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Thread: Attaching face frames to Melamine boxes; Hanging Melamine boxes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    Monroe, MI
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    Attaching face frames to Melamine boxes; Hanging Melamine boxes

    I'm about to start construction on some cabinets which will have melamine boxes (typical melamine with the particle board core) and oak face frames. Boxes will be 3/4" and the backs will be 1/4".

    First question: What is the best way to attach the face frames to the boxes? Glue? Biscuits and glue? Pocket screws?

    Second question: These are hanging cabinets. What is the best way to reinforce where I will be hanging them? I'm thinking a couple 1/2" plywood blocks behind the cabinet back with screws through the sides of the cabinet? Hanging is going to be fun as the wall they mount to is plaster over solid brick so I'll probably end up using Tapcons. The go to the ceiling so a french cleat is not an option.

    Boxes will be assembled with Confirmat screws.
    Last edited by Matt Meiser; 12-27-2007 at 3:27 PM.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Eagle River, Alaska
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    I use biscuits for face frames. I use 1/2 or 3/4 inch backs and just screw thur the backs into the studs.



    Rich
    ALASKANS FOR GLOBAL WARMING

    Eagle River Alaska

  3. #3
    Hi Matt,

    1) Quick-Staple the 1/4" back on with 1/4" crown staples and then glue (Roo Glue) and screw (to the sides, top and bottom from the outside) hanger straps (1x3 or 1x4 melamine with edgebanding) on the inside of the cabinet. Must conceal the sides of the back with molding or finished end panels or location.

    2) Medium-Route a groove for the 1/4" back (about 1" in from the back edge). After installing back in groove, use glue, hot melt and/or angled brad nails to secure back to the top, bottom and sides. Attach 1x3 or 1x4 hanger straps to the back side with glue and screws. Does not require moldings or finished end panels to conceal the edge of the back.

    3) My new favorite-Cut backs from 1/2" material. Run a light bead of Roo Glue on the back edge of the cabinet and then attach with small, countersunk screws. This is quick and strong and you can run installation screws anywhere on the back. If you have to deal with the visible 1/2" edge and don't want to use a molding or finished panel, you can design the cabinet so that the exposed end panel is 5/8" deeper than the other side, top and bottom- and then route a 1/2" x 5/8" rabbet on it.

    If you can, try my new favorite. It is very straight forward and makes the squaring process pretty easy, but the material costs more.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    east coast of florida
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    1,482
    I have had bad luck with screws in partical board. I like the way biscuits work to hold on face frames. If your frames show proud of the case side don't forget to adjust the fence on the plate jointer when you go from cutting the slots in the case to he ones in the frame.

  5. #5
    Matt, dominoes work great for attaching face frames to melamine.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Rio Rancho, NM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Meiser View Post
    I'm about to start construction on some cabinets which will have melamine boxes (typical melamine with the particle board core) and oak face frames. Boxes will be 3/4" and the backs will be 1/4".

    First question: What is the best way to attach the face frames to the boxes? Glue? Biscuits and glue? Pocket screws? Matt, my entire kitchen, dining-room buffets(s) and china cabinet, pantry, and sunroom cabinets are built this very way. All of the faceframes are attached with biscuits and plain ol' yellow wood glue. Do NOT use "melamine" glue on these, as you are not joining melamine surfaces, but wood to wood (DAMHIKT!!).

    Second question: These are hanging cabinets. What is the best way to reinforce where I will be hanging them? I'm thinking a couple 1/2" plywood blocks behind the cabinet back with screws through the sides of the cabinet? Hanging is going to be fun as the wall they mount to is plaster over solid brick so I'll probably end up using Tapcons. The go to the ceiling so a french cleat is not an option. Again, this is the way we did ours--a 1/2" solid piece of pine or fir glued into the back where you want to mount the cabinets, then screwed into the wall through that reinforcement.

    Boxes will be assembled with Confirmat screws.
    Again, DON'T use melamine glue on these, as you will be joining wood to wood in your rabbets and dadoes, and the stuff is NO GOOD. Found that out when my china cabinet glue joints failed and the cabinet fell off the wall, destroying thousands of $$ worth of antique china and glassware!! The rebuild was done with yellow glue and screws about every 6". Pre-drill for the screws, too.

    Nancy
    Nancy Laird
    Owner - D&N Specialties, Rio Rancho, New Mexico
    Woodworker, turner, laser engraver; RETIRED!
    Lasers - ULS M-20 (20W) & M-360 (40W), Corel X4 and X3
    SMC is user supported. http://www.sawmillcreek.org/donate.php
    ___________________________
    It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Monroe, MI
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    For assembling the boxes themselves I was planning to puta 1/4" back in a dado. The joints between the sides and top/bottom I was just going to screw with the Confirmat screws--no adhesives since this would be a melamine face-particleboard edge mating.

    This is a towel cabinet with a medicine cabinet underneath for my parents' bathroom so it won't be terribly heavily loaded. It fits between two walls so only the face is visible.

    I'm sure someone will comment on the choice of Melamine for the bathoom, but this is away from any wet areas and I just removed 3 17 year old particleboard cabinets from my master bath that are in good enough shape to reuse in our basement so I'm not worried about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Bukoski View Post
    Matt, dominoes work great for attaching face frames to melamine.
    Can you call my parents and convince them they need to buy me a Domino to do this job for them?
    Last edited by Matt Meiser; 12-27-2007 at 7:00 PM.


  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Meiser View Post
    Can you call my parents and convince them they need to buy me a Domino to do this job for them?
    You do NOT need to invest in an expensive Domino. A PC biscuit joiner will do the same job, for much less $$$.

    Nancy
    Nancy Laird
    Owner - D&N Specialties, Rio Rancho, New Mexico
    Woodworker, turner, laser engraver; RETIRED!
    Lasers - ULS M-20 (20W) & M-360 (40W), Corel X4 and X3
    SMC is user supported. http://www.sawmillcreek.org/donate.php
    ___________________________
    It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.

  9. #9

    Cool How?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nancy Laird View Post
    The rebuild was done with yellow glue and screws about every 6". Pre-drill for the screws, too.

    Nancy
    What about the china cabinet? How did you rebuild that?

  10. #10

    Danny Proulx Books

    I got a lot out of a book by Danny Proulx. You can pick it up used on Half.com. I think it is called Building Your Own Kitchen Cabinets. But, it is all designed around the melamine box and adjustable Euro legs. I've built a couple dozen of them for home,shop, and retail use. The backs are also 3/4" - and I just use a 3" cabinet hanging screw.

    Danny's point is that using the same backing material is easy and cheap and you don't have to mess around with any special concerns for hanging. His book is well worth the investment to see another approach.

    For face frames, I've used nails & biscuits. Both work fine. Nails are much easier of course. I just use wood glue in either case. A key is to make the inside of the face frame about 1/16" smaller than the inside box dimensions - that way the raw edges are nicely covered. For utilitarian units I just use vinal "T" molding instead of face frames.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Rutherford Co., NC
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    793

    Another option

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Meiser View Post
    I'm about to start construction on some cabinets which will have melamine boxes (typical melamine with the particle board core) and oak face frames. Boxes will be 3/4" and the backs will be 1/4".

    First question: What is the best way to attach the face frames to the boxes? Glue? Biscuits and glue? Pocket screws?

    Second question: These are hanging cabinets. What is the best way to reinforce where I will be hanging them? I'm thinking a couple 1/2" plywood blocks behind the cabinet back with screws through the sides of the cabinet? Hanging is going to be fun as the wall they mount to is plaster over solid brick so I'll probably end up using Tapcons. The go to the ceiling so a french cleat is not an option.

    Boxes will be assembled with Confirmat screws.
    Matt,

    When I worked in bedroom furniture, everything melamine that we sold was connected with this type of Knock-Down hardware. Your oak face frames are going to have a lot of movement compared to the melamine faced stuff and using this type of hardware will provide nice tight joints but still allow for movement.

    Not sure what to advise as far as attaching to the wall. I think most commercial wall cabinets have a 3/4" strip at the top for screwing through into the wall.
    "Live like no one else, so later, you can LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE!"
    - Dave Ramsey

  12. #12
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    Jan 2006
    Location
    Frederick, MD
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    317
    I've worked a good deal with melamine - nails will not hold for any length of time. Biscuits are a good option, but IMHO, pocket screws would be the way to go to attach the face frames. Glue would be optional (and probably messy) so I'd probably skip it. I'd build the carcass without the back on, build the face frame, lay the face frame down back side up, and attach the carcass to the face, then slide the back into dados. (the process is sort of like building a drawer) You'll have to block the corners of the carcass to keep it square without the back on - which is probably a good idea anyway. Don't assume the back will keep the cabinet square - the back is mainly cosmetic. You can use pocket screws for the whole deal. Simple, fast and strong.

  13. #13
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    Mar 2003
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    Charlie: How hard is it to line up the holes for the KD fasteners? I'm familiar with them from assembling pre-made furniture, but never thought about using them on something I built.

    Brian, is there much concern with the pocket hole screw heads pulling through the melamine?
    Last edited by Matt Meiser; 12-28-2007 at 4:14 PM.


  14. #14
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    Jan 2006
    Location
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Meiser View Post
    Brian, is there much concern with the pocket hole screw heads pulling through the melamine?
    If the jig and bit (I'm assuming Kreg, since that's what I use) is set up properly, on 3/4 material, you should not have any problems with screws blowing out. I've had issues on 1/2" - but 3/4" is rock-solid. You also want to be careful not to overdrive the screws - melamine can strip out. I would space pairs of screws about every 12" or so. If you feel like overkill - space 'em every 8 or 9 inches and/or add glue (get a fresh bottle of Titebond II or III - II is supposed to be stronger, but III is more water resistant - your choice).

    If you look at European cabinets (Ikea springs to mind) - they use knock-down fasteners in melamine where the holes are about the same size and location.

    Pocket screws are incredibly strong when installed properly.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Monroe, MI
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    11,192
    Yep, mines a Kreg. I've found that the clutch on my Bosch driver works great for not overdriving the screws after adjusting it by testing in some scrap.


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