Frameless Construction

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Euro-Style Cabinets Offer Sleek Lines, Extra Space, and Ease of Construction

The word "frameless" (or "Euro-style"), when applied to cabinets, refers to the absence of a face frame on the basic carcase. Since there is no face frame, the appearance of the finished cabinet is determined by the doors and drawer fronts themselves.

This arrangement opens many design possibilities, and the lack of a face frame saves a lot of work in the bargain. The front edge of the cabinet is the finished edge; there's no complicated, solid-wood face frame to build and install.

Frameless cabinets also let you take advantage of the wide variety of "32mm-system" hardware on the market, including concealed hinges. (See main article.) The 32mm system, which originated in Germany some 50 years ago, is a construction method based on drilling holes at multiples of

32mm spacings. In recent years, many new drilling jigs have appeared on the market that allow small-shop operators to drill accurately spaced holes with just a drill press or a portable drill.

When you choose frameless cabinets over face-frame cabinets, you gain a surprising amount of space. The 3/4-in. thickness given over to the face frame becomes shelf space; and there are no frame members to block access to the interior. With the proper drilling jigs, hinges and drawer slides are easy to install and adjust. You can bore pilot holes for this hardware in the carcase sides at the same time you're boring shelf-support holes—or, if you're drilling shelf holes with a 32mm jig, you can simply install the hinge plates to these holes. —P.L

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