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Old 02-21-2012, 02:55 PM   #1
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Are there industry standards for these cabinet components?


I plan on building some cabinets for my garage this weekend and was just curious about a few things. I know I could just build the cabinets to my taste but I am always curious about what the "pros" would say.

So, are there standard sizes for how far down the top of the cabinet sits within the box, and how far from the bottom, the base is to accommodate things like under-mount lights, and how close to the back of the box the back panel of the cabinet is to allow for things like a French-cleat or other mounting hardware (or for uneven walls)?

I plan of building the entire cabinet out of 3/4" MDF because I got a great deal on a few sheets. I will make the face frames out of poplar.

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Old 02-21-2012, 04:26 PM   #2
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Are there industry standards for these cabinet components?


What are you talking about a "box"?

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Old 02-21-2012, 04:47 PM   #3
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Are there industry standards for these cabinet components?


The sides are usually dadoed 1/2"-5/8" from the ends. The rails on the face frame are usually 1x2 (one and one/half"). So when the face frame is applied over the carcase, the top and bottom are offset from the inside of the face frame by 1/4"-1/8". That doesn't mean you are stuck with those measurements. You can rabbet the sides for the top so the top then is flush with the outside of the face frame and forms a flat top on all of your cabinets.
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Old 02-21-2012, 05:53 PM   #4
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Are there industry standards for these cabinet components?


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What are you talking about a "box"?
I was referring to the carcass of the cabinet
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Old 02-21-2012, 06:00 PM   #5
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Are there industry standards for these cabinet components?


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The sides are usually dadoed 1/2"-5/8" from the ends. The rails on the face frame are usually 1x2 (one and one/half"). So when the face frame is applied over the carcase, the top and bottom are offset from the inside of the face frame by 1/4"-1/8". That doesn't mean you are stuck with those measurements. You can rabbet the sides for the top so the top then is flush with the outside of the face frame and forms a flat top on all of your cabinets.
I think I like the idea of a flat top to the cabinet, as it would make using biscuits a bit easier to measure for, but the inset would mean that if I used a Kreg pocket hole I would be closer to the middle of the rail and lessen the risk of splitting.

I guess I am most concerned with the back of the cabinet...you are saying to leave 1/2"-5/8" room between the wall and the back panel of the cabinet?

As I am writing this I realize that this is confusing and I don't know all of the proper terms for the parts of the cabinet which is no doubt making this more confusing...sorry.
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:04 PM   #6
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Are there industry standards for these cabinet components?


For the back, you will need to rabbet out the wall side of the sides. If you plan to use 3/4" MDF for the backs also, the rabbet will be 3/4" in from the back edge and rabbet out 1/2" of the 3/4" thickness. In factory cabinets, they usually use 1/4" plywood for the backs and put a 1x3 inside the cabinet at top and bottom against this 1/4" back to screw the cabinet to the wall. If you use 3/4" ply for the back you won't need to do this, but you should make the top and bottom so they are 3/4 inset as well, so the back overlaps them and you can run screws through the back and into the back edge of the top and bottom.
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:29 PM   #7
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Are there industry standards for these cabinet components?


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Originally Posted by MNsawyergp View Post
For the back, you will need to rabbet out the wall side of the sides. If you plan to use 3/4" MDF for the backs also, the rabbet will be 3/4" in from the back edge and rabbet out 1/2" of the 3/4" thickness. In factory cabinets, they usually use 1/4" plywood for the backs and put a 1x3 inside the cabinet at top and bottom against this 1/4" back to screw the cabinet to the wall. If you use 3/4" ply for the back you won't need to do this, but you should make the top and bottom so they are 3/4 inset as well, so the back overlaps them and you can run screws through the back and into the back edge of the top and bottom.
Thank you, this is exactly what I was looking for. The only question I have, and it may be a "taste" or "opinion" thing, but is it necessary to rabbet the full 1/2"? I feel like I see people doing 1/4" or even less...but maybe they are wrong. My concern would be that if I use screws, as well that it would be easier to split the 1/4" remaining wood.

I have been reading up on joining mdf and the general consensus is that glue is the primary bonding agent...in conjunction with either biscuits or screws. It seems like screwing into the endgrain of mdf is likely to split the wood so I would need to use pilot holes or avoid it altogether. I was thinking about rabbeting the sides and back and using pocket holes in conjunction with glue. Then I would use biscuits for the face frames. My other option was glue and nails and then fill the holes as the cabinet will be painted. Thoughts?
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Old 02-21-2012, 11:32 PM   #8
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Are there industry standards for these cabinet components?


I wouldn't trust glue alone to hold the cabinet back on. Drill pilot holes the size of the shank of the screw. Hold the screw up to the light and hold a drill bit up in front of it the size of the central shaft. You should see all of the threads outside the drill bit...if not go to the next smaller bit. The object is to drill a hole the shaft can pass through and that all the threads grab. Then, the MDF won't split...and yes, it will split very easily when nailed or screwed without pilot holes. I would have to see pictures of how you plan to use biscuits to really comment on that part.

The main thing is to get the back screwed to the sides along the side rabbets and across the back of the top and bottom. Don't get the screw too close to the ends or too close together because either can cause splitting...sorry. Just stay about 3" from ends and about 10" apart. I would pilot hole through the face frame and carefully fire gun nails into the pilot holes to attach it to the carcase...sounds insane, but I do it and it works. Oh yeah, use plenty of glue.
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:11 AM   #9
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Are there industry standards for these cabinet components?


For your "pre" and pilot hole drilling:
Attached Thumbnails
Are there industry standards for these cabinet components?-image-2764428991.jpg  
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:04 PM   #10
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Are there industry standards for these cabinet components?


Wow..that chart is awesome, thank you. Also a big thanks for all of the advice guys, it's appreciated.

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