First cabinets #2: Face frames completed

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Blog entry by Mark Gipson posted 05-24-2009 11:14 AM 10841 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Building my first ever cabinets Part 2 of First cabinets series Part 3: More progress »

The weather has been kind to me again today and I was able to get outside and do some more work on the cabinets for my shop and kitchen.
Today I built and fitted the face frames to both kitchen cabinets.

Face frames fitted

Here are some construction details for those interested.

The cabinets sides and bottoms are 3/4” Thai plywood, the backs are 8mm ply (the wood here is mainly in metric sizes).
I used my router to cut dados in the sides for the bottom which was then fixed in place with glue and screws. The back sits in a rabbet and is secured with glue and small nails.
The face frames are made from rubber wood and I used my new Kreg pocket hole jig to make them, I am finding the Kreg jig perfect for things like this that I want to get built a bit quicker than if I used more traditional joinery.
I fixed the face frames to the cabinets with glue and counter bored and plugged screws. I don’t have a biscuit joiner or nail gun and my hand nailing technique needs a lot more practise so I decided to use the screws.

Things I learnt today:

  • I’m really glad I didn’t try to build these as one cabinet, I would not be able to move it my own.
  • Getting a large cabinet and face frame all square and flush fitting is hard! Mine are not perfect but I think a bit of shimming and trimming on installation will get everything lined up nicely.
  • Don’t leave a silver coloured metal tape measure under the Bangkok sun for an hour. Remember that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where the bad guy picks the pendant thing out of the fire? I’m sure I have ‘Stanley’ burnt on my palm now.

I’m delaying the moment of truth for another day, will the oven actually fit into the cabinet?

I’m starting to run out of wood and hardware now so progress is going to be slow for a few days, a family illness means I don’t have access to our truck at the moment.

14 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4184 days

#1 posted 05-24-2009 01:14 PM

Mark, those look pretty good. Good idea with the screws. They have a lot more holding power than nails.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View woodworm's profile


14471 posts in 3953 days

#2 posted 05-24-2009 01:32 PM

For a self-taught wworker like you, these cabinets proved that you’ve learnt alot, by your self.
Great job!
Isn’t there any ACE hardware store in Bankok?

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Mark Gipson's profile

Mark Gipson

189 posts in 3742 days

#3 posted 05-24-2009 02:03 PM

Thanks woodworm. We don’t have ACE hardware here but we do have True Value which I think is the best hardware store in Bangkok. They stock a lot of imported goods, mainly from the US. It’s not cheap but sometimes I like to pay extra to get something that actually works unlike a lot of the local made hardware!

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4661 days

#4 posted 05-24-2009 05:44 PM

Looking good, you’re off to a great start.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View a1Jim's profile


117616 posts in 3939 days

#5 posted 05-24-2009 10:01 PM

Hey Mark
Are trying to make us guys that have been doing this for a while look bad? LOL Very nice cabinets now for the install.

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3920 days

#6 posted 05-24-2009 10:15 PM

Great job Mark. They are starting to look fantastic. Keep up the good work.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View HarleySoftailDeuce's profile


320 posts in 3782 days

#7 posted 10-08-2009 01:13 PM

Hi Mark,
Thanks for your sill sharing! I’m a new woodworker, and building kitchen cabinets as my first project. I’m a tool maker, so the same rules apply in wood working as building tools; start and stay square throughout! Check my site, and you can see some of my progress. I’m busy with 2 jobs, so my progress is s l o w…but I’ll be retiring in December 09’.
I’m about to build the face frames, and wanted to see how others do this. I did buy a Kreg pocket hole system, so that should help. Heck, if it’s good enough for Norm Abrams, then I’m sold! Sometime I also want to try mortise & tennon joinery.
Again, thanks for sharing, and soon hopefully, I’ll to post my work.

-- Paul, Bristol,Rhode Island

View Mark Gipson's profile

Mark Gipson

189 posts in 3742 days

#8 posted 10-19-2009 03:41 AM

Hi Paul. I used a Kreg jig to build the face frames and then screwed them onto the frames. I used screws simply because my hand nailing skills are dreadful and I don’t have access to a nail gun or biscuit cutter.
My cabinets are getting a lot of use now but I still haven’t finished the door for them! It’s coming towards the end of the rainy season here now so I will be able to get back into the shop soon and work on some projects.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4035 days

#9 posted 07-31-2010 11:16 PM

Mark those cabinents looks good.

View chinabeach's profile


6 posts in 1429 days

#10 posted 06-24-2015 03:45 PM

The cabinets look great. Where did you buy your kreg jig in bangkok?

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3229 days

#11 posted 06-24-2015 04:26 PM

These are looking very nice, Mark.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Mark Gipson's profile

Mark Gipson

189 posts in 3742 days

#12 posted 06-24-2015 10:19 PM

Thanks for the kind comments guys. These cabinets don’t look quite as nice now. They sat in flood water for 6 weeks during the major flooding in Thailand a few years ago. To my surprise the plywood held up just fine, the flood water stained everything and left a tide mark but I still use them.
Chinabeach, are you in Thailand? I imported my Kreg jig from the US. I have used Rockler, Woodcraft, Lee Valley and Highland, a good place in Thailand to look for stuff is the Thai carpenter website, He is adding new stuff all the time and it’s possible to buy things here now that I had to import a few years ago.

View chinabeach's profile


6 posts in 1429 days

#13 posted 06-30-2015 08:45 AM

I am in…China Beach….DaNang, Vietnam. But visiting Bangkok in the next few weeks and hoping to pick up some tools. Like Thailand we have thousands of Ma ‘n Pa toolshops seeling cheap stuff from china… but no pocket hole jigs….they look helpfully at you, point at their pockets and then try to sell you a drill. I tried to order some through Rubys store on Ali Express…but got the usual trouble with having to supply them with my passport, credit card numbers, the nameof the cat and tell them where I hid the front door key under the flowerpot….so I just gave up. Thanks for the tip…I will try the Thai carpenter…do they speak English?

View Mark Gipson's profile

Mark Gipson

189 posts in 3742 days

#14 posted 06-30-2015 09:59 AM

I met the Thai carpenter guy one time, he speaks a little English, just a little. He does have a pocket hole jig, not a Kreg though. There are some good shops on ‘Wood Street’ in Bangkok that have English speaking staff. If you want to send me a PM with a general idea of what you are looking for I can let you know if I have seen it on Thai carpenter, on Wood Street or if I imported it.

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