I am making face frames for some cabinets that will set on
the floor and provide a base for a glue up table in my
garaaahhshop. A friend of mine told me that the glues
made nowadays are plenty strong enough for this task
and I don't need biscuits or a pocket hole jig for the f/f
joinery since the stress on them will not be too great.
I use Titebond glue. I will be attaching the f/f's to the
plywood cabinets with glue and brads. Think this will
be okay? Inputs please, thanks.
Joey in Chesapeake, Va
Unless you do a miter joint with a spline, you're going to have an end grain
glue joint to contend with on all four corners, so NO, just gluing is not an
option if you want to do it right.
Traditional way is M & T joint. More modern method is biscuits, or pocket
My favorite for cabinet FF is pocket hole joinery ... all the strength
needed for the partcular application, no clamping, immediate availability of
the FF for assembly with no dry time and, if you cut your parts right, a
squared up FF where it counts.
Just my tuppence ...
Pocket hole joinery is fast and simple and adequate for most cabinet
applications where the joint doesn't see alot of stress. However, if this is
going to be something that receives alot of abuse you might want something
alot stronger. Mortise and tenon being my first choice and biscuits second.
The screws that hold the pocket hole joint together simply cannot provide
this kind of strength alone and at the very least should be re-enforced with
glue to get the most you can get from the joint.
I would respectfully argue the point. :)
I am convinced that "strength of joint" issues are negligible, and mostly
irrelevant, in face frame construction.
Face frames, by definition, are attached to the cabinetry sides, tops and
bottoms, most often glued to same. This combining of parts gives both
components a rigidity and strength that they may not have separately.
In my experience constructing quite a few traditional style cabinets, the
resulting difference in "strength" between a face frame joined with pocket
hole screws and properly attached to cabinet sides, and a face frame joined
using any other joinery method, is negligible for all practical purposes.
That, and the convenience, as previously noted, of the pocket hole joinery
for use in face frames, makes them an ideal joinery method for that
That said, there are certainly aesthetic reasons for not using the method. I
generally shy away from use in fine furniture, tables and most doors,
particularly where they may be seen. But this is more a result of my own
prejudices toward traditional M & T joinery, rather than "strength of joint"
Opinions, opinions, opinions, everyone's got 'em! Sooo, with that in mind,
my choice is pocket holes and wood screws to secure face frames. I use
biscuits many places but prefer the pocket screws because it pulls the frame
together and you don't have to use a lot of clamps to hold the frame during
the glue drying process. With big face frames clamps can get rather
That's my opinion.... and as they say, "And I'm sticking by it" !
Anyway you cut it, pocket hole joinery is UGLY when it's
in a location where it can be seen---I don't care HOW you
plug the holes. Biscuits, splines, M&T are far superior
AND stronger. If ya can't line up a face frame without
pocket joinery, you're in need of retraining. I know,
I know, they're faster, simpler, and down-and dirty---
but they're ALWAYS ugly!!
(waiting for the brickbats)
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