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Dado Back of Faceframe & Pocket Screws

by Scott
posted 02-24-2017 12:23 PM


21 replies so far

View Robert's profile

Robert

3405 posts in 1875 days


#1 posted 02-24-2017 01:17 PM

I only build frameless cabs but my initial reaction is “why?”

My real question is why the heck are you looking inside peoples cabinets for something not even noticeable?

There may be larger issues here LOL.

Oh, jeez, did I just take some bait?

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View RockyTopScott's profile

RockyTopScott

1186 posts in 3873 days


#2 posted 02-24-2017 02:40 PM

I have done both Scott. The dado became overkill for me. Now I glue the FF and pocket screw from top stretcher and bottom shelf. May a few pins to keep it aligned while I put in the screws. don’t overthink faceframes, they don’t have to be indestructable.

-- “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” ― Thomas Sowell

View GR8HUNTER's profile

GR8HUNTER

6108 posts in 1107 days


#3 posted 02-24-2017 03:13 PM

IMHO ….the only cabinet to build is Frameless …. good luck to you sir :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View Scott's profile

Scott

116 posts in 1750 days


#4 posted 02-24-2017 03:27 PM

rwe2156, haha I don’t look in people’s cabinets to see if they have a dado. I just look at them (from a distance) for general construction. I usually do this with any furniture I see. I’m just curious how it went together and try to get ideas for projects for the future.

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1262 posts in 890 days


#5 posted 02-24-2017 03:42 PM

I do both. the dado helps assure the sides of the cabinet are straight and true and gives me a bit more glue surface. I run some pocket screws in from the outside face to pull everything together. Since I use pre-finished birch for all of my carcasses now this gets me to “done” much faster. For cabinet sides that show I cover up the end with either matching PSA veneer (cheap/easy) or a raised panel screwed in from the inside.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View pintodeluxe's profile (online now)

pintodeluxe

5936 posts in 3208 days


#6 posted 02-24-2017 04:01 PM

I assemble the face frame itself with pocket screws, but attach the face frame to the carcass with biscuits and glue.

It works great.

Just glue and clamps works fine too.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 4042 days


#7 posted 02-24-2017 05:17 PM

with 3/4” thick cabinet sides I think it’s fine
to eliminate dados.

Some of these t&g type construction techniques
are better suited to light weight cabinets with
1/2” sides, imo. They used to be made that
way to save costs and weight for installation
in high-rise buildings but these days the 3/4”
side is king.

View cabmaker's profile

cabmaker

1745 posts in 3204 days


#8 posted 02-24-2017 10:42 PM

Dado ? How would that possibly help ? and where would you dado a face frame ?

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1262 posts in 890 days


#9 posted 02-24-2017 11:23 PM

the dado runs vertically up the back of the face frame where the side meets the back of the frame. It helps in two ways- first it forces the cabinet sides to be straight even if your ply has a slight bow and second it adds about 3x the glue area compared to a simple butt joint.

I build mine with a 3/8” x 3/8” dado in the face frame that mates to a corresponding rabbet in the carcass side.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View pontic's profile

pontic

693 posts in 1003 days


#10 posted 02-24-2017 11:46 PM

I use case built frames mostly. and no face frames. Dado the shelves upper and lower on the upper cabinets. Lower cabinets I run a dado on the floor just above the toe kick and frame above to support the top. Back is rabbeted 1/4” ply. All drawers on the bottom. Older clients like them better.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

View mat60's profile

mat60

34 posts in 851 days


#11 posted 02-27-2017 01:11 AM

Im with TungOil.

View Scott's profile

Scott

116 posts in 1750 days


#12 posted 02-27-2017 01:48 AM

For those of you that douse dado, how do you cut them? Do you use a router jig?

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1262 posts in 890 days


#13 posted 02-27-2017 01:56 AM

I cut my dados with a dado stack on the TS. It’s the easiest for me (and doesn’t fill the shop with dust and chips). I cut the dado for the face frame, flip the panel and cut another for the back to slip into. quick and easy, all done with one setup.

A router would work too, but would make a bigger mess.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

1368 posts in 1315 days


#14 posted 02-27-2017 04:26 AM

Scott,

I am following TungOil’s prescription; dados in the face frame at the table saw that slip over rabbeted tongues in the plywood sides, and bottom (and top if an upper cabinet). I try to cut the rabbeted plywood tongues a little too large to fit the dado and then fine tune the rabbeted plywood tongue with a shoulder plane for a snug fit. I also use the dado/rabbeted tongue joint to connect the sides, back and bottom (and top if an upper) of the cabinet.

It helps a lot in producing a square cabinet when it is time to glue things together. It takes some time but then I am building cabinets for our own kitchen and thus I am liberated from the constraints of a production shop where time is money.

View Scott's profile

Scott

116 posts in 1750 days


#15 posted 02-27-2017 12:29 PM

TungOil, wouldn’t you see the dado on the bottom of the stiles? I”m thinking of upper cabinets. Yes you’d have to be looking for them in order to see them. That’s why I was thinking people do it on a router.

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1262 posts in 890 days


#16 posted 02-27-2017 01:46 PM

Scott- For uppers without any additional molding, yes you would see the dado on the bottom back edge of the stiles but you would have to be looking for it by sticking your head under the upper and looking up. Most uppers I have done recently had under cabinet lighting and therefore have an additional molding added to the bottom so it’s nearly impossible to see the dado.

Bottom line is that (like everything else in woodworking) there are probably dozens of ways to construct casework. All of them will work and depend on what tooling you have available, how fast you want to build, skill level, and more. Can you construct cabinetry with just biscuits? Sure. Pocket screws only? Sure.

For me personally, I feel the dado/rabbet style of construction offers the best combination of strength, appearance and alignment/squareness in the finished casework. Until recently I didn’t even own a biscuit joiner or pocket hole jig. I recently switched to using pocket holes for my face frames and I really like the results and speed, so I’ll stick with that until something better comes along. The biscuit joiner I’m not impressed with. Maybe I am not using it correctly, but I find the play in the joint to be a little too much for my liking. I’ve used it for the last several cabinets I build specifically on the joint between the face frame and the bottom shelf of the cabinet. Alignment there must be dead on or you will have a lip. I’m just not getting it consistently with the biscuits so I’ll probably go back to my old method of screwing a narrow cleat under the front edge of the shelf attached to the back side of the face frame. at least with that method I know I will get a tight seam that is perfectly aligned. A dado doesn’t work here without a lot of extra work because of the face frame stiles.

I should also point out that my methodology is not substantially different than how I learned to make cabinets in the early 1970’s in a custom production shop. So I’m old school for sure, but I have tried some of the “new fangled” technology. Some of it I like (pocket screws), some not so much (biscuits). I’m always open for better ways to build, would love to hear others thoughts & methods.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View Scott's profile

Scott

116 posts in 1750 days


#17 posted 02-27-2017 04:19 PM

TungOil, thanks for all the information. It is greatly appreciated!

View cabmaker's profile

cabmaker

1745 posts in 3204 days


#18 posted 02-27-2017 10:43 PM



the dado runs vertically up the back of the face frame where the side meets the back of the frame. It helps in two ways- first it forces the cabinet sides to be straight even if your ply has a slight bow and second it adds about 3x the glue area compared to a simple butt joint.

I build mine with a 3/8” x 3/8” dado in the face frame that mates to a corresponding rabbet in the carcass side.

- TungOil

thanks for the explanation. but again i will ask ….how can you dado the back of a stile…..I think what you guys are talking about is a groove. And your old school ? You should know there are only three names for what you are describing,,,, and dado isn’t one of em..Just saying

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1262 posts in 890 days


#19 posted 02-27-2017 11:13 PM

yes, technically it is a groove (or plough). dado’s run cross grain. The OP referred to it as a dado so I stuck with that. I think we all knew what he meant.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

3183 posts in 3626 days


#20 posted 02-28-2017 12:43 AM



I m starting to plan out my kitchen cabinet build that will happen in the next few years. My question today is about attaching the faceframe to the carcass. The method for attaching the faceframe will be pocket screws. But does anyone also dado the back for the faceframe to get a more seamless look? I ve seen this done on a few high end cabinets. And yes, whenever I go to someone s house, I peak at how their cabinets were constructed lol

- Scott

If the cabinets are butted to one another, you can use pocket holes on the outside of the carcase to attach the face frames. When the side of the cabinet will be visible, you can simply glue the face frame to the carcase. Use a few small nails with the heads cut off to hold the frame in place until the glue dries. Clamp and set it aside for about 45 minutes to an hour.

I use the basic work flow demonstrated by Kris Reynolds on You Tube. I have had no problems with the 70+ cabinets (and other projects) built with face frames.

Good luck.
Mike

Our kitchen remodel
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/108347

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

1368 posts in 1315 days


#21 posted 02-28-2017 02:59 AM

Scott,

Regarding TungOil, wouldn’t you see the dado on the bottom of the stiles? I”m thinking of upper cabinets. Yes you’d have to be looking for them in order to see them. That’s why I was thinking people do it on a router.

I designed the sides of the upper cabinets I am building to be flush with the face frame at the top and bottom edges. As a result, the groove in the stiles is filled by the rabbeted tongue in the side panels.

If your design leaves an open groove or dado, a filler block can be cut and glued into the vacant groove.

If either of these methods is used, the table saw with a dado/grooving set can be used. The only reason to avoid the router in making stopped grooves is the extra time required for the set-up and then squaring up the groove. But if the extra time is no issue, the router works fine.

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