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Thread: Purpose of Face Frame Overlap?

  1. #1

    Purpose of Face Frame Overlap?

    In various (but by no means all) examples I see of sizing the face frame for attachment to the caracas, I see there is some overlap: the face frame stiles overlap the caracas sides by 1/8-1/4" on both sides, like https://s3.amazonaws.com/vs-lumberjocks.com/nd3ue3v.jpg, https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/i...1hNng&usqp=CAU, https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/i...RywnU&usqp=CAU, and https://sawdustgirl.com/wp-content/u...h-overhang.jpg. What I have never, ever, ever, ever, ever seen is a reason for doing so, not even in Bob Lands The Complete Kitchen Cabinet Maker. I also see many examples without....

    What is the purpose of having the face frame OVERLAY the caracas sides, as opposed to being FLUSH with the caracas sides (assuming the caracas is plywood)? Aesthetic? Structural? Assist with leveling cabinets at installation? Someone did it 100 years ago, no one know why, but everyone does it? To be clear, I am NOT asking about cabinet door overlaying the face frame. I understand that pretty well, and have hung a few overlay doors with great results. Every cabinet I've made up to this point is a single piece (e.g vanity). I'm just trying to wrap my head around the purpose of the overlay. I have no preference either way, but I'm half-way through my sketchup design for some cabinets I'm about to attempt. I can predict, with great confidence, I will have alignment problems at installation, and wonder if the "overlap" will help compensate? Or would a better way to approach this would be: Novice cabinet maker, better do the overlay; got a few hundred cabinets under your belt and don't even need a cut list, skip the overlay?

    Edit: I have (mostly) full control over the squareness and evenness of the walls where these will be going. This is a to-the-studs reno. I suspect the overlap is to allow for "skewing" installation on out of square/true walls?
    Last edited by Thomas Colson; 04-27-2021 at 8:12 PM.

  2. #2
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    Its easier to install them when the walls and floors are not flat and true if the face frames overlap that small amount. Even if the walls were true, I suspect installing boxes with no overlap would be difficult.
    Dennis

  3. #3
    1. Makes it easier to get clean joints in between cabinets.
    2. Easier to manufacture. Flushing the edge requires tight tolerances or extra processing.

  4. #4
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    Try placing a framing square on the inside corner of any wall intersection. Very rarely are they square or dead true flat. This is typically a result of framing (layout, crowned studs/ plates, or taping mud buildup. Cabinet boxes do not always turnout to be "dead nuts on" square in all three dimensions. The minimal "overlap" is a very real headache/hassle eliminator in my experience. No one wants any gap at all between cabinets.


    '

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Colson View Post
    In various (but by no means all) examples I see of sizing the face frame for attachment to the caracas, I see there is some overlap: the face frame stiles overlap the caracas sides by 1/8-1/4" on both sides, like https://s3.amazonaws.com/vs-lumberjocks.com/nd3ue3v.jpg, https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/i...1hNng&usqp=CAU, https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/i...RywnU&usqp=CAU, and https://sawdustgirl.com/wp-content/u...h-overhang.jpg. What I have never, ever, ever, ever, ever seen is a reason for doing so, not even in Bob Lands The Complete Kitchen Cabinet Maker. I also see many examples without....

    What is the purpose of having the face frame OVERLAY the caracas sides, as opposed to being FLUSH with the caracas sides (assuming the caracas is plywood)? Aesthetic? Structural? Assist with leveling cabinets at installation? Someone did it 100 years ago, no one know why, but everyone does it? To be clear, I am NOT asking about cabinet door overlaying the face frame. I understand that pretty well, and have hung a few overlay doors with great results. Every cabinet I've made up to this point is a single piece (e.g vanity). I'm just trying to wrap my head around the purpose of the overlay. I have no preference either way, but I'm half-way through my sketchup design for some cabinets I'm about to attempt. I can predict, with great confidence, I will have alignment problems at installation, and wonder if the "overlap" will help compensate? Or would a better way to approach this would be: Novice cabinet maker, better do the overlay; got a few hundred cabinets under your belt and don't even need a cut list, skip the overlay?

    Edit: I have (mostly) full control over the squareness and evenness of the walls where these will be going. This is a to-the-studs reno. I suspect the overlap is to allow for "skewing" installation on out of square/true walls?

    Thomas,

    There are a couple of short references pertaining to scribing the face frame in Bob Lang’s book. One is found on page 106 and the other towards at the end on page 218. Figure 129 on page 107 is useful.

    This book has proven to be very useful to me when I built the cabinets for our kitchen renovation project.

    Regards,

    J.

  6. #6
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    What Johnny said.

  7. #7
    Great answers thanks!

  8. #8
    for Kitchens the old guys had a lot fewer joints. They built furniture as long as it made sense for moving and getting it in. Does put more stress on a face frame at some point. Now its a gaggle of single cabinets all joined together.

  9. #9
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    In the old days a large piece might have a blemish that gets filled in and the buyer is ok. Nowadays if a piece has a micro dot or reflects light in a strange way they want it replaced.

    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Lake View Post
    for Kitchens the old guys had a lot fewer joints. They built furniture as long as it made sense for moving and getting it in. Does put more stress on a face frame at some point. Now its a gaggle of single cabinets all joined together.

  10. #10
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    I think the question and answer are moot.

    Forget the faceframe. Embrace euro construction and you don't have to worry about things like frame or door overlay, frame lippage, or even how to attach the frame to the box.

    Umless you or the customer are specifically going for an inset door look , framed cabinets offer no advantages.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Lake View Post
    for Kitchens the old guys had a lot fewer joints. They built furniture as long as it made sense for moving and getting it in. Does put more stress on a face frame at some point. Now its a gaggle of single cabinets all joined together.
    Some still are built that way.

  12. #12
    i build almost exclusively face frame, inset cabinetry, and my standard technique is to overlap the inside of the face frame by 3mm on the sides and bottom. so, the face frame hangs over the outside of the carcass, and meets up with the face frame next to it, and also accepts finished end panels that tuck behind the frames, covering the plywood sides (or mitered to the face frame).

    why 3mm? because it's enough to hide the intersection with the plywood, and it allows me to use 3mm plates for the door hinge hardware with system screws. my entire system is based around this 3mm spacing, including the tooling to join the face frame to the carcass.

    YMMV - i figured this out around kitchen #20, and it's worked ever since.

    -- dz

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