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Through a little research I have found that a 2" wide face frame seems to be the most popular. Can anyone tell me why that width is popular, and if you use something different, how that works for you.

• I tested 1.5" and it seems a little small for 2 screws.
• 1.75" feels good - anyone using that? Is there a down side to going smaller than 2"?

• 2" will work fine, it seems like a lot of face frame exposure.

Thank you!

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I've been doing replacement face frames in my house and they are all 1-1/4. Going to 2" would cost me 1-1/2" of drawer width. For that width I used half laps.

Mike - you can get pan heads up to 2-5/8":

Eric, I am a cabinet maker and there is really no set size for the face frame .  The 2" is a common size due to the type of door construction done.  Most faceframes for overlay doors are 2" because the overlay of the door hinge being 1/2"  and you install two doors back to back as in a configeration of a line of multiple doors the spacing between the two doors is 1".  This allows you to open a door without it binding against the other open door.  Most good cabinet doors are made out of 13/16" thick material and the rails and sitles are made from 2 & 7/16"  wide stock (for my door making bits.  Once I machine the door parts and assemble it there is 2" of stock left.  Now figure what you have when you do a 1/2 " overlay on the door and hang two doors on the same frame stile.  Both doors now protrude outwards the min of 13/16".  If the edge treatment is a bull nose, which is a popular edge treatment , and you open one cabinet door,  even on Eupopean hinges, the clearence between the closed door edge and the door you just opened is 1/2 inch.  I you have one door open and either your self or some one else opens the door that is hinged on the same stile and next to the open door the clearence now is roughly 1/4".  So if the face frame was not 2" wide you woud bind the doors.  To obtain additional clearence in the door configuration you can give the outside door edge treatment  a "cove edge" however now there is another problem.  The door knob or handle treatment will now hit one another.  You must also take into consideration of the hinge type you are installing.  You will need enough room for two hinge barrels to sit end to end on the same stile unless you are using European hinges. (concealed hinges)  

In another situation if you build the doors as a 1/2 inset (were you inset the doors 1/2 way into the cabinets face frame.    You can get them to work on a 1 1/2" wide stiles  however the hinging will have to be a special type known as inset.  A  3/8 inset hinge( hinge wraps around the door frame) is a common hinge

In a cabinet where you are doing full inset doors, the face frame can be  1 1/2 "  wide as the doors are set inside the faceframe.  This is what I use when I do a beaded faceframe and inset the doors and drawers.

in European cabinetary (no faceframe) it is whole different set of circumstances and this is where the European hinges are most popular.  You can get the same effect without a faceframe however the hinges are special.  They can be full overlay (covers the full cabinet box opening and all of the box material) or half overlay (covers the full cabinet opening leaving about 3/8 " of the  box material) .  The hinges are called full and half cranked because of the amount of the crank in the hinge arm where it mounts to the mounting plate.

Basically the reason for the 2" wide face frame is due to the fact that you can do more with it without having clearance problems,  It also matches the door rails and stiles width and desirable with most cabinet customers.   It is a difficult topic to explain but hopefully you will get a better understanding as to why.  Once you begin to work with it you will quiclkly understand.  In building cabinets you have to think about every detail as I have seen some cabinet construction plans set cabinets so close that in a 90 degree bend of a run of cabinets that you can't get a drawer open or a door open because they hit the opposing cabinet doors.  Why?  because outside stiles on the two oposing cabinets were not wide enough.  It is always the hidden thing that jumps out and bites you and you do not see it until install your cabinets.  Simply said the 2" width is the easiest method to acheive the same results and do it in a variety of ways.

If you go to a outlet store where they have some cabinet displays set up you will see why measurments and widths are just as important in your faceframes as it is in a fine door.   Note however that on the cheapie versions some of the door thickness is 5/8 inch and they are using 1 1/2 inch wide material for faceframes.  to make it work they use European hinges as they are adjustable.   They do this in order to make things work and sometimes it just don't.  Also note that if you will look at the so called custom cabinet you will find the cabinet boxes are all of a common size and they set the cabinet up using a truck load of filler strips.  In a cabinet makers world a true custom cabinet is made to fit the open space available not build the cabinet 24 inches wide for a 27 inch hole and stick a rail road tie in to make up the 3 inch difference.  This is some of the reasons .  Hope it helps to answer your question

Jay, WOW! Thanks for the info. I assume you use 2" face frames for your rails ans stiles. What type of hinge do you mostly use in your business? Thanks to all!

Eric, I use mostly 2'' face frames in the majority of my work however it does occassional change as it will depend on the type of cabinet syle I'm building. Please understand that for the cabinets I build with the 2 inch face frame will have some different widths in it that are a pretty much given fact.  In the upper cabinets the lower rail is normally 2" unless there is something like undercounter lights then it might need to be 2 1/2 to 3''.  The stiles are mostly 2'' with the exception of the wall ends  which may become 2 1/2" of which I scribe to fit the wall shapes and imperfections.  On the upper rail it is usually 3 inches wide as normally there is a crown molding and maybe some thum and dental molding that will be added to the top.

The lower cabinet have amostly 2" wide rail at the top and 2" stiles with the exception of the wall ends again and of course any other obstruction where additional space is needed like in 90 cabinet corners special appliance like refrig dish washers wall and micro wave ovens.

The lower rail is normally 1 inch wide since I use 3/4" material for the cabinet boxes. In cabinet runs I build the cabinet to fit the opening and only leave 1/2" space between the cabinet and the wall.  It is necessary to verify the actual opening and on severe walls you have to adjust both cabinet size and end stiles. This is some of the reason for the standard cabinet sizes in the big box stores.  What is annoying is that you go get youself a set of just the run of the mill cabinets without any of the do- dads and you pay a set price.  The next fellow wants a set of custom cabinets so he picks out his cabinet.  The problem for the most part is that the only thing that is custom about that set of cabinets is the name and the price.  You still get the basic box in the same size and build of mostly the same material and the same method of the build.  Now they will doll it up by throwing in a few extras and make a big deal about it like dovetailed drawers.  Take time and look at them.  you will see hodge pod slam it and bang it together workmanship.  I can't call it craftsmanship as it is as far away as you can get from that of  craftsmanship.   You will see sloppy fitting cabinets with out of square boxes with, oh yes a truck load of staples as the person gets paid according to the number of stapes he manages to slam into the cabinet.  One of the biggest salesmanship things in cabinet is "oh lookie its got  dove tail drawers."  Take time and look at it.  You could drive a cement truck through some of the joints.  Then make matters worse look at the cheap drawer slides that they got on the super duper custom cabinets.   It will actually make you mad at how bad the unknowing person gets taken. 

 In building  inset door- drawer designs I try to stay at the 1 1/2 inch width range and of course the same tolerances for varied widths described above still apply. 

As for hinges questions I normally use European concelled hinges in the blum, grass, salice  brands,  The overlays and style will again depend on what I am trying to do.  At any rate that is my ideas, methods and opinions about  cabinet building. 
Eric Theriot said:

Jay, WOW! Thanks for the info. I assume you use 2" face frames for your rails ans stiles. What type of hinge do you mostly use in your business? Thanks to all!

Yep! I'm going with a 3" top to accommodate the upper trim and I have considered the fact that the 90 degree turn needs more so the drawer wont hit the adjacent handle  :  ) 

Thanks bro!

I use 2.25 inch face frame, That is the size I need to hide the wood supports that I use in my cabinets. I usually rip both sides of a 1 x 3 down to a 2.25" dimension. Ripping both sides give me a smoother finish on the edges. Since you can make frameless cabinets, any width frames would work as long as it is what you like. I feel the frames give the cabinet added strength. I use the kreg jig to construct the frame and then attach the frame to the cabinet using the kreg jig. This method works well for me, as I do not glue the pieces together. 

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