A cabinet with a beaded face frame immediately conveys a high level of quality and craftsmanship and distinctly sets it apart from other utilitarian overlay-door cabinets.

The most common way to manufacture beaded face frames, is to use square profiles and to apply the bead profile separately. The major disadvantage to this system is the time required to produce a complete frame.

Apart from time consumption, mismatched grain and mitre joints, due to inconsistent bead profiles can be a concern. Any of these faults are only highlighted by being painted. A dissatisfied customer or a call-out, will damage not only the cabinetmakers reputation but also the bottom line.

Clearly, the most efficient way to produce beaded face frames is to start with pre-beaded profiles.  All of the above-mentioned disadvantages are then eliminated from the start. Several systems have been devised, but their set-up and calibration are a time-consuming process and their cost (over €18K plus tooling) places them out of the reach of most bespoke cabinetmakers.

Hoffmann’s solution

The Hoffmann Beaded Face Frame System offers cabinetmakers of all sizes a fast, precise and efficient method to manufacture beaded face frames, whether it is in single or series production. Starting with pre-beaded profiles, stiles are notched in pairs and the rails are coped on a fixed blade, Morso guillotine style notching machine.

These NF series machines are manufactured for Hoffmann by Dan-List (Morso) in Denmark. They cut all kinds of wood, plastic, MDF and plywood and leave the cut surface of the profile perfectly smooth and accurate, requiring no further preparation before joining.

For a standard, stile to rail connection, this operation takes about five seconds with a manual, foot-operated notching machine – and the automatic model is even faster.

The second step takes place on the Hoffmann MU-3 dovetail routing machine equipped with special fixtures for beaded and notched material. Dovetail keyways are routed into all mating parts and the frames are assembled by applying some glue and inserting Hoffmann Dovetail Keys.

These keys draw the parts together to form a tight, secure and permanent joint. No large clamping tables or bar clamps are required and the frames can be finished immediately upon assembly.

All dovetail routing machines are set-up with a complete fixture set to process stiles and rails, but can also be used to process regular mitre joints and butt joints. They are also available in Digital and Pneumatic models which increase accuracy and speed.

Below is a brief overview of the Hoffmann MU-3 line-up:

  • MU-3 Entry Level version for the quick and precise routing of dovetail slots.
  • MU-3 D Digital version, with electronic two-axis display for the adjustable routing depth as well as the positioning of the centre fence for the routed slot location. It is ideal for high precision work.
  • MU-3 P Pneumatic version for series production and high throughput. Pneumatic work piece clamping and controlled router feed. The MU-3 P is operated by foot-pedal control.
  • MU-3 PD Pneumatic/Digital version – the top machine with the highest operating comfort for a wide range of requirements. Functional features are similar to MU-3 P with a digital two-axis display for the adjustable routing depth as well as the positioning of the centre fence for the routed slot location.

The MU-3 and the MU-3 D have a work piece thickness capacity of up to 140mm – in the versions MU-3 P and MU-3 PD this increases to 170mm. Infinitely adjustable routing depths up to 95mm and protection against break-through of the finished surface.

Also new is the two-function hand lever for even faster machine cycles when routing smaller work pieces. The scale tapes in the table and now also in the rear fences assist the quick and precise positioning of the work pieces.

All versions of the new MU-3 routing machine are equipped with a motor carriage which has vernier adjustment for the fine setting of the router cutter and hence the tension of the joint.

All of the company’s machines, and the full range of products and methods, are detailed on the Hoffmann website.

01524 841500