How to Choose & Rough-Cut Face Frame Stock

In this section you’ll:

  • choose appropriate lumber for your face frame stiles and rails
  • rough-cut stiles and rails longer and wider than necessary
  • create a few extra stiles and rails in case you make cutting errors later on (it happens, so forgive yourself ahead of time and make extras)

My cabinet design uses a solid wood face frame that creates an edge for hinging doors and surrounding drawer faces. This is a traditional approach that looks great. Face frames also create a continuous visual extension that wraps around the corners of end cabinets to include raised panels.

Vertical face frame members are called stiles and the horizontal components that fit between them are rails. You’ll find standard, off-the-shelf 3/4-inch-thick lumber works well for face frames. A finished width of 2 1/4-inch is perfect for most cabinet stiles and rails, though there are exceptions. The video up next shows how the top face frame rails of upper cabinets need to be wider where crown molding will be applied, since the crown hides some of the face frame.  Also, as I  mentioned before, I prefer to use no bottom rail on both the upper and lower cabinets. This lets the doors continue down lower, hitting the front edge of the cabinet bottoms that act as a simple door stop.  It looks great and works great. Watch the video up next to learn more about designing face frames and the door stiles and rails they flank.

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