Coping beaded face frames

Efficient methods, plus hinge suggestions for face-frame cabinetry. January 3, 2003

I've got a large job coming up with inset doors and beaded face frames. I'm looking for any clever/fast ways to cope the rails into the stiles. Currently I do it with a table saw set up for the miters and then clean up with a router - not very efficient.

Forum Responses
After laying out the frame and carefully marking the joints, line up the pieces side by side to be coped. Clamp together and use a router, 45 degree chamfer bit and jig to quickly and accurately cut the joints. Follow with a straight bit to clean the flats. It helps to have two separate dedicated routers. Then assemble like usual.

It works when you don't have much time to wait. If you possibly can, this is an ideal situation to outsource the frames and the doors. Takes all the trial and error and door fitting out.

We install the bead after we build the frame. Miter the joints and use a pin nailer and glue.

If the job is large enough, maybe you can incorporate the cost of a new machine into your estimate. Hoffman makes a machine that will give you the notching for a great fit. If not, as said before, outsourcing will save you much aggravation. Most other small shops I know will build the frames first and apply the bead after.

I currently build frameless cabinets but anticipate the need to expand my line to include the classic flush door in beaded face-frame cabinetry. This discussion has helped me understand the details of building the face frames but I have questions about the hinging. I believe that the classic look requires furniture-type butt hinges.

1. Is there a variant of that hinge that allows dismounting of the door without backing out the hinge screws?
2. Am I right to assume that each hinge requires mortising of both the stile and door using standard techniques, either with router templates and/or chisels?

3. How do you fit the doors for even gaps in the shop and have them remain the same when installing the cabinets on site?
4. Is there any hinge that allows some adjustment?

1. You can use a hinge with a loose pin which you can pull out and thereby separate the hinge. Just be sure to properly mount the hinge in the first place to make sure the pin doesn't fall out with day to day use.

2. You can mortise the hinge in both the door and stile, however if we do a bank of cabinets rather than a single door on a piece of furniture, we mortise only the door and surface mount onto the stile. Also, mount the door with only one hinge screw into the stile and two screws into the door, thus leaving some final adjustment for the field by placing the screws off center to fine tune the hinge placement. We use a router template and a vix bit to mount the hinge to the door. A vix bit is a must. Make the mortise in the door larger than the hinge and then center the hinge or else the hinge will bind when closing.

3. Set the cabinet on a flat, level surface in the shop when shooting in the doors, and add an extra dollar amount for installation because you need to be dead on with leveling. As a last resort, a bit of a trick is to slightly rack the cabinet in the field and the doors may line up better.

4. You can purchase a non-mortise hinge with slotted holes that mounts in the gap and as the name implies, does not require a mortise. The only problem is that when opened, the multi-part hinge is exposed and may look less than professional in some situations.

Switching from frameless to frame is a bit of a leap. The tolerances are much tighter and the concept is less forgiving. Order or make your doors oversized and trim them to the opening size after the faces are on the cabinets. Try to start out with a small job rather than jumping in to a 40 cabinet kitchen to learn what works for you first. It will probably take a few jobs and a little experimentation until you get it down just right.

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

Comment from contributor A:
You can use Blum hinges on face frame inset doors - I do it all the time. If you look in the Blum clip hinge cat towards the rear, you will see hinge plates that fix to the back of the face frame, then use a half cranked hinge.

Comment from contributor B:
I don't like the idea of placing beading on the face frames after they are milled. I prefer to bead the face frame with the bead using a router then the table saw at a 45 degree angle and slide miter with a jig. I was stuck with a similar problem a couple of years ago and an old-timer showed me how to do it. It works great, takes a little more time but I try to sell quality and to me, a nailed-on bead does not speak quality.