Face frames on kitchen cabinets are the focal point of the kitchen. If they are properly maintained with cleaning and polishing, they can last a very long time. However, if you want to replace them or you are building them for a new set of cabinets you should have some woodworking experience. If you have the proper tools the job will be much easier to perform. The quickest way to build face frames is to use pneumatic tools. A pneumatic corrugated fastener gun goes a long way in saving time and preventing injuries.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- 1 sheet of ¾-inch plywood (48-by-96-inches)
- Table saw
- Electric mitre saw
- Measuring tape
- Air compressor
- Pneumatic corrugated fastener gun
- Corrugated fasteners
- Carpenter's Square
Set the table saw fence at 24-inches. Rip the sheet of plywood lengthwise. This will result in two pieces of plywood approximately 24-inches wide and 96-inches in length.
Set the table saw fence at 2-inches. Rip eleven pieces of plywood. This should use up most of one of the two pieces that were produced in Step 1.
Rip six more 2-inch pieces from the other piece of plywood from Step 1. Next, set the fence of the table saw at 1½-inches. Rip six pieces from remaining plywood.
Measure and cut two pieces of the 2-inch plywood strips to 32-inches long. These are the end pieces to the face frame for the base cabinets. Next, measure and cut two pieces of the 2-inch plywood strips to 30-inches long. These are the end pieces of the face frame for the wall cabinets.
From the 2-inch strips of plywood, measure and cut one 26½-inches long, one 22-inches long and one 4½-inches long. These are called stiles that divide the face frame into sections for the doors and the drawers.
Next, measure and cut three 2-inch plywood strips to 26-inches. Repeat this on the 1½-inch plywood strips. These are the rails of the face frame. The wall cabinets use one of each (2-inch & 1½-inch) while the base cabinets use two of the 2-inch and one of the 1½-inch.
Place one of the 2-by-26-inch and one of the 1½-by-26-inch rails upside down and adjacent to one another. Measure and mark the centre of each. Next, measure 1-inch in both directions from the centre mark, place a carpenter's square on these two marks and draw a line for each mark across both of the rails.
Place the rails between the two 30-inch end pieces from Step 4 of section 1. Place one of the rails at the end of one of the end pieces and hold them together with one hand (should be an 'L' shape). Place the corrugated fastener gun over the joint and shoot two corrugated fasteners into the face frame. Repeat this with the other rail (only shoot one fastener in the 1½-inch rail), and then with the other end piece. Next, place the 26½-inch stile from step five of the of section 1 on the 2-inch marks in the centre of the face frame and secure them with the corrugated fastener gun.
Place the remaining rails upside down on a table. You should have two from the 2-inch strips and one from the 1½-inch strips. Place them adjacent to one another and mark them as you did the strips in Step 1 of this section.
Place one of the 2-inch rails at one end of the end piece and fasten it together with the corrugated fastener gun. Next, place the 4½-inch stile next to the end piece and butt it against the rail you just fastened to the end piece.
Place the other 2-inch rail at the other end of the 4½-inch stile next to the end piece in Step 4. Secure it to the end piece with the corrugated fastener gun. Next, place the 1½-inch rail on the other end of the same end piece and secure it with one corrugated fastener. Repeat this process for the other end piece.
Turn both face frames over and check the joints. Do not fill the joints with wood putty until they are secured to the cabinets. This action will close the joints to some degree.
Tips and warnings
- Always wear safety glasses.
- Remember that 2-inch rails get 2 corrugated fasteners and 1½-inch rails get one.
- Space in the joints is common and they will disappear when the face frame is secured to the cabinet.
- Some cabinet fabricators use strips of ¼-inch plywood behind the joints that are not adjacent to end panels or shelves.
- Do not leave power tools unattended.
- Do not raise the blade of the table saw any higher than necessary to make the cut.
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