Fastening Scribe Stiles

Cabinet installers discuss ways to attach scribe stiles to cabinets when space is tight on all sides. May 6, 2006

I am doing the installs on 160 units; each has around 8 scribed stiles. What is the best way to attach them? It seems that one technique is to scribe them tightly and push them into place, sometimes with glue. This only works when it does end up tight enough; I can't always be that lucky. Screws might work. What are the techniques folks are using, including but not limited to screw scenarios? Hurry, I start Monday!

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor T:
I prefer to use pre-fitted wood biscuits. A little drop of wood glue and press into place and you're done. Down here in humid So FL, we don't even use glue. We just press the scribe onto the biscuit and the moisture takes care of the rest, but to be safe, you should use glue.

From the original questioner:
I will be installing runs of lowers and uppers that are trapped on both sides by walls. First I hang them and then I scribe and install the stiles onsite. Therein lies the rub: I have to slide them straight back. Biscuits would work if I could mount the scribed stile to the cabinet before I hung them.

From contributor W:
Are they face frames or frameless? If face frames, the lip between the cabinet side and the face frame leaves just enough clearance to allow me to attach a scribe piece that's 3/16 too wide, and still slide back into the opening until the face frames overlap. Then I scribe to fit, slide back on a slight angle so the wall side goes into position first, then I use a pry bar between the cabinet sides to give me the 1/16th or so I need to slip the other end in place. Tough to describe, but it can be done.

From contributor B:
I hope these are frameless boxes. Screws through the inside face are good if you can locate them where the hinges will hide them. If the insides are white melamine, screw anywhere you like and cover with Fastcap white stick-on dots. In wood, I zap some brads in from the inside with the Senco. I get no complaints. If they're face frame, drill and screw the same as joining two boxes. To overkill it, use finish head screws and wax the holes.

From contributor R:
If you are doing 160 units, I assume this isn't AWI premium grade, so if your scribe is off a hair, I would think you could still glue it and shove a wee wedge in to hold it until the glue dries and then caulk the miniscule gap at the wall, no? This is also assuming these are wood stiles. When you do get the scribe right, the fit should be tight enough to ensure a good glue joint regardless of the humidity. Happy hanging!

From contributor G:
You might try 2-P10 super glue with accelerator. If you have the stiles all scribed and ready to go, then a bit of glue on one piece and the accelerator on the other, and the thing will be rock hard in less than 10 seconds. Also, if you screw up, it will still be rock hard in 10 seconds, and you'll have to break the cabinet apart with a hammer and start over. I've done a few face frames with oak doors this way, and nothing has let loose yet (though I would prefer to also have a screw or finish nail helping to hold the face frame on). Anyway, the glue has about 50% more tensile strength than yellow glue and is amazingly fast. Also, be warned that overspray with the accelerator will destroy most any finish, and the glue when dry is tough to paint over, and impossible to stain. Buy it from Fast-cap in an 8 ounce bottle. There are a lot of similar products out there - just make sure they are designed for wood, with some gap filling capability.

From the original questioner:
Wow... thanks for all the info. The superglue route is one I've tried but strangely, my glue stopped working halfway through the bottle (I was using the Fastcap system). I certainly also had good luck with it on crown molding. Of course, I mainly used it to position pieces for nailing or screwing, as would be the case here. The supervisor actually pulled me aside today to say that I was being too precise! That's a first. Welcome to condoland. I am going to try to use pocket screws, drill most of the way through the 1.5 inch stile on the cabinet with the pocket hole bit and pull the stile to it with a pocket screw. I think I once tried that, but the scribe stile tended to get pulled out of plane a little because it's impossible to drill the pocket hole straight. All other fasteners and even nails tend to cause a gap as they push the scribed stile away from the cabinet stile. Hmm...

From contributor J:
Drill the screw hole in the cabinet stiles for clearance. That way the screw will pull the filler tight. I use a stand to hold cab in place when I scribe/mark it, attach to cabinet then install it. Works well for me.