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Reveal and Relative Door Dimensioning

In the last entry, I explained that in an inset face frame application, you can utilize the appropriate arm crank, plate height, and blockout boards to make the Blum hinge operate like it's in frameless cabinetry - its optimal configuration.

Of course, the appearance needs to be as good as the operation. In traditional face frame inset cabinetry, this means a uniform gap around the sides of the doors, known as the "reveal". Industry standards seem to dictate a reveal of 3/32" all around in kitchen cabinetry. This about as tight as you can get without running the risk of stuck doors in the summer.

Rectangle Font Parallel Slope Circle

This reveal means you have to dimension your doors relative to the face frame openings. If you use integers for your face frames like me, you get some nasty final door dimensions, especially for cases where there are two doors in one opening. Take the above case of a 24" wide opening for two doors. How wide is each door? There are three gaps, so the dimension is 24" minus 3/32" times 3 gaps divided by two doors. That is a door width of 11-55/64". Yuck.

Rectangle Parallel Font Slope Pattern

Dealing in 64ths of an inch is for production shops with high precision equipment, not woodworkers with pencils and old contractor saws. To handle this, I steal a 1/32" back by setting the middle reveal to 1/16". In our 24" opening, this gives a final door dimension a more manageable 11-7/8".

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A very light pass on the jointer on one side of each door brings the gap back close to 3/32". Yes, that means one stile is 1/64" wider than the other. No, you can't tell and the inexact size of the middle reveal has no bearing on the operation of the hinge.

Line Parallel Rectangle Diagram Font

So that covers relative door dimensioning and the relationship to reveals. I haven't even mentioned the Blum hinges. Disappointing, I know. So why am I fussing so much about door dimensions and reveal? Isn't it mostly aesthetic? Actually no, it's very important functionally because the reveal used dictates not only the door dimensions, but also where the hole gets bored for the hinge cup. If those three aren't in harmony, the door won't look good or function well. I was originally going to cover the concept of "boring distance" here, but I think we'll push it to the next entry in this series.
Thanks for reading
Dave, I can understand your confusion with system 32 if you are new to it. Just remember, the system is so efficient it has deskilled an industry. Now is all about the doors and bench tops one makes.


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