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post #1 of 28 Old 12-14-2013, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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Face Frames

I'm building kitchen cabinets in maple wood.

The carcass will be built with PB maple melamine. The melamine will only show inside the cabinets.. The few places that the sides will show (both sides of the window for example, I will put 1/4" maple veneer plywood over the melamine so I can stain it to match the face frames and doors.

I am having the doors made out of maple. I am making the face frames myself. The choice for the face frames is hard or soft maple. Cost difference between soft and hard isn't a big issue because I won't need a huge amount. I prefer hard because it wil take hits better (we have 6 kids). Which maple (hard or soft) will match the doors? Are the doors typically made of hard or soft maple? Is there even much of a difference in color?

On a side note, I am thinking of using baltic birch (1/2") plywood for the drawers. Then i would put a few layers of clear on them to protect against staining and spills. Does this seem like a reasonable choice?


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Steve
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post #2 of 28 Old 12-14-2013, 01:27 PM
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You should find out which Maple will be used on the doors, and which you will use for end panels. Hard Maple is mostly light sapwood, and more uniform, while soft Maple is more variegated.

If you are planning for full overlay doors, you might consider making frameless cabinets.

Baltic Birch (") would be fine. For drawer finishing, I finish kitchen drawers inside and out. They are easier to finish with the drawer bottom out. I would use a waterbase polyurethane, but a clear lacquer could be used. I wouldn't use an oil base finish, or shellac.






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post #3 of 28 Old 12-14-2013, 09:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabinetman
You should find out which Maple will be used on the doors, and which you will use for end panels. Hard Maple is mostly light sapwood, and more uniform, while soft Maple is more variegated. If you are planning for full overlay doors, you might consider making frameless cabinets. Baltic Birch (") would be fine. For drawer finishing, I finish kitchen drawers inside and out. They are easier to finish with the drawer bottom out. I would use a waterbase polyurethane, but a clear lacquer could be used. I wouldn't use an oil base finish, or shellac. .
+1Yes
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post #4 of 28 Old 12-14-2013, 09:56 PM
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Well since I hate frame-less cabinets I would agree to make sure. However I will bet a dollar to a doughnut that the doors are soft maple. Don't let the name soft maple fool you it is a hard wood and durable for cabinets. Hard maple would be quite a bit harder but may not match the doors.

Check this out for all info needed on the differences.
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post #5 of 28 Old 12-15-2013, 01:54 PM
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Soft maple can be a pain to work with and finish IMO.
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post #6 of 28 Old 12-15-2013, 03:09 PM
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When I order doors from Walzcraft I specify the type of maple, hard or soft, and the grade.

I applaud you for using maple melamine for the boxes. A well built melamine box will last as long as any other box while looking great, cleaning easier and requiring zero sanding and finishing time.

I personally specialize in frameless but they do require a more accurate box and door fitment as well as a better install job. In fact, a couple of face frame shops send me their frameless jobs because they can't maintain the accuracy to do them.
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post #7 of 28 Old 12-15-2013, 05:09 PM
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I don't agree applauding a melamine cabinet.
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post #8 of 28 Old 12-16-2013, 01:00 AM
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Go with frameless. Face frames are redundant and restrict the opening.

Al

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post #9 of 28 Old 12-16-2013, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by TheWoodsman View Post
When I order doors from Walzcraft I specify the type of maple, hard or soft, and the grade.

I applaud you for using maple melamine for the boxes. A well built melamine box will last as long as any other box while looking great, cleaning easier and requiring zero sanding and finishing time.

I personally specialize in frameless but they do require a more accurate box and door fitment as well as a better install job. In fact, a couple of face frame shops send me their frameless jobs because they can't maintain the accuracy to do them.
+1. I agree that a melamine cabinet done properly makes for a very usable cabinet. It's a durable interior, easy to clean. Done as a frameless cabinet, is a quick build. Leading edges and visible ends and bottoms have to be covered, and that's it. No wood cost and prep for face frames.

Fabricated properly they are as durable as plywood. I've used it for medical, dental, and both residential and commercial kitchen cabinets. I've never had one come apart, or had any call backs.





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post #10 of 28 Old 12-16-2013, 10:22 AM
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I don't agree applauding a melamine cabinet.
Melamine is just another material that, as a custom cabinet manufacturer, has to be available in your quiver of materials. Did I just say that ? Honestly, it is usually those that have difficulty working with it that speak out against it.

What scares most "little guys" away from it is the difficulty of cutting it without chipping. I don't have an issue since I have an Altendorf with scoring blade.

From my many visits to Canada, it seams that the standard up there is cabinet boxes made of 5/8" melamine and they hold up just fine too.

I do one thing different to make my melamine cabinets better than others. I add a hard maple drop edge to the shelves (sometimes to both front and back edges on long shelves) to make them even more rigid than a 1" plywood shelf. This edge is covered with laminate to match the cabinet interior color. Customers love it.
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post #11 of 28 Old 12-16-2013, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
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I contacted the door manufacturer (Raw Doors) and they said they use hard maple for their doors and drawer fronts. So I will be using hard maple for the face frames. I know some have suggested not using face frames, but my wife likes the look better.

Steve
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post #12 of 28 Old 12-16-2013, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cambriahouse
I contacted the door manufacturer (Raw Doors) and they said they use hard maple for their doors and drawer fronts. So I will be using hard maple for the face frames. I know some have suggested not using face frames, but my wife likes the look better.

Steve
Doesn't the door cover the face frame? Just sayin.

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post #13 of 28 Old 12-16-2013, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al B Thayer
Doesn't the door cover the face frame? Just sayin. Al Nails only hold themselves.
My doors don't cover the entire frame. I'm not a fan of the frameless look. I guess it's to each their own.

The tools don't make the craftsman....
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post #14 of 28 Old 12-16-2013, 03:47 PM
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Yeah for Melamine

I, too find melamine useful at times. I love the fact that I don't have to finish the inside of the cabinet and it is extremely easy to keep clean. I also use 1/4" mel. for my drawer bottoms and they are super easy to keep clean, especially when used in a utensil drawer where there is not usually a special fixture like a silverware drawer. Melamine does have some disadvantages; it is heavy, it will suck up water and get ruined (biggest problem) and you need to use a special melamine glue. Using the correct blade will keep from chipping as mentioned and the user-friendly interior is a big plus. It comes in many colors and even comes in mel. one side, real wood veneer on the other side. The two biggest problems I see with it are weight and moisture, but I use it whenever I can and enjoy working with it. Obviously, there are times when you need a finished wood interior (like when using glass doors) but you can save quite a bit of money by not having to finish the cabinet interiors.

Are you going to apply a stain to your cabinets? Maple is one of the hardest woods to stain evenly. I used to work in a mill where we supplied interior doors and trim. Some of the door companies would not stand behind their maple doors if they were stained and returned for cosmetic reasons. You have two choices; using a pre-stain on your wood (still doesn't always work for blotches) or tinting your finish coats (best way). I really shy away from staining maple if I can, it takes a finish beautifully, but not a stain....from my experience.

Best of luck,

Bandman
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post #15 of 28 Old 12-16-2013, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
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Are you going to apply a stain to your cabinets? Maple is one of the hardest woods to stain evenly. I used to work in a mill where we supplied interior doors and trim. Some of the door companies would not stand behind their maple doors if they were stained and returned for cosmetic reasons. You have two choices; using a pre-stain on your wood (still doesn't always work for blotches) or tinting your finish coats (best way). I really shy away from staining maple if I can, it takes a finish beautifully, but not a stain....from my experience.

Best of luck,

Bandman
Bandman:

Thanks for the heads-up on the staining. I didn't realize that maple was so hard to stain evenly. I'll have to look into tinting the finish coat (if necessary).

Steve
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post #16 of 28 Old 12-18-2013, 08:08 PM
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I just can't stand the fact that it takes almost the same amount of effort and only a little more money to build a solid wood cabinet I hate going to a customers house and they ask why their cabinets are falling apart and if I can fix them once the glued sawdust busts apart then it's ruined I just hate the stuff sorry my opinion is so strong I just hate that stuff and I hate veneer in but that's a post for another thread
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post #17 of 28 Old 12-19-2013, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Hawkeye1434 View Post
I just can't stand the fact that it takes almost the same amount of effort and only a little more money to build a solid wood cabinet I hate going to a customers house and they ask why their cabinets are falling apart and if I can fix them once the glued sawdust busts apart then it's ruined I just hate the stuff sorry my opinion is so strong I just hate that stuff and I hate veneer in but that's a post for another thread
I've never had any call backs on any of my cabinets in two years but I have had to fix cabinets made by other people. The reasons were obvious: poor craftsmanship or poor installation which cause other issues.

There are two things you should do when making melamine cabinets if you want to ensure that this is never an issue.
1) Build ladder bases under the cabinets using a quality plywood. Plywood is more stable if it gets wet.
2) Consider building the sink base using plywood with a matching laminate interior which again, will be more stable if something leaks or whatever. Also, regardless what type of material is used, I recommend using a leak tub in the sink cabinets which will catch any little drips.
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post #18 of 28 Old 12-19-2013, 02:20 PM
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Fabricated properly they are as durable as plywood. I've used it for medical, dental, and both residential and commercial kitchen cabinets. I've never had one come apart, or had any call backs.
.
Heeeeey .... Weren't you the one that was scolding me about asking about using particleboard vs. plywood for cabinets a while back? (not really "scolding," of course ... but I thought you weren't too keen on the idea).

Melamine is basically particleboard with the high-pressure melamine laminate, is it not?


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Understanding that you may not see success instantly, but that all your good decisions add up to a cumulative success over time is what separates those who "get there" and those who don't. Every day you either get further away from your goals, or closer to them . . . Its up to YOU."
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post #19 of 28 Old 12-19-2013, 02:30 PM
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Heeeeey .... Weren't you the one that was scolding me about asking about using particleboard vs. plywood for cabinets a while back? (not really "scolding," of course ... but I thought you weren't too keen on the idea).

Melamine is basically particleboard with the high-pressure melamine laminate, is it not?

Melamine is a chemically applied coating, not a high pressure laminate like Formica. I don't think I bashed particle board fabrication, or MDF for that matter. I will say, that plywood would be better. If you want a durable interior, laminate plywood with Formica for the interiors. That's what I did before Melamine.






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post #20 of 28 Old 12-19-2013, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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I went to order the PB melamine panels, but they didn't have enough in stock for my order. The salesman at the local distributor then offered me 3/4" thick prefinished maple veneer plywood (finished one side) for only $8 per sheet more than the PB melamine. So I ordered the prefinished maple plywood instead. One side finished is fine as almost all of it will only show one side. I did buy a couple of 2-sided prefinished maple ply for an additional $20 per sheet for shelving.

I have already ordered and received a pack of 1000 Confirmat screws for PB along with the special 3-step bit. I am assuming these can also be used for plywood. Is that correct?

Thanks
Steve
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