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Need face frame cabinets ... How... Where....
Forum Posts: 1939
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January 26, 2015 - 4:59 pm
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Hi everyone,

Mark is right making a framed double back is ok if you don’t need a door or drawer.

Otherwise you have to either separate volumes off with nil panels and use double backs to make the frame or add “edging” onto the sides using “inner tooling” or “assembled sides”.

In both cases the thickness of the edging or the separate volumes will reduce the inner volume for calculating the shelves and uprights so you have to extend them to meet the outer panels.

All the best,


mark nichols

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January 26, 2015 - 1:05 am
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Hi Kurt

From what I see, you have placed a double back at ‘0’ from front.

Made an assembled panel (like a door) and made the centre panel a nil panel.

That works perfect, however, even though the centre panel is ‘nil’ polyboard will not allow you to pass a door or drawer through a panel, even if it is ‘nil’.

You will need another way.


January 24, 2015 - 9:56 pm
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As a free member, I don’t have access to the extended design videos describing framed cabinets or face frames.  However, from the discussions and some experimentation, I see two options:

  • What Ness demonstrated here in ff-outside-case.pb-cab
    • edit the assembly for the top, bottom, left and right panels
    • edit the material for the cross-bar or upright that joins to the face
    • change it from nil to a material with the desired dimensions
  • What Mark demonstrated in a template in this post
    • create a double-back with distance from front = 0″ (all the way to the front)
    • change the links for the double-back to Overpassing
    • nil-out the center section of the double-back panel

The face frame I want on my cabinet should be flush with the outer edge and overlap to the inside, which is the opposite direction of the first solution.  Here are the specific steps I used for the second solution:

Libraries > Bar Materials > New

  • Reference: my face frame
  • Width: 1.625″  (panel thickness + thickness of my drawer slide)
  • Height:  0.75″  (panel thickness)
  • OK

Context menu for cabinet volume (right-click) > Add Double Backs…

Distance from front: 0″


Edit Structure > Assembly

Central Panel: Material: <Nil Panel>

Upper Cross-Bar: Material: my face frame

Uprights and other Cross-Bars: Material: my face frame



  • Top: Priority = Overpassing
  • Bottom: Priority = Overpassing
  • Left Side: Priority = Overpassing
  • Right Side: Priority = Overpassing

It looks the way I want, but there’s a catch:  you can add shelves to the volume but cannot add drawers.  My intention was to shrink the drawers to make room for the slides and face frame.  But I can’t even get to that point.

I would appreciate feedback on whether or not this is acceptable as a face frame plus any guidance past my current roadblock.


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November 7, 2014 - 3:08 pm
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Hello everyone,

From Nicks photo these alcove units should be easy to set up using the method of either framing the side panels or simulating an edging.

These cabinets are well suited because the cabinet can be built flush with the inside of the frame so all the shelves can be inserted without having to extend them past the frames to meet the sides.

I don’t see the need to build a full face frame and Polyboard will work well for this type of project.

Here’s a rough model of how I would set them up:ff-outside-case-exploded.jpgImage Enlarger

ff-outside-case.jpgImage Enlarger

I would avoid if possible doing separate cabinets for the face frames as the project is not longer parametric.

 Polyboard can’t show the cornice  moulding but you can get an approximation by making a cabinet with sloping sides like this:

corniche.jpgImage Enlarger

Hope this is helpful.


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November 7, 2014 - 1:06 pm
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Hi Vman,

Thanks for posting. Here’s a link to the same photo but a little bigger for everybody.

EDIT: broken link now deleted

Ness will get back to you shortly to discuss.

All the best,


November 7, 2014 - 12:43 pm
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Thanks Stefan, it was informative.

Face frames still seem a little complicated TBH, it feels as though it really needs to be an integral part of the software rather than a workaround. My initial project is a simple doored base unit with a shelving unit on top, ie something like:

imageImage Enlarger

(the left hand unit, not the TV unit)

As I only want doors (no drawers) I think its just simpler if I think of the face frame as a separate fascia assembly with doors and therefore a separate project?

I would typically use face-frames but looking that picture, it looks to me as though that doesn’t have frames just mouldings. Is it my eyes or is that what you see?



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November 1, 2014 - 8:26 am
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Hi Terry,

Happy you liked the new method .

If you use it tell how it goes for the build.

I think it should work smoother than using virtual volumes and double backs but not sure.

Have a good week end.


October 31, 2014 - 7:40 pm
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Great Video Ness

That will come in useful for a small project I’ve got lined up. 





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October 31, 2014 - 7:26 pm
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Hello Everyone,

I have been thinking about face frames and the best work around .

I don’t think there’s and ideal solution, but as I’ve had a lot of requests lately about this subject so here’s another little trick that seems to works ok :

Click this link to view the video Face Frames using Assembled Panels

I have to stress though that I haven’t used this method for manufacturing so if someone gives it a try on a real project I’ll be happy to hear how it works out in real life. 

I think the the best work around will depend on the particular cabinet your building. Face frames are not difficult to set up using these workarounds with the big advantage always being that once set up they can me used over and over parametrically.

If used with a manufacturing method that extends the inner components up to the casements automatically the whole process become very manageable for general design.

I haven’t looked into the details of hardware management though, so this might create some problems. 

All the best,


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September 5, 2014 - 6:43 pm
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Hello everyone,

I just like to add a little comment on this thread to clarify things about face frames in Poly board.
I made most of my and furniture using face frames that have even been biscuit jointed or pocket jointed onto cabinets made in sheet material.
Most of the joinery that I have built has been designed to look solid wood old-fashioned traditional joinery, even though we were using sheet material for the boxes and the insides.
This meant usually that we had to build a frame with varying dimensions and shapes that had to cover the edge of the sheet material.
Now, although PolyBoard can simulate a frame over a box, when this box starts getting very complicated, it becomes more and more difficult to get a coherent framing around the project.
In general, when we need to build complex framed cabinets. We will have to build two cabinets, one for the box and one for the frame and facade components.
This is not a very simple and straightforward way of going about building these framed cabinets because you cannot at once, change the sizes of both separate cabinets.
It’s possible to do it, but depending on the project. It is certainly not as easy as building the cabinet simply out sheet material.
That’s why if John could send me a photo or more details of the project I could look more closely as to the best way of doing it using PolyBoard.
I know that some software can probably build framed cabinets easier than PolyBoard, and we are thinking of adding a framed cabinets function in later versions of PolyBoard, but this is a big job and will certainly take a lot of time to implement, so it’s not for tomorrow.
I hope this is made is a bit clearer as to the limits of PolyBoard for this type of work, it’s not impossible, but maybe not the most adapted tool you can find market today.
So John, if you can send me some more details of your project. I’d really love to see what would be the best method to do it in PolyBoard  and you can get back to me after trying and tell me if you think that this would be useful.

All the best,

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