Frameless construction in cabinetmaking refers to the construction of cabinets using flat panels of engineered wood — usually particle board, plywood or medium-density fibreboard — rather than the traditional frame and panel construction.
A common construction method for frameless cabinets originated in Europe after World War II and is known as the 32 mm Method or 32 mm System. This nomenclature is derived from the 32-millimetre spacing between the system holes used for construction and installation of hardware typically used for doors, drawers and shelves. In North America it is also often referred to as "European Cabinetry" popular due to its simplicity of construction, clean lines and low cost.
With frameless cabinets, thicker sides (boxes) keep the cabinet much more stable and avoids the use of a front frame, such as found in face-frame cabinets. By eliminating the front frame, you can have more room to get large objects inside with more usable space. Citation; Frameless (full-access) cabinets allow for better access and add to the height and width of doors and drawer openings within the same footprint of a comparable framed cabinet. In addition to thicker sides, the frameless cabinet also relies on a thicker back that is typically dadoed into the sides to give the box added strength and adds protection from pests and rodents. It is important to note that most of the cost of cabinets is determined by the type of doors, hinges, drawers, and slides that are used. When the added costs of specialized machinery to manufacture frameless cabinets is compared to the costs of added wood for a face frame, it can be a "wash" on the costs.
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