Oversize Frameless Cabinet Design

A newcomer to frameless construction gets advice on designing and building a large, four-bay, floor-to-ceiling closet cabinet. December 28, 2005

I have been building face frame cabinets lately, using PH joinery for the frames. Now I am considering frameless design for a floor to ceiling closet cabinet. This unit will consist of three adjoining sections, each 4 feet wide x 8 feet tall. My question relates to the minimum number of vertical panels - is it possible/strong enough to do it with 4? Or, like face frame style, should each section be constructed as its own box? I'm concerned about having enough material for euro hinge cup holes on both sides of a single vertical panel.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor A:
If you have three sections/units, there should be three boxes, each box 4'x8'. Easier to build, easier to move, easier to install. Not really a question of strength so much as ease. By the way, 35mm cup hole is in the door.

From the original questioner:
I was concerned about the double width that would result at two of the verticals, not matching the single-width on the horizontals and other verticals. With face frame, this is easily resolved. With faceless..?

From contributor S:
This is not a concern, because the doors will cover what is behind them (frame/carcass). All you will see will be the doors.

From contributor M:
Good questions. As far as appearance goes, I would work backwards. First, decide what your reveals are. I build the doors 3mm less than the exterior width. That is 1.5mm reveal on each side, 3mm gap between double hung doors.

I am assuming that these doors are equally spaced. Now, lay out your doors, and build your boxes to the doors. The middle box will be narrower than the two outside boxes, but the doors will be equal. Otherwise, build your boxes equal, and your doors will be different.

If you want to build as one unit, it is possible. A single partition is strong enough to hold two pairs of doors. You will need shorter screws on the base plates, or to locate the base plates in different holes. Salice has a 1/2 overlay option, not to be confused with their 1/2" overlay. Also, you can use 5mm sex bolts to connect the base plates. I got mine from Hafele.

From contributor S:
All three boxes should be the same size (48") wide. All six doors will be 23 7/8 wide.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for your help! Have you ever seen/done full inset doors/drawers on a euro/frameless job?

From contributor S:
Yes, I've done it before. It's not as popular, though.

From contributor M:
If you build with partitions, you will need to space the partitions to fit equally sized doors. Otherwise, build the boxes the same and the doors the same. Inset on euro - you will need to change the spacing of the system holes from 37mm to 37 + door/drawer thickness. Make samples first. You may not like the gaps between the door and frame. Some hinges may kick the door out as it opens.