For centuries, the bead detail has been used by craftsmen to decorate fine pieces of furniture. The delicate lines and carefully rounded edge add a subtle elegance to even the most utilitarian cabinets.

A cabinet with a beaded face frame immediately conveys a high level of quality and craftsmanship. Precisely machined joints and accurately fitted inset doors and drawers elevate even the simplest, single door design and distinctly set it apart from common overlay-door cabinets. Architects, Designers and Consumers have rediscovered this style and consequently, demand for beaded face-frame cabinets is on the rise.

The most common approach is the construction of face frames with square profile and to apply separate bead moulding. The major disadvantage is the time required to produce a completed frame. The square profile is ripped, squared and planed, then cut to length and assembled. Then the separate, small bead moulding needs to be ripped, planed and the edge rounded. This moulding is then mitre-cut and fitted one by one into each opening, then glued and often fastened with panel pins. Afterwards, the nail holes are filled and sanded.

Aside from the time consumption, other problems include mismatched grain and colour on stain grade cabinets and mismatched mitre joints due to inconsistent bead moulding. Another big concern is the potential for glue-joint separation between the square stock and the bead moulding.

Even small cracks are especially obvious on painted cabinets and often require on-site touch-up and repair. The problem is amplified by door hinges mounted onto the beaded edge, which add stress exerted onto the glue joint. An unsatisfied customer or a call-back, damages not only the cabinet shops reputation, but also its bottom line!

Clearly, the best way to produce beaded face frames is to start with beaded moulding. All of the above mentioned disadvantages such as hand fitting, colour matching or glue joint

The Hoffmann Beaded Face Frame System offers furniture and cabinet makers of all sizes a fast, precise and efficient way to manufacture beaded face frames, whether it’s one or one hundred frames per job. Starting with beaded moulding, the stiles are notched and the rails are coped on fixed-blade, guillotine style notching machines. For a standard stile-rail connection, this operation takes about 5 seconds with our manual notching machine (the automatic model is faster still!).

A second step takes place on Hoffmann dovetail routing machines equipped with special fixtures for beaded material. Dovetail keyways are routed in all mating parts and the frames are assembled by simply applying some glue and inserting Hoffmann Dovetail Keys. No large clamping tables or bar clamps are required, the frames can be sanded and finished immediately upon assembly.

The notching machines are sold complete with table extensions, fence rails, flip-stops as well as tooling and an instructional video. The 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, compound mitre joints and butt joints. Solid carbide dovetail bits are installed and the machines are delivered ready for operation.

Beaded Face Frame Machines

MORSO machines are manufactured by the Dan-List Company in Denmark. This family owned company has been building quality woodworking machines since 1911 and enjoys a reputation for reliable, high-quality products and outstanding customer support.

Hoffmann Dovetail Routing Machines are made in Germany and available as manual and pneumatic bench top models or as freestanding production machines. The pictured models are our standard models – we also offer many different design variations to suit specific production requirements.

Hoffmann MU3D Dovetail Machine

Please have a look at our short video which demonstrates exactly what we have described.