Cabinet doors advice

badgergrrlMay 25, 2011

Let me start by saying: I have some woodworking experience, but am definitely on the 'beginner' spectrum, and I appreciate all that I am learning here.

I'm going to make some new doors for existing kitchen cabinets, then plan to make a new cabinet for one wall that has a hideous HD special that doesn't fit in the space or match anything.

The cabinets are face framed, from the late-40s, early-50s with slab, 3/8" inset doors. I want flush, full inset shaker doors, which will match the style of the house better (a&c bungalow). Everything has been, and will be, painted white (well, off white, since they didn't have blinding white paints in the 20s ;) ). I do anticipate having to do some selective sanding, as one or two are the openings aren't exactly square, but, all in all, they are remarkably close. Thankfully, there are only a few doors, as I have converted some of the uppers to open shelves and it's a very small kitchen.

I have a couple of options, and would like some advice on what would be the best choice. My first option would be to use 1/2" plywood (baltic birch or another type of good quality), then cut faux rails and stiles out of 1/4" plywood, attach, fill the holes and paint.

Second option, make actual panel doors, using a table saw to make tenon and groove rail/stiles out of solid wood and 1/4" plywood panel. Any pros/cons for either method? Any other methods that might work better?


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The plywood doors with applied faux rails are likely to look good from the front, but it will difficult to get the edges looking good (visible when doors are open) and impossible to keep them looking good over time.

It's tricky to do all the joinery for real panel doors on a tablesaw, but it can be done with a decent saw. If you only have $100 cheapo saw, forget it. If you have a router, you can get a matched set of bits that will do the joinery & grooving for you.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 9:25PM
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don't use plywood for paint grade. The "footballs" on the veneer show through. MDF or smooth hardboard masonite are for paint. Poplar is the best choice for a paint grade wood. I think flat panel shaker style doors are a perfect project for a beginner who has not made doors yet. All you need is a quality tablesaw, or a cheap tablesaw and a router. You can putty up your mistakes and paint right over them.

Poplar and 1/4" smooth hardboard can make a decent paint grade floating panel shaker style door.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 12:06AM
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