They’ve been popular since the 70’s but can you believe that in 2016, they’re still in vogue?
If you’re interested in investing in a new Formica kitchen or simply having your kitchen re-faced, you’ve come to the right place. Tom Jonin, senior executive and member of Creative Concepts of NJ LLC, previously known through Jonin Woodshop has been involved in the manufacturing and installation of Formica kitchen cabinets since the mid 1970’s.
Every custom cabinet shop builds their cabinets a little bit differently. Some use the standard “32mm System” developed in Europe after WWII as a way to conserve and use less materials and some have their own proprietary brand where their design is based off of the 32mm System—which is what ours is. When it comes down to it, cabinets are just fancy boxes, however they’re not all made the same.
I mentioned the term “frameless” a little earlier. This is completely different from a face-frame cabinet. If you look at the photographs below, you will see the inherent differences.
Face-frame cabinets are a traditional American style fabrication method and are not full access. They do however lend themselves to having inset doors which render an entirely different look than frameless cabinets do.
Frameless cabinets are commonly referred to as “European style”, are of contemporary design, offer clean geometric lines and are “full access” cabinets, where you can fully utilize the space inside of them.
This was a cabinet we fabricated for a general contractor who had a client in Lambertville, NJ a few years ago.
This is a face-frame vanity, with a satin white lacquer finish, inset doors and a Meganite counter top with an under mount sink. (Meganite is a solid surface similar to DuPont Corian.)
This cabinet came complete with a medicine chest built in the same exact style and finish as the vanity.
The “face frame” of the cabinet is what keeps the rest of the cabinet square. This is important for structural reasons, installation and more importantly, for keeping the doors even and aligned properly.
This cabinet here is a good example of a frameless “Formica” cabinet. The front edges of the cabinet are finished with Formica and the drawers (as well as the doors, if there are any) commonly lay over top of the front of the cabinet, typically referred to as the cabinet “face”.
The frameless cabinet relies on its back for “squareness” and structural integrity as opposed to a face frame.
Fun fact: Did you know that the word “Formica” is actually a brand name and most people refer to plastic laminate as “Formica”? It’s a misnomer! This is akin to folks referring to a facial tissue as a “Kleenex”.
It’s just one of those things that have gone overlooked and uncorrected and I think cabinetmakers have just accepted that as the common term so there’s understanding between them and their clients. I’m sure Formica laminate company has made plenty of money because of the error!
Just an FYI, you’re not wrong if you call up a custom shop asking about Formica cabinets. If you do so, they will know what you’re talking about! So if you end up deciding to call us, it’s perfectly OK to say you want Formica kitchen cabinets or a Formica bookcase, whatever it may be.
Here’s some photos of a custom Formica kitchen Tom did back in the late 80’s in the days of Jonin Woodshop: