We're a small shop that does all high-end residential cabinetry. Almost all of our jobs are frameless euro style cabinets with prefinished maple boxes.
We normally staple or nail boxes together and screw every 6 inches with no glue, but recently there has been some grumbling about that method.
So we're looking at getting a line boring machine and going to dowel construction with screws added for assurance.
My question is two part:
1. Does anyone have any other good method for prefinished maple that allows for both screws and glue?
2. Any advice on dowel construction and line boring machinery in general? Right now we're looking at the Ironwood BR 23 machine. We're hoping we can use it for boring for dowel construction, but also line boring for shelf pins. Are there better choices out there?
From contributor Ph
Line bore and use confimats (from hafele). This will give you the precision alignment of dowels combined with the strength of screws. No need for glue and glue clean up.
From contributor La
With out going for some form of automated doweling, dowel construction is a PIA, too slow. BTW "dowel construction with screws added for assurance." The screws aren't needed! If you want some additional "assurance" put a bead of melamine glue there. I 2nd the Confirmats. You can actually get a wee bit of adjustment out of them in assembly. You may want to consider two machines (I'm guessing you aren't routing parts or you would line bore & face bore for Confirmats there.) One machine for line bore and one for construction. Change over time on one machine is a killer. Hand doweling is way too slow.
Do a test run before buying any equipment. Plywood doesn't like big screws very much. They can easily spread the edges.
For what its worth, we do dowel but with a full set of equipment. That way it is reasonably fast. None of our equipment requires any manual adjustment. (Not quite true, the bander needs a pat on the head once in awhile.)
From contributor Pa
Thanks to both for the info.
Larry, your suggestion that we use separate machines for line boring and construction was what I was after. Of course the sales guys will tell you these machines will do both (and I guess they will) but is it economical? Hard to know until you start using one, or talk to someone who has.
Thanks for your help.
From contributor Bi
Patrick, have you check out true32?
Worth a look. You might want to consider a router depending on your volume.
From contributor La
I'll also recommend a router. Did you go to the IWF show in Atlanta? Lots of routers shown. Some look real flimsy, some way over what you need. They will cut the parts to size and save a little material. Face drill for line-bore & construction. Make all the notches, holes, grooves, curves you need. And with some machines do your edgebore. You can get machines already setup for vacuum pods or jig your own. The labor saving is big. Accuracy dead on. Requires some investment in software. Machines are easy to operate, given some learning curve. A one man shop near here has an Omnitech and wouldn't go back to manual processes. Cost about $70K, less than the price of a man for 1.5 years.
From contributor Ev
I'll second the CNC router option, if you or an employee can run it. The cost shouldn't be an issue, you can lease a capable machine for a small fraction of what you pay one cabinetmaker.
The cheapest way to go is Confirmats. Staple the box together, grab your drill with the stepped bit and shoot some holes, then screw. Done. No more time than what it takes to bore on a line bore and insert the dowels.
Another cheap and easy option is a pocket screw machine like a Castle machine. Before we got our CNC, I did all prefinished maple cases with pocket screws and melamine glue. The advantage of the pocket screws is that they aren't screwed into the edge of the plywood which can delaminate.