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Panel design is the heart of 32mm cabinetmaking. Panels - with their system and construction holes - determine the size of the cabinet, how it gets assembled and where/how everything - drawer slides, doors, feet, etc. - gets attached. Panel design has two primary considerations, construction method and cabinet style. When working with the 32mm system, there are two types of cabinet construction and three basic cabinet styles.

The two basic types of cabinet construction are, separate boxes screwed together to make a run of cabinets and a run of cabinets built as a single box utilizing shared panels. The most common way to build frameless cabinets is to build separate boxes. While building a run of boxes as a single cabinet is typically associated with face-frame cabinets, it is also a very efficient way to make frameless cabinets.

The three basic cabinet styles are, inset and full or half overlay. While there are numerous ways to achieve a particular look, construction method and cabinet style are, for the most part, inseparable. Inset and half-overlay cabinets are typically built using shared panels and full-overlay cabinets are typically built as separate boxes.

Specific panel designs are in the Styles category. This category is for general panel topics. Current topics are Balanced, End and Shared panels.

Balanced Panels

The 32mm system default is balanced start holes, the first holes of the system rows are an equal distance from the top and bottom of the panels. Because the system doesn't care what happens above or below the top and bottom system holes / door and drawer faces, balanced start holes are not a requirement. The only purpose of unbalanced start holes is to increase/decrease the top/bottom cabinet reveals. The most common applications are increased countertop reveal and decreased (0mm/flush) bottom reveal.

In most applications the 32mm system does not care what happens behind the back system row. While some find balanced system rows more efficient, having system rows an equal distance (typ 37mm) from the front and back of the panels is not a requirement. If the machinery/methods are available, matching the rear system row to the rear drawer slide hole (multiple of 32mm) may be the most efficient route.

A fully balanced panel has balanced start holes and system rows. The following article was written a long time ago and touches on countertop considerations, fully balanced integral toe kick panels and more... more
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