In this day and age, Russian spies have been identified, living amongst us, hacking at will, stealing our most precious secrets. Like we don’t have enough to worry about! But, apparently it’s true, and to be sure, nothing is safe. They even could have peeked into your kitchen, pretending to be friends, or even sneaking through your iPhone, discretely replicating your recipes or copying the layout of your cupboards. Even worse, they could have been making notes on the construction of your cabinetry to send to China, so that they can produce them cheaper, thus undermining our fragile economy.
While it’s true that 35 undesirables have recently been given 72 hours to leave town and go back to Russia, more than likely there are others still lurking about. And, just by examining your cabinets a trained spy could discern a great deal about them. So it pays for you to be aware of the differences, and be wary of people looking too closely at them. Lipped, inset, full-overlay, standard overly, framed, frameless, European, custom, semi-custom, stock, etc., etc. The wise kitchen cabinet owner/buyer/spy should understand the differences, because without knowing the basics they may not end up with the dream kitchen they hoped for.
Cabinet construction/design can be broken down into four distinct groups: CABINET TYPE, CATEGORIES, CABINET STYLES, and DOOR STYLES. (I’m not referring to cabinet door designs in this article, [that information is classified], only to the different types of construction available).
The CABINET TYPE includes framed and frameless cabinets. If you’ve helped your kids do basic geometry lately, you’ll recall that a box generally has 6 sides. A frameless cabinet (also known as a European cabinet) only has 5 sides; it does not have a front to the cabinet box. Consisting of a top and bottom, two side pieces and the back, the front of the cabinet is made up only of the edges of the top, bottom and two side pieces, (usually 5/8″ or 3/4″ thick). The door for this type of cabinet must cover the edges of the sides, top and bottom. A framed cabinet includes the sixth side to its box, which makes up the front of the cabinet. The opening for the framed cabinet is cut out of the sixth side, (the front), creating the “frame”.
Both of these types of cabinets are available in custom, semi-custom, and stock CATEGORIES. Custom cabinets are built to the exact specifications indicated by your kitchen designer. Semi-custom cabinets are also built to order but from the manufacturer’s specifications. They can be modified to a certain extent, for an additional charge. Stock cabinets are mass-produced to the manufacturer’s specs, with little or no modifications available, and are the most economical.
CABINET STYLES refer only to framed cabinets and indicate how much the door covers the front of the cabinet. (Remember, in a frameless cabinet the door must cover the whole front of the cabinet box). Framed cabinets are available in full-overlay, and standard overlay, where a portion of the frame is exposed.
Standard Overlay doors come in two DOOR STYLES. The standard style sits on the top of the frame and is also referred to as an onlay door. The other variation is the “lip” door, where the center of the door protrudes into the frame. Usually lipped doors are only available in custom lines because they are more difficult to build and therefore more expensive.
Of course, there is always the exception to the rule, and in this case it’s the inset door, which is usually only available with full custom cabinets. This type of door fits completely inside the face frame, making the door fit flush with the frame. Although, the most expensive option available, many feel that it is, by far, the most exquisite look. If you choose an inset door it is imperative that the cabinets be hung by a professional because if it is not installed perfectly true and level, the doors will bind on the frame.
Now that you possess the basic understanding of modern cabinet construction, I strongly advise that you delete all references to this article that may have been saved in your computer history. This will help keep it out of the hands of insidious spies who may be watching you at this very moment.
* “The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming“, (click here) a very funny 1966 American comedy film directed by Norman Jewison.