Rebuilding Ash cabinet doors

pbrisjarMarch 14, 2008

We are in the process of remodeling our kitchen. As part of that, we stripped off two layers of really dark stain from the cabinets. The problem is that the doors are made of a solid ash frame with layers of really thin ash plywood front and back (hollow core construction). Because Hubby had to sand so much to get the stain off, there are now bare spots in the plywood area that just look bad. So, we need to rebuild the doors (don't have the budget for new ones).

The simplest option would be to chisel off the fronts, get new ash plywood and glue it back on. I'd rather not do this for multiple reasons.

What we're trying to come up with is a way to "build up" the center to create a door that we'll both like. What we're thinking is to do this:

strip off the front plywood (it's just glued on)

sand and rout the frame

insert regular plywood to build up the center

insert 1/4 or 1/8" ash plywood on top of the regular plywood

brad nails (?) to hold the panels in

find a thinnish trim piece to place inside the ash frame

We do have a couple of sacrificial doors to play with.

Is this doable?

Any other options?

Good source for ash?

You can kind of see the current construction here:

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The photo doesn't really make the construction of the existing doors clear at all. It doesn't look like it's hollow core, it looks like a piece of plywood with a molding tacked around the outside.

I may not be understanding your proposed course of action correctly, but it doesn't sound very workable. Even if these doors are hollow-core, you shouldn't use the term "just" before "glued on." Glue can make things very difficult to disassemble. The process of cutting new plywood to fit tightly inside existing frames would also be harder than you imagine. I suspect that once you started down this road, you'd quickly regret it.

If you don't want to buy new doors, paint and an applied molding might help you achieve a look you can live with.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 5:13PM
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Thanks for the cautions.

We dissected one of these doors the other night. It's definitely hollow core - solid ash frame sandwiched between two pieces of plywood with some cardboard in the middle. We actually took it in to a local store and the guy there identified it as a hollow core door. I can get a pic of the dissected door when I get home.

I was able to take off about half of the plywood in a matter of about 15 minutes with just a flathead screwdriver (to start) and a chisel. So I'm not concerned about that part at all.

Our thinking is that with an inner trim piece, the plywood won't have to fit exactly perfectly.

Painting is not an option, nor is buying new doors.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 5:21PM
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Here's some pics of the dissected door:

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 2:17PM
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