Attaching End Panels
Methods used by the pros. January 28, 2004
What are you using to attach your finished end panels? Depending on the job (budget), I either screw a 3/4 false door from the inside or use spray contact adhesive and a couple of pin nails to glue a 1/4 skin on. Is there a better way?
I pin nail 21/4 x 1/4 strips of hardwood to the perimeter of my existing finished ends to give them a Shaker look. It's quick and easy and gives the job a more custom look.
From the original questioner:
What happens if you have a raised panel door? A shaker door wouldn't match.
I usually use plywood the same species as the doors and face frame and lock mitre it. Sometimes I add a door with the same reveal as the cabinet faces. Other times I've made the end panel just like the doors and lock mitred them to the face frames.
Here is my "better" way: buy sheet material with melamine on one side, oak or maple veneer on the other. Cost me just a bit over $40 a sheet. I used to buy a sheet of melamine for $20, a sheet of veneer for $40, and spend half a day veneering the ends. This way I make a better product, save labor and material cost.
Just buy a sheet of 3/4" hardwood plywood and butt joint the face frame to the end panel. Sand and move on. Nobody cares if it's lock mitered or not - the days of plywood face frames that had to be lock mitered to hide the plywood core have been over for 30 years. Mitered ends do look better if you have a paneled or raised panel end.
Using pocket screws from the top and bottoms of the cabinet box into the end panel works well for us. Kreg makes a portable pocket drilling jig that has served us well for awhile now. To cover the holes it makes in the bottom of the cabinet box upper, we laminate a skin onto the underside of the uppers to give a clean and continuous look to the finished product, covering not only the pocket holes, but also the end joints of the cabinets sides as well, if you build your boxes that way.
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Comment from contributor B:
I am an installer. I have many jobs that have end panels in the form of 1/4" or doors. For me, Liquid Nails and 23 ga. pinners is fast and holds very well. I use a pin nailer made by Grex that shoots up to 1 3/8. Proper placement and angle in the door will leave you
absent of any visible holes on the door or inside the cabinet.