I'm getting ready to re-face my kitchen cabinets in oak. The cabinets
are in great shape, but they are 1970's colonial, dark,dark, brown.
I'm an amateur woodworker but am very particular in the quality of the
I've tried a few methods of fastening together the rails and stiles of
the cabinet doors and until I saw your pocket drill at Lowe's
yesterday, I was going to go with a method of making a a 'stubby'
mortise and tennon joint. I have limited woodworking equipment but I
do have a nice table saw and a pretty good power miter saw. Anyway, I
made a sample M&T joint and it looks pretty good, but took me quite a
while to get the table saw perfectly set up. You know what I mean,
I'm sure. If the tennon was too long, the rail and stile didn't mate
up tight and if it's too short, then there's a gap in the middle slot
that's cut out for the middle door panel to slide into.
I've also been scratching my head to figure out how to fasten together
the new face frames before attaching them to the cabinet boxes. It
seems to me like the pocket drill should be the perfect application
for both the cabinet doors and the face frame construction.
Here's my questions:
Which kit do you recommend if I am going to use the pocket drill
exclusively for 3/4" oak doors and face frames?
I don't understand why the two pieces of wood stay flat (parallel) if
the screw is going in at an angle? Wouldn't that angle stress 'bend'
the wood joint out of flat?
Would you use this drill kit for both the door rails and stiles and
the face frames or just the face frames?
Here's a question a little off topic but I'm sure you know the
answer...What's the best way to remove the existing face frames from
the cabinets? They look to be oak or pine solid wood frames but I
can't see any way that they're attached to the cabinet boxes. I
suspect they may just be glued on.
Thanks for your help!
Pocket holes are great for face frames. I won't use them on doors, I
don't like seeing the pockets. You can stick a dowel in the pocket and
sand flat, a contrasting wood provides an interesting effect. But, I
would suck it up and use a conventional m/t type joint. After you do a
few the set up is easy.
When you screw it together you have to clamp it flat, else it does move.
It won't necessarily angle, think of toe-nailing, but it will lift,
Any of the pocket hole jigs work fine. More dollars, less fiddling to
use it. The Pocket Rocket works as well as the $150 jig, but you have
to manually align it and clamp it down, the more $$ jig is a set the
board in and drill type rig.
The existing face frames are probably glued on, possibly with biscuits
or dowels. One trick I've used is a router with a fence and a 1/4
spiral bit to cut them off. Set it so it's mostly cutting face frame,
unless you want to loose some cabinet depth. Does usually require
removing the cabinets. Otherwise some careful work with a chisel will
do it. The vintage of your cabinets leads me to believe there are
probably some nails too, hard on bits. Ain't easy.
The easiest way is to go to your local lumber yard, not the Borg, and
order a reface kit. They will provide preglued laminate to redo the
face frames and boxes. Careful work and it will look as good as
replacing the face frames. Buy or make new doors.
The trick to this is to cut the tennons with s atraight bit in a router
table. Use the fence to dictate the length of the tennon. Cut the slots
in the rails and stiles on the TS.
I always finish nail and glue the face frames. It's a cabinet. Nail
through a piece of masking tape and apply putty through the hole that the
nail makes in the tape. This keeps the putty in the hole and does not smear
all over and or into the grain of the surrounding wood.
Any of the Kreg jigs but the latest K3 Master system has some nice features.
No. Thaqt sid however you shoud clamp the pieces together with the special
clamp that comes with the larger kits. The clamp should be centered over
the clamp line with the larger surface of the clamp in the opposite side of
the screw hole. Better yet buy the large bench clamp that Kreg sells and
production speeds up considerably.
Only on the face frames. Use the stub tennon set up you talked about for
the doors but use the router and table to cut the tennons.
If the cabinets are all plywood and job site built they are most likely
finish nailed through the face and glued.
I agree with the idea posted here that refacing the existing face frames is
the easiest and fastest way to go, along with buying the new doors. But if
you are like me and want to mess it up yourself, then have at it. When I
was getting ready to make cherry built-in bookcases and desks (15' long by
about 7' high) for the end of our living room, my neighbor suggested pocket
screws for assemblying the face frames. Had not thought about that before
so I looked into it and was swayed. Bought a Kreg kit with a DVD and
learned a lot. Face frames went together very quickly and now I wouldn't do
it any other way. Clamp the pieces and drive home the screws - never have
to wait until the glue sets (yes, I still use glue). Stock just needs to be
VERY square for good fit. I made raised panel doors for the piece and, at
the suggestion of another person who builds a lot of desks, used pocket
screws to assemble the frames of these doors - notched the ends of the rails
and drove pocket screws thru these and into the styles. Space Balls went
into the frames before assembling the frames to secure the floating raised
panels. Purhcased the cherry plugs to cover the notches, planed and sanded
smooth, of course. Again used glue when assemblying door frames, but never
had to wait until the glue dried before moving on. Most people said they
never have problem with doors coming apart when only glued, but frame
splitting at the gule joints is the number one call-back complaint for
commercial cabinet makers according the reports on the web.
Good luck, no matter what you end up doing.
Pocket screws are a good, and fast, way to put face frames together, but I
would never use them for cabinet doors or anywhere that they will be seen.
They just look ugly and unprofessional. If you are going to build raised
panel doors, probably the best way to go is to buy a router cabinet door
making set. For $150 - 250 depending on the choice you will be able to make
all of the cuts necessary to make really good raised panel doors. If you
want to go a cheaper way and just mortice and tenon the door joints
together, consider the beadlock morticing fixture. For $45 you can cut
mortices in the rails and stiles with the fixture and a hand drill and then
cut the stock material thats provided to make floating tenons to join them.
< email@example.com> wrote in message
Well, I do have a cabinet door set of router bits that has separate bits for
rails, stiles, and the panel. And I used to say that same thing about using
pocket screws on the door frames. But having tried them, I now am a
convert - and I no longer use the term, "I would never." The pocket hole is
never seen when the cabinet door is shut. When it is open, the wooden plug,
when finished smooth with the back of the door frame, is not noticable. If
anything, my wife thinks it add a look of distinction.
So do you not make raised panel doors any more?
If you do, do you still cut slots in the rails and styles for the raised
panel to fit into?
If you do, do you make stopped slots on the rails so the slot does not show
on the top or bottom of the door?
If you don't how do you deal with the hole on both sides of the door at the
top and bottom?
I have made new cabinet doors and face frames for at least 10
kitchens/bathrooms and use the rail and style bits for the doors and pocket
hole screws for the face frames. I cannot imagine pocket hole screws saving
any time on doors when you consider the extra work to plug the holes and
the fact that you still have to some how apply a contoured edge on the
inside edges of the rail and styles on the doors?
I do, indeed, cut one long edge of each of the rails and stiles with a stile
bit so the (raised) panels fit in these slots. The ends of the rails are
cut with a rail bit and these ends fit into the slotted edges of the stiles
The top and bottom edges of the doors do not have any holes in them since
the rail and stile bits are a mating pair and the "tennons" on the ends of
the rails, fit nicely into the "mortises" of the stiles. I.e., I make the
doors just like I always did, except I put a pocket screw in each frame
corner with the pockets for the screws drilled on the back side of the rails
(not the front, and not the edges, but into the back that is not seen when
the door is closed). The pocket screw goes in these pockets into the
stiles. A plug goes into the slot and is ultimately surfaced flush with the
back of the rail. The doors look like they always did on the edges and
front, but the backs of the rails have four, oblong filled slots. If the
doors are painted, these filled pockets are hidden. If the doors are
stained/varnished, they show an oblong wooden insert in the back of the
frames. I have been spraying tinted, water borne lacquer so these oblong
wooden inserts blend nicely into the rest of the door frame back. I don't
have any concerns about the door frame coming apart at the joints,
regardless of how much I compress the Space balls between the frame and the
panel or how rough the door is treated in use. As I mentioned before, the
most common cause of call-backs for cabinet makers is the door frame coming
apart. I can put some pictures on the web if you would like.
Ok, so basically you are building the door in the traditionally way but
reinforcing the corners with pocket holes. I think you are going way
overboard. I have doors that have been hanging since 1989 and have never
had a customer call me about a door problem. If you have a door with a
broken joint I strongly suspect you will find a damaged hinge and or face
Yea! Most people say I'm overboard (but never over-bored) - even my wife
says that on other things. But I'm an engineer and take the those small,
extra measures to avoid failures - what can I say? I don't sleep any better
at night because of this method, but there are two reasons I'll continue
building doors this way:
a) it speeds up assembly, since I don't have to use clamps until the glue
dries. Once the screws are in place, the door is solid. I can assemble 3
or 5 or 12 doors, in a very short period of time, with only one set of 4
b) I doubt that I'll get any call-backs from my wife.
In some ways it's like saying that I know glues are much better than they
used to be, but I am going to continue to use dovetail joints on drawer
boxes anyway - which I do.
On Mar 14, 12:10 am, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
If you are going to do an entire kitchen, get the big kit, like this:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)73972894&sr=8-1
It will save you a lot more time and be easier than just buying the
pocket jig (which is like $30, IIRC).. You can always ebay it when you
are done with the project and don't want to do woodworking anymore.
Thanks for all the great ideas. I've purchased the Kreg K-3 set and
played around with it. It is certainly easy to use.
Here's where I'm at with the project planning for the kitchen
refacing. I'd appreciate you ideas again...
I've decided to definitely remove the old face frames and make new
ones (thanks to the pocket drill, it should really be easy). I'm also
going to make the doors (red oak with Minwax 'Golden Oak' stain and
satin polyuethane). Here's my questions:
I'll probably kick myself later, but I've decided to make the doors
with 1/4" oak plywood center panels instead of raised panels.
Honestly, I've thought about raised panels but I don't have a shaper,
my router is old, and I don't like the thought of cutting the raised
panel on my table saw. Anyway, is there an idea on how to 'jazz up'
the inside edges of the door rails and stiles? I can't put any
edgework on the inside edges before assembly because the glues parts
won't fit right with the pocket drill. I'm thinking of a small
molding or something but I'm not sure.
I've always wiped on the stain and brushed on the polyurethane.
Should I consider spraying on the stain and polyurethane?
When I'm using the pocket jig for the door frames, do you think I'd be
able to get by with glue and only one screw at each joint?
You should be able to get by with only glue and a few clamps on your door
frames - you don't need any mechanical fasteners if you make the proper
joints. That would also allow you to use a rail and stile bit set to edge
profile the door frames on the inside edge before assembly. You could use
any of several attractive shapes. I would not use the Kreg system on the
door frames - use it only on the face frames. If you use a plywood panel
for your doors, you can glue it into the door frame groove for even more
strength and stability. If you are familiar with spray finishing using
stain and poly; by all means, spray finish the doors - it is much faster.
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