Building face frame cabinets using just nails
#11
  
I recently dismantled a vanity with doors and shelves that was original to my home (built in 1953).  It was build using only nails for the cabinet and screws for the hinges.  It proved tough to break apart.

I also just the other day saw a HGTV show called "My Big Beach Builds" about a builder, Marnie Oursler and how she restores, updates and refurbishes beach front homes. 

Her carpenter builds the cabinets on-site using a nail gun (and it does not appear that he uses glue either).

Now these are not free standing pieces; they get much of their structure from the wall that they are attached to. 

Has anyone ever built cabinets like this?  Just butt joints and nails?

Have I been making dadoes, and dowel joints and pocket hole joinery for no real good reason.  If the vanity in my house lasted over 50 years being made with just hand driven nails, it would seem to be "strong enough".  And painted the nail holes do not show.
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#12
  Re: Building face frame cabinets using just nails by Cooler (I recently dismantle...)
(06-18-2020, 01:13 PM)Cooler Wrote: Has anyone ever built cabinets like this?  Just butt joints and nails?

Nope, never will either.

Have I been making dadoes, and dowel joints and pocket hole joinery for no real good reason. 

Your call, do it with just nails if you want.

Thinking about this, cabinets, vanities, and such are usually held rigidly in place being fastened to te wall...there are few or no racking forces on them so i guess it's not surprising they held together. The tough to break apart thing I can't explain.
I started with absolutely nothing. Now, thanks to years of hard work, careful planning, and perseverance, I find I still have most of it left.
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#13
  Re: Building face frame cabinets using just nails by Cooler (I recently dismantle...)
That is a cheesy way to build crappy cabinets.
Wood is good. 
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#14
  Re: Building face frame cabinets using just nails by Cooler (I recently dismantle...)
"Has anyone ever built cabinets like this?  Just butt joints and nails?"

This is a decision you have to make about what you want to build.  The variety of woodworking crafts is pretty unlimited.  I bought a brad nailer thinking "everyone" uses one.  I'm not even sure where it is to be honest.  Butt joints and nails or chainsaw carving a log; each have their merits.  Neither are for me but, that doesn't devalue them. Not a lot of forces involved in face frames if doors aren't attached.
It’s amazing how hearing from someone with a different point of view reveals your blind spots.

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#15
  Re: Building face frame cabinets using just nails by Cooler (I recently dismantle...)
In the restoration business we removed a lot of cabinets. 50+ years ago fhat is the way most cabinets were built. A lot of them lasted a very long time, and were of a better quality than the box cabinets that became popular in the 60's. Being built in place was the norm not the exception. Good and bad in both.
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#16
  Re: Building face frame cabinets using just nails by Cooler (I recently dismantle...)
I would invest in a pocket hole kit and go to town. Most cabinets with face frames these days use pocket hole screws. Structural integrity is required to transport the cabinets from the shop where they are built to the job site. I don't like nail guns because there's sometimes a tendency for the nails to find a way to travel along grain lines vs. a straight path. At least for solid wood.
Still Learning,

Allan Hill
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#17
  Re: Building face frame cabinets using just nails by Cooler (I recently dismantle...)
I've tore out many built in kitchen cabinet. Pine 1x12's, birch 1/2" sheeting for the doors, nails, sheet of laminate and an alum front strip on the counter top.
Some were tough to get out. No way to save them really. I did save what lumber was usable though.
Steve





 
The Revos apparently are designed to clamp railroad ties and pull together horrifically prepared joints
WaterlooMark 02/9/2020

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#18
  Re: RE: Building face frame cabinets using just nails by Stwood_ (I've tore out many b...)
I think it takes a pretty good carpenter to create a faceframe with tight joints just using nails.  I'm a lot more confident they will come out tight, and stay that way, using pocket screws or mortises and loose tenons.  But maybe even more important, why would I want to build a cabinet in place?  Just to save putting a back on the cabinet?  I'd much rather work in my shop where I have all my machines and tools, and not worry much about what mess I'm making building and especially finishing the cabinet.  The only good reason I can see for building a cabinet in place is if it's too large to move through the door.  When faced with that problem though, I have opted to build smaller cabinets and cover the joints with one face frame that I glued on after the cabinets were installed.   

John
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#19
  Re: Building face frame cabinets using just nails by Cooler (I recently dismantle...)
I think your own experience has shown you that just using nails is good enough to last for many years. Add some PVA glue and now you've doubled the holding power.

Our previous house had custom vanity cabinets in the master bathroom. The drawers were made with simple butt joints, glued and brad nailed together. Broke every rule of sturdy construction right? We lived there for 25 years and those drawers got used several times a day, every single day. When we moved out, they operated just like they were new. 

Sometimes good enough is good enough.
Telling a man he has too many tools,
is like telling a woman she has too many shoes.
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#20
  Re: Building face frame cabinets using just nails by Cooler (I recently dismantle...)
My 50+ yo cabinets and drawers were built in place with nails. Every drawer slides like butter. The bathroom vanity is odd—it’s face is angled so that the counter is deeper than the base. Doors work funny because they hang down when open, but drawers are fine, just with a sloped front. No way I’d ever consider replacing that.
Carolyn

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