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  • Cab carcase joinery method

    This may not be the right forum for this question, but we are considering a switch in the method we use for cabinet carcase assembly, and wondering about the impact.

    Our suppliers currently ship us case parts where the sides are joined to tops, bottoms, stretchers, etc., all with a dowel-plus-confirmat-screw method. The dowels do the indexing, the screws do the fixing. Fast, easy, a couple of hand tools plus a pair of cordless impact drivers, and a whole kitchen goes together in a morning.

    We are considering a switch to the blind dado and tenon method, and don't know much about it. If you have experience with this, tell us what to expect, and how to prepare. Glues? Applicators? Fasteners? Tools? Assembly fixtures or tables? Speed? Efficiency?

    See the attached pic for a shot of a case going together with this method.

  • #2
    Re: Cab carcase joinery method

    I think if you do that you'll be wishing for a case clamp. I worked in a shop that had one (and a dowel drill) and if you're doing any kind of volume, you will not enjoy using a bunch of bar clamps.

    Here's an example for an automated line:

    http://www.veneersystems.com/index.p...ion/pricelist/

    IMO, confirmat is the best way for the small shop. No glue, no mess, very strong, very fast, few tools, etc. You can easily biscuit the occasional blind finished end. Not sure why you'd switch unless you are going to a parts vendor that won't prep for them.
    Last edited by David Meiland; 07-10-2007, 09:48 AM.
    Bailer Hill Construction, Inc. - Friday Harbor, WA
    Website - Facebook

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    • #3
      Re: Cab carcase joinery method

      Parts vendor will do whatever we want, but claims that many of his clients, with small shops or doing site assembly, have moved from dowel-confirmat to this method, and tout the change as beneficial.

      No case clamps, no cabinet clamps, just a glue-bot (great applicator from FastCap) and a brad nailer. Joints are tight, quite strong, cabs moved immediately after assembly, yadda, yadda, yadda.

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      • #4
        Re: Cab carcase joinery method

        Bob

        I think you are still going to need some clamps on the initial assembly--even if the cabinets will set-up without them. The nice this about the dowel/screw method is the way it sucks parts together. A brad is goiing to do that.

        If you supplier is trying to sell you on a new method will he send you a demo to try?

        Tim
        Nothing simple is ever easy

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        • #5
          Re: Cab carcase joinery method

          I LIKE it. I know cabs don't get moved after they're installed but to have a well built box. Who's the vendor?

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          • #6
            Re: Cab carcase joinery method

            Any vendor with a Thermowood CNC router setup and integrated with eCab software can do this for you.

            From what I am finding out about eCab and CNC shops, the design-only version of the software is free to qualified users, and is hugely rich.

            By rich I mean that the cab construction can be set to whatever the user deems right for him or her. There are no "standards" that lock you in. Blind mortise, full dado, butts with dowels and confirmats, faceframe schemes, virtually all the hardware available, all these things can be set into play as what are called "seeds," that the software will use as defaults for detailing out all the parts.

            Once you go through and set all your parameters, fitting cabs into a kitchen space, or any space, is simply a matter of fitting strings of cab widths, defining types, and dropping them in.

            The software will yield photorealistic renderings for customer presentations, and when it is time to order all the parts, the work file is emailed to the shop and other vendors.

            Attached is a pic of one of the many types of cab joinery in the standard eCab library. As I said, though, the materials and joinery are all detail-spec'd by the user to customize things to your own need.

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            • #7
              Re: Cab carcase joinery method

              This is all really interesting. I just signed up with e-cabinet on Joe Fusco's recommendation. I got a confirmation email like 10 minutes ago that the software was in the mail. Are you in touch with a supplier with a Thermowood router? If so did e-cabinet give you a local contact or did you have the contact first?

              dave
              Last edited by dave_k; 07-10-2007, 04:47 PM.

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              • #8
                Re: Cab carcase joinery method

                Yes, I am working with a supplier with Thermowood gear. Go to the Woodweb cabinetmaking forum, and post a query. Be sure to give a little background, and particularly, your location. You will find someone.

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                • #9
                  Re: Cab carcase joinery method

                  Thanks Bob.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Cab carcase joinery method

                    I went snooping on the web and found "Thermwood Corporation" (http://www.thermwood.com/). (Only two o's.)

                    This is fascinating stuff. The idea of custom cab design in software, ship off a file (or upload maybe), and out come your cabs is fastinating.

                    The cost of CNC machining and software seems like it's getting lower and lower so that even very small shops can afford it. Opens up lots of posibilities.

                    Thanks for posting,

                    Dan.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Cab carcase joinery method

                      Back to the subject at hand. If you substituted #6 x 1-3/4 lo-roots for brads you would have a winner. There is a lot of glue surface in those tenons and they would go together fast. If it's 3/4" material and you pre drill and countersink the screws would suck everything tight. I use them (along with confirmats) a fair amount in PC and MDF with good results.

                      dave

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                      • #12
                        Re: Cab carcase joinery method

                        I have heard of a lot of the shops using butt joints only, and #6 x 2 PB screws, and no glue. But then other cab pros will come along and tout the blind dado, plus glue and either staples or brads, as completely satisfactory.

                        If you want to get absolutely blown away with the capability of it all (I mean the eCab software joined up with CNC), go to the eCab forum site and look at the image gallery.

                        You'll see kitchens that look like the Clive Christian ads in Architectural Digest. You'll see stand-alone armoires that look as if they are ready for auctioning at Sotheby's. You'll see some great pics of both eCab renderings, and installations, from Joe Fusco, a regular contributor here at JLC.

                        The images I like best there are the sequence shots that show a simple first-cut rendering done with the software, then one done with photo-realism, then finally the actual piece or installation.

                        The Woodweb site has (I believe) a much larger group of participants than here at JLC, engaged in serious cabinetmaking for kitchens and baths, with forums that address CNC, design and assembly, and installation. For that reason, it might be best to pursue fastening preferences there.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Cab carcase joinery method

                          i have e-cabinet and frankly it`s kicked my butt...granted i`m a computer moron but after poking around for a couple of days i found the software not very user friendly for an old guy who`s fairly new to computers.
                          as to the use of tennons in casework..that`s one of the most ingenious methods of indexing and joining sheetgoods i`ve seen come off a cnc router! i`ll try to get the hang of the software again if i ever slow down enough to invest the time.
                          i`d say if a fellow is doing plywood boxes the tennon system would be the cats behind, with mdf or particle board construction i`d do some failure testing before placing them on a clients job.
                          tod

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                          • #14
                            Re: Cab carcase joinery method

                            Go to Woodweb and other sites that have discussion forums attended by the pros that do this. They don't give a warm and fuzzy picture of working with plywood as a cabinet box material, particularly when using NC router systems.

                            Needing precision, plywood doesn't fit the bill. It is not flat, has way too much thickness variation, and core voids make for nasty machining and screw-fixing.

                            Melamine's the ticket, at 0.765" +/- 0.005". Melamine on MDF is OK for 6mm backs, but for sides, stretchers, tops, shelves, bottoms, you want melamine on 45 pcf industrial grade PB.

                            Know of melamine failures? I don't. A plumbing failure under the sink is going to pretty much ruin the kinds of veneer-core ply used in cabinetry, just as it will ruin PB with melamine faces. Use a dimple mat under the sink base to protect its floor. One of those mats holds a lot of water.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Cab carcase joinery method

                              Originally posted by Bob Dylan View Post

                              Melamine's the ticket, at 0.765" +/- 0.005". Melamine on MDF is OK for 6mm backs, but for sides, stretchers, tops, shelves, bottoms, you want melamine on 45 pcf industrial grade PB.
                              Just to add a little to what Bob said. VC warps.

                              It take 2x the screws and clamps to wrestle the cases together when you're installing and the cases twist making the doors hard to align. You may get away using it with face frames but not in frameless construction.

                              I just finished spraying a job with satin lacquer. There were some 3/4" AA maple VC gables and kicks. They looked decent after sanding but after they were sprayed you could see every defect in the core telegraphing through to the finish. You could see waves and a depression right across the panels where they joined a cross band. The veneer's too thin to sand them out. You'll never see it on the kicks and all the highly visible panels are PC so it's not a big deal. If it was a gloss finish you would never get away with VC.

                              VC plywood will work if you want a rustic look but if you need to put a fine finish on it VC or MDF are the only way to go. You can get PC in abuse grade and water-resistant, just as durable as VC.

                              I saw an interesting product at the wholesalers the other day. It was 3/4" material with 3 ply veneer core and MDF on both surfaces. I think it was made by Panolam.

                              dave

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