FACE FRAME FIRST OR LAST?

A friend and I ( both amateur wooddorkers) have been going around and around over the order in constructing cabinets. He's an AVID pockethole man and says he always starts by making the faceframe first and then constructing the cabinet to fit.
I tend to do it the other way - seems to me that if an adjustment need to be made, it's much easier to adjust the faceframe to fit rather than vice versa.
If I'm making a piece of furniture I always construct the carcase first and fit the faceframe toward the end.
Or is it just personal preference.
Vic
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My dad was a cabinet maker who made a lot of cabinets. He used a lot of standardized 8' sections, because they were convenient to transport and install. When business got slow, he would make face frames, which were easy to store until needed. So, usually face frames first.
Steve

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That's how I do it, and it seems easiest that way.

Funny, that's why I make the other parts after the face frame.

Sounds like that might be it. For me, it's more convenient to do the face frame first, then two sides, then the bottom, then the back. Each step gives me a chance to make sure nothing is getting out of whack. Also, if nothing else, it's easier to attach the faceframe to the sides and bottom when you don't have to crawl inside the cabinet to reach the screws.?
Dave Hinz
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Now that's a very good point, Dave. I've been primarily a biscuit and dowel user and am just getting into playing with my Kreg outfit. Accessing the screws easily would be a consideration.
Thanx,
Vic
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I'm not saying it's a showstopper, don't get me wrong. I just started doing it that way, because that's how I saw it done, and so on. To me, it makes sense, but I can see how other than access, it wouldn't make that much difference.
Then again, having one active glue joint at a time is preferable to a whole face-frame slipping around.
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My approach: (YMMV)
Face frames and cabinets are made to dimension. Face frame B fits on carcase B. Different parts of the shop. Face frames are assembled with pocket screws and always pre-finished. They meet up much later in the process. Attached to the carcase with 4 bisquits just for alignment. The location of the bisquit slots are always the same, due to jigs ( A blast of RF and the glue sets in seconds) If the grain is lively, I'd pop in a few 18ga air nails and hide them with a wax pencil at cleanup after the install.
If somebody can read a tape measure and a drawing, you could make the carcase in another town and it should fit. The doors and drawers don't meet up till the job-site.
All the probelms are worked out at the drawing stage.
I knew there was a reason I like European style cabinets... no face frames, YAY!... 32 mm system.... YAY! (I miss my 13-hole gang drill)
00
Rob
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Wow. 4 drive-by's in one post. You do suck, you know that?
Dave "I mean that in the best possible way, of course" Hinz
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LOL..I'll try to keep it down.
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says...

For one carcase, one face frame, it probably makes no difference. But if the cabinets are modular and a face frame is to cover 2 or more carcases, it would seem to be easier to make the face frame after the carcases are set in place so that you could adjust for any irregularities in the installation.
Note that I say "seem" because I haven't run into that situation myself.
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Your logic and mine parallel here. I always build the face frames last and make them to fit the bottom width of the cabinet and height of the cabinet. I figure it is easier to cut small pieces of wood to fit a larger caucus than it is to cut larger pieces to fit a smaller face frame. If you screw up and cut a face frame part too short it is cheaper to cut another piece than to cut another plywood panel which often equates to buying another $60+ panel. I build my face frames with pocket holes also.
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Yes, Leon - that's my logic. No matter how much I try to be perfect, I occasionally screw up ( blush ) and adjusting the faceframe to hide them is a lot easier.
Of course, I *still* try for perfection :)
Vic
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<snip snip>

Strangely, the face frame material seems less prone to 'moving' than the panel goods do. Or maybe I use better grade face frame wood than the carcase is made from. Anyhow, another reason to do boxes first.
The holy grail for sheet stock seems to be flat, light, prefinished, economical, stable, holds fasteners and is easily worked with the tools I already own. Haven't found it yet.
Patriarch
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"Vic Baron" wrote in message

For me it really depends upon the number of cabinets as to which way I will go.
For one-off cabinets, it is pretty much six of one half a dozen of the other. However, with a row of cabinets, like a new kitchen, my strong preference is to the do FF's first.
My reasoning is that if I take great care in fabricating square, perfectly sized face frames, square, perfectly sized carcasses are almost a given, making it easier to build the doors and drawers and saving a ton of installation time.
When I start a new kitchen project, which I am in the throes of as we speak, I make all the FF's long before I even order the sheetgoods (other than a sample I obtain to set the dado stack). To me it is _much_ easier to redo a FF if things need tweaking due to last minute changes, then it is to redo an entire cabinet.
Besides, once I have a FF ready, I can put together the parts of a cabinet on a prepared FF in just a few minutes.
... and yes, I am an _avid_ believer in the use of pocket hole joinery for FF's, particularly in kitchen cabinets and bath vanities. IMO, there is no more appropriate joint for that application.
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For kitchen/general storage cabinets, it doesn't much. I am making a walnut, buffet styled bathroom vanity right now. I decided to make the frame first as it takes up less space and I can fit the curved doors and drawers first. The carcass will be simple and when I done, the whole thing can be assembled, finished and put in the bathroom when I'm done.
Dave
Pictures here of the work in progress http://www.teamcasa.org/workshop/currentproject.htm

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wrote:

I agree. I make my frames after constructing the carcass. Really, there's no wrong way to do it.
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