01 | 17 | 2013The beauty of inset doors
Remodeling your kitchen? Have you put some thought into the type of door you would like?
There are several ways to have your cabinet doors mounted to the cabinet and each choice will have a dramatic effect on the look of your new kitchen.
First up, there’s the partial overlay. In this style the door sits against the face frame of the cabinet allowing spaces between the doors and drawer fronts so that the frame of the cabinet is visible. In recent years this style has fallen out of favor.
Next we have the full overlay door. This style is similar to the partial overlay because the doors and drawer fronts sit against the face of the cabinets. The key difference is that the doors and drawer fronts extend to cover most of the face frame while leaving just enough space to allow the doors and drawers to open properly. This creates a look similar to a frameless, or european style cabinet where there is no hardwood face frame.
The style I want to discuss today is the inset door, as seen in the picture. Back in the day before we had all these mass produced cabinets, traditional woodworkers would make cabinets with inset doors and drawers. As you can see in the picture, the drawer fronts are made to fit within the face frame, not against it. The photo you see is a “beaded inset”. This technique routers a small bead on the face frame around the perimeter of the door and drawer openings. There are also “flush inset” and 3/8 inset door styles.
Flush inset doors are the same as beaded where the door fits within the frame, but they omit the bead detail. 3/8 inset doors have a rabbet around the perimeter of the door so that it will partially fit within the frame while still sitting against the face frame.
Why did the inset style disappear? With the giant push of production line cabinets it became almost impossible for the manufacturers to produce cabinets with the tolerances required for an inset door to work properly. Because the door is within the frame it didn’t take much of an error to make a door or drawer stick. So these national companies went the “overlay” route, where close tolerances were not needed thus they could produce cabinets faster and at a lower cost.
Being from New England and seeing the fine craftmanship in the old homes here I have a great appreciation for the inset style. The detail and attention required to produce a fine cabinet cannot be achieved by all. I’m very happy to see the resurgence of inset cabinetry in our area and I am proud to offer these cabinets to our clients.
If you want your kitchen to stand out from your neighbors consider going with a quality inset cabinet!