Frameless Inset Cabinet Design


From original questioner:

I'm trying to think of a nice way to deal with the box seams in this frameless office design. Design is based on customer picture where seams weren't that offensive/noticeable as it was a dark stain. These are going to be mdf, custom painted an off white to match trim in room and I know the seams are going to be highly visible.

I was thinking maybe a slight chamfer on each edge to highlight the joint making it look like an intentional vgroove.

Customer doesn't want doors to be proud of cases, which is the reason for inset doors in frameless boxes. I could design the base cabs to look like inset with full overlay doors/drawers, but what about the uppers where there are only a few doors? Does anyone think the vgroove idea would look okay or maybe just putting a flat strip of molding over the joint? Any other ideas would be appreciated.

I don't want to build one long upper because of the weight of the mdf, because it is over 8' and I really don't want to deal with 4x10 mdf sheets, though I've considered it if nothing else would look good.

From contributor Ji

Where two boxes come together, one side is set back and you treat it like an overlay. That way, you only see one of the stiles. There is a trick to dealing with the horizontal rails. I have done this, and it has turned out great.

From contributor Ke


Break your uppers into equal narrow boxes and add end, top and bottom panels as well as a filler panel between each box that are bumped out flush with your doors. This will eliminate the need to inset the doors, hide the seams and give you the flush look you want.

From contributor Ke

I removed any insets to flush the doors with the shelf they cover and I think it helps the flush inset look.

From contributor St

Thanks for the drawing Kerry. I like the way the offsets look with the filler pieces, and much easier to build and install the small boxes.

On another note, I've always built ff cabinets with vc ply and used a jig to drill 1/4" shelf pin holes where needed.

Since my panels won't have the 5mm system holes is there a screw that will hold the drawer guides and hinge plates well screwing into the face of mdf? I've done a google search and found some, but can anyone recommend one from personal experience?

From contributor Ch

Just get ultra lite mdf. I'd use thicker than 3/4 for looks.we just finished a room wrapped in bookcases in 1 3/4" ultra lite. Some of the cases were 12" deep 60" wide and 86" tall and it wasn't THAT heavy