Even the highest quality materials cannot guarantee a quality cabinet if the workmanship, used to assemble the cabinet, is not up to standards.
As the groundwork for all woodworking, casework is much more than simply building a cabinet with six sides. Complex case designs can incorporate almost every joint you know how and may include curves or involve great spans. But basic casework tackles some essential techniques, such as learning the art of producing flat and square surfaces - and keeping them that way. And fitting parts. Yes – there’s an endless fitting of parts in case construction. It’s not for the weak of heart. But constructing all those little pieces into a recognizable whole as box or a cabinet is good experience.
Cabinets come in never ending array of styles and flavors to suit everyone’s needs and tastes. But the basic box can be broken down into relatively few distinct styles or types. Once the flavor of the casework is decided, there are still many options for deciding how best to construct it.
Historically, fine European cabinetmakers always appreciated the strength and accuracy of mortise and tenon joint. In today’s world of tight budgets and even tighter schedules, however the idea of fitting two pieces of wood into a interlocking joint seems too slow, so others settle for less. For example, there’s nothing wrong with a glued-and-nailed butt joint. Done in a thoughtful and careful manner, nailed joint can last generations; it’s a quick way of putting together a cabinet. Incorporating mortise and tenon joinery in cabinet casework is on the other side of the coin, requiring lots of careful planning and much toil to the bench. The point is that a you can put as much time and energy as you wish into cutting simple – or not so simple- joints. It’s often a matter of what fits best with your own personal sense of style, combined with capabilities of your shop and skills.
At MB Woodworks, there’s no need to compromise quality for speed. Using the “Tongue and Groove Cabinetmaking System” I combine the best of old worlds joinery with the new world of tooling. The result is a system that is fast and easy, yet accurate and strong. The tongue and groove provides accuracy and strength where it is crucial, and pocket hole speed and ease where it is practical.
The tongue and groove joint is used in virtually every step at MB Woodworks cabinet making technique. Grooves are routed in the backs of frame elements, tongues are routed on ends, floors and dividers. Then the pocket hole joinery takes over, producing strong, attractive face frame joints. Besides making great face frame joints, it provides a fast, accurate means of attaching bottoms, sides and dividers to the face frame. Every pocket hole is completely concealed.
The result of these innovative new ideas is a beautiful, solidly-built cabinet. Better still, it is a method that is fast, efficient, and easy to repeat, whether I am building a single cabinet or an entire kitchen.