Inset Face Frame Kitchen Cabinets 

face frame kitchen cabinet

What is a Face Frame cabinet

Inset face frame is a style that goes beyond standard classification. It is a different animal. It could be modern/ transitional or classic - depending on the design.

  • It has a face frame

  • The doors are flush (inset) with the frame

  • It takes time to build it

 

How face frame cabinets are built

face frame oak
face frame cabinet at the shop

Inset Face Frames aren't that easy 

One of the  features of inset framed cabinetry is the continues run of cabinets for as long as the job site permits. I would say that is the main distinction of true inset face frame cabinets. Let me explain: 

When there is a space 75" , a proper inset job would be to build 1 face frame cabinet with three 23" wide sections with  1 face frame. Ofc it makes it very difficult  to build, finish, delivery, and install - that's why the extra cost, but it worth it. 

face frame island

How much face frame kitchen cost?

A midsize  framed kitchen cost around $50,000 - $60,000 but depending on the features can go up much higher. Normally, A frameless kitchen of the same layout takes x3 less time to make it. In other words - I can build 3 frameless kitchens ( about $25,000-30,000 each) or 1 inset face frame kitchen in the same timeframe. 

Face frame cabinet
Face frame walnut drawers

Frames for  kitchen cabinets 

Here on the picture is a frame that is a separate part and on the other picture the frame is attached to the cabinet. The frame is spray-painted separately. This method of construction is very time consuming and requires exceptional precision and accuracy with 3/32" tolerances. There's no adjustments  for the doors - so everything must be perfect or it won't fit. 

It's not that one is better then the other - it's just 2 completely different styles. 

You can read my resent blog post about frameless vs framed kitchen cabinets.

 

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A proper face frame cabinets should have 2 very distinct  features:

 

1) The end gable/panels or you can call it cabinet sides should be integrated into the face frame with a miter joint, see below:

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Face frame cabinet

There should be no seams of any kinds regardless of the material used: stained wood or painted MDF. Lower cabinets, upper cabinets, range hood cabinets, pantries, etc. - all cabinets should be like that. Yes, it is difficult to do but the results well worth it:

face frame cabinets2.jpg
face frame cabinets.jpg
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inset face frame display cabinet

Make sure you check this when choosing your face frame cabinets.

2) Another feature of true inset face frame cabinets is the method of attaching the face frames. The cabinet edge should be 3/8 to 1/2 inside the frame  to provide support for doors and drawer fronts. It also makes it look better and more high-end.

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A face frame kitchen consists of 2 major parts: Cabinetry and face frames. 

A very simplified production schedule would look like that: 

  • First we make the cabinets and install drawer glides, pull-outs etc.

  • Than we make face frames (removable) and attach it temporary to the cabinetry. 

  • After than we make doors and make sure it fits with 3/32 tolerances. 

  • Than everything is disassembled and doors with frames go the the finishing  area. 

  • After everything is spray painted (or stained) all the parts we put together at the shop