Wood prep for face frame

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Forum topic by one60fourth posted 06-21-2017 12:23 AM 600 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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33 posts in 2193 days

06-21-2017 12:23 AM

I purchased some milled 3/4 inch poplar for bathroom cabinet face frames. Good quality wood but some boards are slightly bowed and/or curved. Not noticable to the eye though unless you sight down the boards. Is poplar that is already milled when purchased normally milled again in the home shop prior to face frame construction? Is it enough to joint one edge and rip to size? (I did that and still noticed slight curve along the grain on a six-foot piece I was about to cut into 30 inch lengths. Apparently, it ripped along the curve even though I couldn’t see it.) Should I joint one edge and rip oversize a bit and then plane the boards to equal width? I’ll be painting the face frames but want them to be square and have smooth edges for accurate reveals on inset doors and drawers. I think I know the answer to this issue but I’m interested in seeing if this is a common problem. This is my first time making face frame cabinets.

3 replies so far

View Rich's profile


5132 posts in 1191 days

#1 posted 06-21-2017 01:49 AM

You’re right to joint one edge straight and then rip the pieces on the table saw. I’d also recommend crosscutting the boards to the length(s) you need plus a couple of inches before you do that. That will minimize waste when you do the jointing.

Obviously, you don’t want to run them through a planer because they are already 3/4”.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4249 days

#2 posted 06-21-2017 02:33 AM

Always in making frames for doors and
face frames your process should include
crosscutting and ripping the components
oversize, letting them move and then
jointing and ripping or planing to final
width. Then crosscut to final length.

Some pro face frame shops don’t use a jointer.
I assume they just keep an eye on how
straight the parts come off the saw and
cut the bent ones into shorter pieces.

View one60fourth's profile


33 posts in 2193 days

#3 posted 06-21-2017 03:06 AM

Loren and Rich, thanks for your comments. I’m used to milling up rough hardwood stock but thought I could skip most of that with face frames using previously milled poplar. Wrong! So I’ll make up my cut list and proceed to do initial milling (and oversized ripping and crosscutting) and then final milling and cutting to size a day later.

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