How are frameless cabinets made?

strayerdarbOctober 8, 2013

And how are they made differently than a framed cabinet? Does the cabinet maker have to have certain special equipment or skills that are special for making these types of cabinets?

Are there certain questions I ask the cabinet maker to be sure he knows how to make these?

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Short answer, yes and yes. You'll get varying opinions even on this site about the 'proper' way to construct them. There are some old threads, google and see if you can find them. Barker cabinets makes RTA (ready to assemble) which may not be what you want, but if go to their website, I think they have an intro video where they talk about how their cabs are made, and if you look around there you can find the assembly instructions which shows the type of screws they use to put them together. Same with Ikea, theirs are also frameless but put together differently. Might want to do some woodworking research on the ways joints are made, so when the different people start talking about it you'll have some idea what they mean.
Learn all you can and ask lots of questions!

Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 9:23AM
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Most often a smaller cabinet maker is using screws to assemble the boxes. If using screws many consider "confirmat" screws superior.
Some will also use biscuits, some dowels, some just joints. When I built them I used: full tops, biscuits, and glued the entire case together -labor intensive.

A few mfg will use screws but better ones will use dowels and glue and avoid screws for most cabinets (some have to be done with screws) The cases are glued up all at once in a large press that keeps everything square.This kind of construction requires CNC equipment and special presses or the labor gets prohibitive. Not many small shops have CNC sufficient to the task.

As noted there are a lot of ways to go about it. Doweled construction is generally considered "best". It can be argued that other methods are good enough. The details of joinery if any can be argued ad infinitum.

I turned down an otherwise excellent hi end mfg because they used screws. I could not justify it at the price point when I can get doweled construction at mainstream pricing.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 10:14AM
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As to special equipment and skills, yes. It's not any harder to make frameless cabinets, but it does require training and tools a face frame cabinet maker has no reason to have unless he builds both kinds regularly. The right machines are expensive, so it's not like he'd pick something up on sale just in case.

Our local community college used to offer a semester of face frame and a semester of frameless cabinetry. I see they've combined those:

CFT 165
Custom Residential Cabinetry: European-Traditional I
1, 1ý, or 2 hours lecture - 3, 4ý, or 6 hours laboratory
First course of a two-semester sequence. Designed to give students a thorough understanding of the principles of both Traditional and European styles of cabinetmaking as used to construct and install cabinetry in residential and commercial applications, with emphasis given to residential applications.

CFT 167
Custom Residential Cabinetry II: European-Traditional
1, 1ý, or 2 hours lecture - 3, 4ý, or 6 hours laboratory

Second course of a two-semester sequence....

Here is a link that might be useful: The rest of what they offer/require

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 7:22PM
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