Face Frame Cabinets
Frameless or European Style

What is the Difference Between Face Frame and Frameless Cabinets?

How things are done series

Face frame is the narrow border that runs around the face of an old style cabinet and between the drawer and the door.  The idea is that it adds some stability to the cabinet, increases the racking resistance (sideways force).

The problem is that the old style face frame cabinets are very labor intensive and the cost and other drawbacks do not make up for what little racking resistance is added.  After all, once cabinets are installed most are fastened to a wall and most are trapped between walls, racking resistance is hardly needed.  But it was how cabinets were built back in the day.

Then World War II happened and not only were most of the cabinetmakers dead or disabled, most of the other skilled workers were gone too. And there were millions of homes in bombed out cities needing cabinets and needing them quickly.  So frameless cabinets were invented. You can use more technology to build frameless cabinets because of the system holes, a series of holes 32 mm apart, are used to hang drawer slides, hinges, and shelf pins.  Parts can be made with precision and they will fit without being adjusted or fitted by hand.

Learn more Here at this link

Frameless or Euro Style has Benefits

  • Easier to produce with the right equipment
  • around 20% additional accessible storage
  • easier to clean, hardware more solidly attached
  • Must be accurate due to tight tolerances needed


Face frame cabinets usually have drawer slides hung on plastic brackets or flimsy wood U shaped dividers, frameless cabinet slides are solidly attached to the side of the cabinet, no bending which causes drawers to drop out of track.

The only downside is the precision needed on frameless because of the super tight reveals or distances between the doors and drawers.  Face frame doors and drawers, get them within a quarter inch and no one will see the differences because of the wide spaces between the doors and drawers.

We started doing frameless or Euro style cabinets in order to slash the labor costs on our work.  Because of that we didn’t have to raise prices for about ten years.  And it is easier to train workers for Euro style than the older face frame cabinets.


Getting an Estimate

Drawings can be very simple and crude

 The crude drawing above was done in a few minutes.  A 120″ wall and a 96″ wall in an L configuration.  The ceiling height is marked down, and there are rough elevations showing how the cabinet boxes are set.  The window is located from the  right side but it really doesn’t matter which side is used to measure from.  The drawing does show open space on each end of the L shaped kitchen,, that is important, or if there is a wall there we need to know that the set of cabinets has to  fit in a confined area.


Not a lot is needed for an estimate

Measurements?  Get close, we will double check anyway.

The main points are to show how the walls are arranged, measurements locating windows and doors or other things that need to be considered, ceiling height, and a basic idea on how you want the cabinets arranged.

No need to spend a lot of time, a pencil sketch will do fine.  There are room planners online and kitchen planning, most are free and easy to use. 

Some things are assumed like placing the sink under a window or in the middle of a peninsula if there is no window.  We usually don’t move sinks or stoves very far to avoid costly wiring and plumbing changes but they can usually be moved  ten to twelve inches if needed.  

Appliance sizes are needed as well as what kind of sink will be used so the sink cabinet is large enough.  Links to appliances help but the exact specifications can be found later. A few notes describing anything special helps and sending pictures of other kitchens helps as long as you identify exactly what you like about the picture.   The kind of cabinets matters, if you see something off our website right click on the picture and “save as” and send it to us. We will call  if there are any questions.

More info on quotes!


I already started building your kitchen cabinets you know….

How things are done series

The Carpenter Shop stocks common cabinet components for building cabinets in both raw MDF and melamine MDF.

We also have melamine MDF stock sizes of upper and lower cabinet that are ready for assembly, over 750 linear feet of cabinets with either stock slab doors and drawer fronts or we can make raised panel or five part doors in just a few days.

Who carries inventory in these Just in Time manufacturing days? The businesses that understand that customers have a choice and go elsewhere if you keep them waiting too long. For that reason, and to keep our costs as low as possible our overseas shop makes common kitchen and bathroom cabinet parts for us by the container load and once or twice a year we get in a container load to re stock our inventory.

Learn more Here at this link

Common Components Stocked

  • Parts like cabinet ends are nearly all the same
  • Working on parts when the shop is slow helps…
  • Construction time cut by about a week
  • Using cheaper labor allows lower  prices


We won’t keep you waiting for that new kitchen nor will we have your old kitchen torn up for months.

Call us at 405-942-2644 or email rough drawings of the walls showing locations of the things like doors and windows, pictures are nice as long as you tell us what you like about each picture.


Looking forward to finally finishing your kitchen.
Al Gerhart al@thecarpentershop.net