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Faceframe Dilemma

 
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Old 04-11-2015, 01:15 AM   #1
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Faceframe Dilemma


Considering the strength of a faceframe joined together and then applied to a carcass. What is fundamentally wrong with assembling the face-frame piece by piece onto the carcass with glue and pocket screws?

I was shown this a long time ago by a cabinet maker who swore it held the same strength as if he were to "pre-assemble" the face-frame. Although I doubted him then, I am considering this method of construction now because I'm building a large cabinet with 7 shelves, fixed. I've built one other multiple fixed shelf cabinet and the faceframe and carcass weren't perfect. A small 1/32 error compounded down the run and by the 5th shelf, I was out too far. If I glued and screwed the stile and rails together onto the carcass, should I be concerned about rigidity or shelf sag at all?


Thanks

Last edited by Vinson; 04-11-2015 at 02:34 AM. Reason: Edited to make better sense of question
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Old 04-11-2015, 12:07 PM   #2
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Re: Faceframe Dilemma


The downside is the joints between frame parts are not "clamped" tight with screws, or other methods, and will crack open at some point.

When making a large open case with many fixed shelves, it is our preferred method to assemble the case first then the frame. Using the case to make sure the frame parts will align properly. This avoids that very thing you mentioned that happened to you in the past.

Designing your cabinet so there is a small amount of frame material to flush trim off after its clamped on is a big help too. Also making sure your casework is as accurate as possible is the real key. This is always the best way to insure your frame will fit properly.

Hope this helps you out

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Old 04-11-2015, 01:22 PM   #3
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Re: Faceframe Dilemma


Gus, do you dry-fit the frame in this scenario to the carcass to ensure proper alignment, and then mark where the frame is to be fastened? Or do you simply take measurements off the carcass and build the frame? Either way, that's very helpful and thanks
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Old 04-11-2015, 01:25 PM   #4
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Re: Faceframe Dilemma


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Originally Posted by Vinson View Post
A small 1/32 error compounded down the run and by the 5th shelf, I was out too far.
Random errors plus or minus should cancel to some extent so this might have been some type of systematic error.
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Old 04-11-2015, 01:49 PM   #5
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Re: Faceframe Dilemma


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Originally Posted by Gus Dering View Post
The downside is the joints between frame parts are not "clamped" tight with screws, or other methods, and will crack open at some point.

When making a large open case with many fixed shelves, it is our preferred method to assemble the case first then the frame. Using the case to make sure the frame parts will align properly. This avoids that very thing you mentioned that happened to you in the past.

Designing your cabinet so there is a small amount of frame material to flush trim off after its clamped on is a big help too. Also making sure your casework is as accurate as possible is the real key. This is always the best way to insure your frame will fit properly.

Hope this helps you out
All that I'd add even getting tight joints on the face frame to begin with can be difficult.

There's a hybrid way of doing this, too. Build the picture frame and glue / fasten the corner joints. Align and fasten one side to the carcass, then align / glue screw everything else.

IMO, it's still better to just build the frame to match the carcass after it's built.
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Old 04-11-2015, 03:19 PM   #6
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Re: Faceframe Dilemma


You're right Gettingby, it must have been a bent tape measure to get compounded errors. I don't know. I only know it buffaloed me from doing it again.
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Old 04-11-2015, 03:47 PM   #7
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Re: Faceframe Dilemma


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You're right Gettingby, it must have been a bent tape measure to get compounded errors. I don't know. I only know it buffaloed me from doing it again.
Normally I'd cut the two sides, then locate where the shelves go and build the carcass, then measure the carcase and build the face frame. If you're doing things that allow cumulative errors to occur, you just to change the way you do it.
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Old 04-11-2015, 11:43 PM   #8
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Re: Faceframe Dilemma


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All that I'd add even getting tight joints on the face frame to begin with can be difficult.





IMO, it's still better to just build the frame to match the carcass after it's built.

Tight joints in a frame can be difficult without decent equipment. Our frames improved dramatically when we bought the Omga chop saw. You have to use one to understand. It's like a cabinet saw in a chop saw.

Faceframe Dilemma-imageuploadedbycontractortalk1428812762.077010.jpg

The drum sander is real good for the money. But a real wide belt would be the same jump as the Omga was from a job site chop saw. Regardless, the accuracy that a sander adds to the width of your parts is very important to accurate frames. If your widths are inaccurate even a little, a large frame with a ton of parts like the one being discussed is impossible.

It always boils down to how often and how serious you do this type of thing. If your bread and butter is framed cabinets, the payback period on equipment like ours is very fast.

As far as building all your frames after the casework goes, that would never work in our shop. We should be able to build accurate frames and cases that can be brought together at your convenience. It's really just those open cases that have a ton of flush surfaces that need the extra care.

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