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Cabinet Face Frames

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Forum topic by lblankenship posted 08-15-2019 03:25 AM 417 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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lblankenship

38 posts in 729 days


08-15-2019 03:25 AM

Topic tags/keywords: cabinets face frame question install custom

Hey guys, I had a question about face frames and wanted to get your opinions.

I’m building a set of built in cabinets with face frames. One cabinet side is completely against the wall and the other side is partially against a fireplace hearth while a majority of it is exposed.

My question is, if I size my cabinet say 1” smaller in width to ensure it fits within the space, should my face frame then be slightly 1” larger the cabinet? Having the excess overhanging the side that will go against the wall and trim it as necessary to properly fit?

Say my face frame is 2” wide all around that would mean on the side of the hearth frame would be flush with the outside of the cabinet and have a 1.25” overhang of the cabinet interior. However, on the wall side the frame will only overlay the cabinet interior by about 1/4”. Although looking at the cabinet from the front the frame would appear uniform all around. I wasnt sure if this is the common way to handle this or if there’s a different way.

I’ve attached an image that sort of illustrates what I’m trying to say. The stile against the wall overhangs the cabinet exterior by so much which means the interior overhang is less than the other sides.


20 replies so far

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

3390 posts in 1029 days


#1 posted 08-15-2019 03:41 AM

The average size for a face frame is about 1 1/2” wide, but there are no hard and fast rules. I say make it proportionate to the size of the cabinet.

That said, I would strive to keep the amount of interior overhang the same all around. If you really wanted to put the cabinets in play there, consider a smaller sized cabinet, so you can make it work equally side to side, top to bottom.

-- Think safe, be safe

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Woodmaster1

1194 posts in 3042 days


#2 posted 08-15-2019 04:16 AM

I made my face frames 2” and used pocket hole jig to assemble.

View Rich's profile

Rich

4701 posts in 1044 days


#3 posted 08-15-2019 04:29 AM


The average size for a face frame is about 1 1/2” wide, but there are no hard and fast rules.

- therealSteveN

Please stop. That is not true.

The width of face frames varies. For a standard vanity, my cabinet face frame is 2-1/2”. If the cabinet abuts a wall on one side, that stile is usually wider, so the door opening isn’t blocked. So, 2-1/2” all around, only wider at a wall. For that, cut the face frame width 1/8 or 1/4 inch narrower than your opening and use a piece of scribe molding to finish it.

When would you use a 1-1/2” stile? When two cabinets abut one another. I’d go 1-1/4 for consistency, but that’s just me.

-- My grandfather always said that when one door closes, another one opens. He was a wonderful man, but a lousy cabinet maker

View lblankenship's profile

lblankenship

38 posts in 729 days


#4 posted 08-15-2019 12:24 PM

How much smaller do you typically make your cabinet box compared to the opening?

Could I instead make the stile on my frame against the wall slightly wider leaving an overhang to scribe? This would let me have the same internal overhang and if you only size cabinets a half inch or less smaller than your opening I’m not sure someone would notice that much of a difference on each stile.

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Heyoka

19 posts in 307 days


#5 posted 08-15-2019 12:40 PM

make the case smaller than the space with overhanging frame so that it will absolutely fit with material on the face to scribe for a clean installation.

-- Heyoka

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LeeRoyMan

214 posts in 182 days


#6 posted 08-15-2019 01:12 PM

There is no average that I know of regarding width of a stile. I prefer a wider stile, but like everything it depends on the situation. 2 1/2” – 3” would be my norm depending on how much I plan to scribe off.

First thing I always do is take a piece of wood or a straight edge, the same height as your cabinet is going to be,
and check the wall to see how far out of plum it is and how straight it is. Then, depending on how much will need to be taken off to make it plum, I add that much to the stile. That way both sides will be the same after you scribe.
I don’t worry (all that much) about the overhang on the inside of the cabinets.

View Robert's profile

Robert

3485 posts in 1936 days


#7 posted 08-15-2019 01:51 PM


How much smaller do you typically make your cabinet box compared to the opening?

Could I instead make the stile on my frame against the wall slightly wider leaving an overhang to scribe? This would let me have the same internal overhang and if you only size cabinets a half inch or less smaller than your opening I m not sure someone would notice that much of a difference on each stile.

- lblankenship

I’ll tell you the way I do it.

I build the face frame first. Against one wall is easy you only have to scribe one side. I check if first for plumb and cut that stile oversized to account for whatever the discrepancy is.

If it has to fit between to walls, its the same process, except I fit the stiles prior to assemling the FF.

If its a very irregular wall like a rock hearth, I’ll start with a wide board and do the scribing and fitting before assembling the ff. Just makes fitting a lot easier.

Once I’ve got the FF dialed in, I build the cabinet to fit with an interior offset of about 1/4”.

I’m usually shooting for 2 1/2 = 3” wide for stiles, or whatever matches an existing setup in the room.

The easy way out is leave the stile short and trim with a 1/4” thick strip scribed to the wall. I’ve done this a bunch of times and it is perfectly acceptable IMO.

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

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8714 posts in 3032 days


#8 posted 08-15-2019 02:28 PM

2” rails

1.5” stiles

“Say my face frame is 2” wide all around that would mean on the side of the hearth frame would be flush with the outside of the cabinet and have a 1.25” overhang of the cabinet interior. However, on the wall side the frame will only overlay the cabinet interior by about 1/4”. Although looking at the cabinet from the front the frame would appear uniform all around. I wasnt sure if this is the common way to handle this or if there’s a different way.”

^ Seems like a good solution. Go for it.

View controlfreak's profile

controlfreak

112 posts in 56 days


#9 posted 08-15-2019 05:12 PM

You may want to check the opening to receive the cabinet for squareness If it is pretty good you may not need a huge cushion to make adjustments. Most cabinets I see have a small piece of molding on the side to cover a minor gap and the overhang lip is to allow the cabinet to slide into a recess without marring the wall. It is also handy for trimming disasters like a badly bowed wall.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

3390 posts in 1029 days


#10 posted 08-15-2019 05:28 PM


The average size for a face frame is about 1 1/2” wide, but there are no hard and fast rules.

- therealSteveN

Please stop. That is not true.

The width of face frames varies. For a standard vanity, my cabinet face frame is 2-1/2”. If the cabinet abuts a wall on one side, that stile is usually wider, so the door opening isn t blocked. So, 2-1/2” all around, only wider at a wall. For that, cut the face frame width 1/8 or 1/4 inch narrower than your opening and use a piece of scribe molding to finish it.

When would you use a 1-1/2” stile? When two cabinets abut one another. I d go 1-1/4 for consistency, but that s just me.

- Rich

I cannot help it if you do NOT know the meaning of the word AVERAGE. Also if you are going to follow me to attack everything I say, please quote the entire passage. So if I said “I say make it proportionate to the size of the cabinet.” Would that change you mind? If so re-quote what I said.

-- Think safe, be safe

View pottz's profile

pottz

5791 posts in 1439 days


#11 posted 08-15-2019 06:37 PM

id say what this thread boils down to is there is no right way or wrong way,it just depends on your situation and the look you want.so everyone is pretty much correct,right?

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View Rich's profile

Rich

4701 posts in 1044 days


#12 posted 08-15-2019 06:54 PM


I cannot help it if you do NOT know the meaning of the word AVERAGE. Also if you are going to follow me to attack everything I say…

So if I said “I say make it proportionate to the size of the cabinet.” Would that change you mind? If so re-quote what I said.

- therealSteveN

I don’t follow you, you post in many threads making it difficult to avoid you. As for attacking what you say, if you’re wrong, I’m going to point it out. You’re not always wrong.

Notice that I am able to respond without attacking you personally, as you did me by implying I don’t know the meaning of average. Very sad that you stoop to those levels. It seems to be a regular tactic of yours.

Now, let’s discuss 1-1/2” as an average size. Regardless of whether you’re referring to the mean, median or mode, calling that an average size means that some are even narrower. Halve that and you’re down to frameless…lol See what happens when you try to make blanket statements?

I find the concept of making them proportionate to the size of the cabinet to be faulty as well. I’m building an 8 foot tall by 40 inch wide upright pantry for a kitchen remodel here in town. If I used a 2-1/2” face frame on her 36” tall master bathroom vanity, does that mean I should use 6-2/3” for this pantry? Sounds kind of silly to me.

-- My grandfather always said that when one door closes, another one opens. He was a wonderful man, but a lousy cabinet maker

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1308 posts in 950 days


#13 posted 08-15-2019 08:29 PM

I calculate face frame sizes based on a proprietary Fibonacci sequence. Just looks better to my eye.

Now back to the OP’s original question, which was really about scribing face frames to crooked/out of plumb walls (and they are all crooked and out of plumb).

There are several ways to handle this, none is better than the other from what I can tell.

1) make the FF stile that will abut the wall wider, on the outside of the cabinet, then scribe and cut to fit the wall. This is how we used to do it years ago, it works well and leaves a clean and custom appearance when finished. It’s a bit of a PITA since you have to constantly move the cabinet until the fit is satisfactory.

2) add a filler board to the side of the FF which you scribe and fit before you install it. Similar to above but easier to handle since you are not moving the whole cabinet around. Gives you an extra seam which might detract from the look you are trying to achieve. Or not.

3) if you measure the opening very carefully and check the wall for straight and plumb, you might get lucky and be able to build within a 1/4” or so of the opening size and finish it off with a small molding.

I’ve done all of these, and probably others that I’m not thinking of right now, and they all work.

-- 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 klassenl's profile

klassenl

199 posts in 3114 days


#14 posted 08-16-2019 03:25 AM

If you build your cabinets without a face frame then you don’t have to deal with the face ftame.

-- When questioned about using glue on a garbage bin I responded, "Wood working is about good technique and lots of glue........I have the glue part down."

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1308 posts in 950 days


#15 posted 08-16-2019 03:49 AM

I forgot to mention that you WANT the extra stile width or filler along a wall so the cabinet door can open fully.

-- 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"

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