Clamping and Gluing 45-Degree Corners

Tape, biscuits, pocket screws? Pros share techniques for gluing faces to bases. March 17, 2005

We have been building cabinets for several years now, with about 90% of them being framed type with style and rail. Our question is this - has anyone ever come up with a method of attaching the face frame to cabinet without the use of clamps, or does anyone have a device for clamping the sides that are cut at a 45 degree? We have been using glue and pinging them on, but when it comes time to clamp you can't clamp sides very well to draw them in flush.We have tried our Castle machine with pocket screws but that doesn’t work with the 45 degree cut side panels.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor A:
Are you cutting a 45 degree on the edge of your side panel? If so, I would keep your side panel flat and dado a 45 degree cut in your stile so that your pocket screws will work.

From contributor B:
Forget the clamps, here is the deal. Rip the edges at 45°, pass it on the jointer, lay the two parts face up on a table with the edges touching. Lay a piece of 2" masking tape down the seam, turn it over, squirt some glue in the joint, then fold it closed. Let it dry. You will never do it any other way.

From contributor C:
Or, rip the stiles at 45 deg. but put the bevel at the back. Rip the sides 3/4" wider than others and butt into the bevel. The top/bottom is then cut in a sort of diamond. The long bevel on the stiles overlap the adjoining cabs with 5/16" play, allowing you room to tweak them to perfection. If the end is finished, apply a 1/4" skin and sand the remaining 1/16" bevel point flat. This way you can use pocket screws, and the joint between corner and wall units is perfect.

From contributor D:
You may want to look at CMT's 22-1/2 degree lock miter set. I use it any time a 45 is required and have been very pleased with the results. Simple, quick and no slipping.

From contributor E:
I biscuit join the face-frame to the casework and use green tape for clamping. All you need to do is pull it together since the glue strength is in shear. Green masking tape has enough strength and elasticity to do this easily. The biscuiting method is not difficult but it's difficult to explain. Use "0" size biscuits centered in the bevel. The biscuits must be parallel on both sides i.e. at right-angles to the face-frame surface. To help me, I made a small model of the joint with notes all over it.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor A:
The person who suggested that we forget the clamps and use cellophane tape to make to make good tight joints really knew his stuff. I am a beginner in woodworking and I struggled with clamps to make 45 degree joint and they seemed to be more trouble than help. I tried his suggestion to just make clean cuts, mate the joints, tape them, open them like butterfly wings, glue, close and tape the untaped side. I have been using this method for about a year with very good results. So I would like to pass on my thanks to the contributor who saved me from a lot of unnecessary work.