Frameless inset possibility?

anenemityMay 9, 2011

Tell me if you think this will work or if I'm totally off my rocker.

I am thinking of building my own kitchen cabinets and as a test of my patience and ability am constructing a closet organizer. I prefer the look of inset cabinets but like the utilization of space (especially with drawers) of frameless cabinets.

I think I've come up with a way to have the best of both worlds. I'd construct the box out of 3/4" ply as in frameless cabinets. The sides would have a frame of 1x for a more finished look. Over the exposed ends of the plywood, I'd then nail a 1x2 to bridge over the plywood and the 1x side panels, making it look like a traditional cabinet face frame. The only difference is the face frame is flush with the inside of the cabinet box. The face of the drawers would slide in flush with the "face frame" but maintain the full width of the cabinet box (minus room for the drawer slides).

If you can muddle through my description, do you think it'll work?

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Other than the inherent waste of material of the 1.5" thick sides, it's a d@mn fine idea. They even make hinges for that style of door.
Thinking about it a bit, I'd make stress-skin sides from two thicknesses of 3/8" ply with 1.25" wood fillers glued between If this were clamped in a flat press, the sides would be incredibly sturdy, warp-proof and true forever.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 3:42PM
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The sides wouldn't be 1.5" thick over the entire surface. It would essentially be another face frame on the side. These also would allow me to add a few pieces between the two vertical sides for attaching closet rods. Here's a rough model I made of what I mean (obviously not complete with drawers and such):

I have two options on how to approach the back. 1. I could dado a groove to fit the 1/4" back (I'm assuming that will be sufficient for a closet back) leaving room toward the back for pocket-screwed hanging cleats. Or 2. rabbet the 1/4" back and nail the hanging cleats with a butt-joint. The 1x "frame" on the sides would hide the gap the cleats would create between the wall and the closet back. Besides not having to deal with pocket screws, the other advantage to the second option is that I can eke out 3/4" extra depth without having to cut my plywood any wider. I'm assuming that the first option is stronger, but is the difference significant enough to bother about?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 4:36PM
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Hi, sorry I thought you said that the two pairs of sides would abut directly.
I've lost the connection between your first post and the sketch. Why do you have cleats if the sides are 1.5" of solid plywood?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 9:34AM
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I don't really understand the description, but no matter - I just wanted to mention that if you used bottom-mount slides, you could capture even more width for the drawer boxes.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 3:17PM
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The sides AREN'T 1.5" solid plywood. It's 3/4" with the cleats on the side. If I had two abutting cabinet boxes (like with kitchen cabinets) the 1x2 "face" would cover the plywood ends and the gap between them. In the closet organizer design, it's a standalone box. I don't need the full 1.5" width over the entire side (seems like overkill for a closet), just at the edges. I guess it's kind of like using iron-on edging, only it's a piece of 1x2 instead of veneer.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 1:01PM
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