Finishing kitchen cabinet


What's the best way to glue and finish kitchen cabinet? The case is made of maple and birch plywood and is to be finished with Arm-R-Seal. The face frame will be made of cherry and will be stained and then top coated. Should I first finish face frame and case and then glue the frame to the case? I worry that in this case I won't be able to perfectly align face frame with the case.
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Some people use a biscuit joiner and biscuits. The few times I've build kitchen cabinets with face frames, I've used a blind nailer that I picked up from Lee Valley Tools a number of years ago. The blind nailer works best on hardwood, almost as good on softwood, but is difficult to use on veneered plywood because of the thinness of the surface veneer. I got in the habit of raising a shaving, drilling a slightly undersized hole, banging in a nail and then using a nail set on it. With a small amount of practice, you can attach trim or face frame with virtually invisible attachment points. I liked the nailer so much that I bought a second one and also bought some special clamps for attaching trim and face frames. When I get up to speed, it takes me about three minutes per attachment point including the ten minutes time that I leave a clamp on for the glue to sufficiently dry. Agreed, this isn't the fastest procedure for attaching trim, so I generally only use it on finer installations.
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=1&p2683&cat=1,41182 http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=1&pA713&cat=1,43838
If you do buy one of these blind nailers, standard white carpenter's glue works fine. I never tried the fish glue that they recommend.
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In commercial work what I've seen to be most common is to build the FF and the boxes seperate and then join the FF to the cabinet.
Cheap cabinets get the FF glued and nailed from the front. Better cabinets get the FF glued and clamped. Biscuits are optional if you think they'll help with alignment. I prefer to just lay the cabs boxes on a set of saw horses facing up and lay the FF on top and clamp away. Of course we have lots o' pipe clamps just for this op.
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Depending upon how particular you are about the inside of the cabinets, I find that a right angle clamp and pocket-hole screws about every six inches work really well to attach the face frame to the case (or maybe I should say attach the case to the face frame, since the pocket holes go into the case). If you don't want to see the pocket holes inside the cabinet, you can plug them. That way you can finish separately first, then line them up perfectly and clamp (pipe clamps will work fine, too). As long as your clamps are tight, you can just screw in the pocket-hole screws and it will be rock solid. Glue is optional, but I usually use a little bit.
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