of the wood, particularly on the end grain. After a few minutes reapply glue and join your pieces. Optional: A horizontal drilling unit works nicely for drilling the dowel holes.
  6. Clamp the assembly together, being careful to wipe up any excess glue. Tighten the clamps alternately so the joints meet as evenly as possible. Pieces of scrap wood, or clamp covers, between the jaws of the clamp will protect the finish from being scarred.
  7. After the clamps are set, check for square ness, make any adjustments before the glue sets.

Attaching the Faceframe to the Carcass

  1. Apply glue to the edges of the plywood and faceframe. Put a second coat on the side edges to replace the glue that has been absorbed.
  2. Use clamps to hold the face frame into position. Be careful when clamping the face frame to the carcass. Check the edges for alignment often before tightening the clamps down. Less sanding will be required the more accurate you are when aligning the faceframe.
  3. Pre-drill the nail holes with a drill around the sides, at the top, middle and bottom to secure the face frame to the carcass. These tiny drill holes will make it possible to use finishing nails without bending them.
  4. Use 6d finishing nails to secure the frame to the carcass. Finishing nails have no head and should be counter sunk. Start at the bottom, as the top of the sides are still flexible and can be moved into place.
  5. Set the nails with a nail set, about 1/16" below the surface of the wood. Be careful when hammering the nails not to ding the wood as a scar may be the result. The nails will be covered in the finishing process with wood dough so that they become barely visible.

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