How to flush trim face frames with a simple router jig

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Blog entry by Marty Backe posted 01-13-2011 10:00 AM 15773 reads 9 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In this video I discuss how I attach face frames to my cabinets, and show how a simple router jig can be used to flush trim them to the cabinet sides.

13 comments so far

View Marc5's profile


304 posts in 3878 days

#1 posted 01-13-2011 01:04 PM

Great jig. I will be making one of these. Thanks for sharing.

-- Marc

View Todd Thomas 's profile

Todd Thomas

4969 posts in 3985 days

#2 posted 01-13-2011 01:42 PM

great video…well done

-- Todd, Oak Ridge, TN, Hello my name is Todd and I'm a Toolholic, I bought my last tool 10 days, no 4 days, oh heck I bought a tool on the way here! †

View BobG's profile


172 posts in 3497 days

#3 posted 01-13-2011 02:41 PM

Hey Todd do you have any tools for sale?

Marty great jig this is going in my favorites!

-- BobG, Lowell, Arkansas--------My goal in life is to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am! Make more saw dust!!

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4635 days

#4 posted 01-13-2011 03:35 PM

This is very similar to how I flush trim wood to panels.

Really nice job on the video.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View FreddyS's profile


212 posts in 3310 days

#5 posted 01-13-2011 06:28 PM

I had to do this once on an entry mirror (don’t ask why) but just used a flush trim bit on the router table, it came out nice but I doubt it would be easy with cabinets unless you have a really really big router table :)

Nice jig Marty!

-- Learning one thing at a time

View Ken90712's profile


17781 posts in 3725 days

#6 posted 01-13-2011 06:41 PM

Very helpful explaining how to get great results on face frames. I like this jig will have to give this a try! Good advice on the bits as well, I might have tried with a str8 bit.
Thx for taking the time to make this.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View setter's profile


1 post in 3226 days

#7 posted 01-14-2011 03:14 AM

Great tip. I bought a micro jig about 6 years ago and it’s still in its orignal package. I’m finally going to put it to use with this tip. great video. Thanks for sharing..

-- Setter

View Marty Backe's profile

Marty Backe

251 posts in 3308 days

#8 posted 01-14-2011 05:43 AM

You’re not the only one to buy tools and then let them sit on the shelf. But definitely dust off that Micro-fence and give it a try.

View Bovine's profile


114 posts in 3864 days

#9 posted 01-14-2011 06:34 AM

Marty, I’ve seen this jig once before but I really appreciate the comparison you did with the other techniques (so true on the flush trim bit!). You have a good easy-going style of communicating the information.

I usually try to get the frame dead-on the first time, but I think from now on I’m going to use your method of cutting 1/16” or so oversize and trim down. Sounds like it will make a better product in the end.

I have a quick question though…when you use plywood on the carcase, what joint do you use to join the sides/top?

-- Kansas City, KS "Nothing is as permanent as a temporary solution"

View Marty Backe's profile

Marty Backe

251 posts in 3308 days

#10 posted 01-14-2011 06:58 AM

Whether I’m building a plywood case or MDF (melamine) case, I use butt joints with biscuits. No dadoes.

The biscuits are very strong, and then when you add the face frame, the resulting case is extremely solid and rigid. I suppose if I were building a cabinet that had to support hundreds of pounds, maybe I’d use dadoes instead of biscuits. Fortunately, those aren’t the cabinets that I’m building.

For the cabinet that was in the video, I used five biscuits for each joint. The case is about 24 inches deep.

View Bovine's profile


114 posts in 3864 days

#11 posted 01-14-2011 07:03 AM

With plywood or MDF you’d have the edges showing with a butt joint. Not such a big deal with solid wood. I guess I’m just curious how you deal with that. Seems like you’ve made a lot of these and I’m just starting to build cases more and more.

Wait…after looking closer at the first picture, it looks like you’re using a miter joint. Nevermind. Thanks again for sharing your experience with hobbyists like me!!!

-- Kansas City, KS "Nothing is as permanent as a temporary solution"

View Marty Backe's profile

Marty Backe

251 posts in 3308 days

#12 posted 01-14-2011 07:16 AM

I see your concerns. The full answer depends on the purpose of the cabinet. I’ll expand my previous answer based on my three common cabinet scenarios:

1) A kitchen cabinet. For the upper cabinets, you only see the edges of the sides if you were very short ;-) or trying to look at the bottom of the cabinets. In reality, the bottom edges of the upper cabinets aren’t noticed by the eye because they are below eye level. For the lower cabinets, the counter top hides the top edges of the cabinet sides.

2) Shop cabinets. Like the kitchen base cabinets, shop cabinets will have a top installed that will hide the exposed edges of the sides.

3) Standalone cabinets, like the one in my video, in which potentially all four sides are exposed to the eye. In this case I use a miter joint, which I consider a variation of the butt joint.

I think that covers all of the cabinets that I’ve ever had to make. Hope this helps.


P.s. BTW, I’m just a hobbyist too.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4209 days

#13 posted 01-17-2011 03:58 AM

Great post, thanks for posting it.

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