I share a lot of plans that involve building cabinet doors and don’t want to have to draw out this detail every single time so here’s a detailed tutorial showing you How to Build Cabinet Doors by cutting a dado into your door material that will accept a 1/4″ panel. You can use any 1/4″ material you want for the panel. I often use beadboard or MDF.
How to Build Cabinet Doors
-If you cut your dado 1/2″ deep it’s easy to figure out the math for your doors, just add 1″ to the width and length of the panel. 1/2″ of the panel will slide into the dado on all sides.
- Mark the back of each board so your dado lines up when you assemble your doors.
- Total cut depth will be 1/2″. If using a table saw you can make it in one pass with a 1/4″ dado blade. If using a router, you’ll need to make it in several passes.
- Start and stop the dado cuts 2″ from the end of each board so you won’t see them from the door edges. This is easiest to perform safely on a router table but can be accomplished on a table saw. I put down some painters tape to mark where to start and end my cut. Be exceedingly deliberate and careful when making these cuts!
- Secure three sides of the door. You can attach both stiles to one rail or both rails to one stile (as I did in this picture).
- There are lots of different options for joining the door parts: loose tenons, biscuits, dowels or pocket hole screws if you don’t mind the extra work of plugging them. I have the Beadlock Pro system – see this tutorial for that.
- Slide the panel in and dry fit the last piece.
- Attach the last door piece and you’re done.
Doors can be tricky. Sometimes they twist and don’t lay flat when attached to the cabinet. Wood has a mind of it’s own and there’s always the possibility of it warping, expanding, contracting, splitting… There’s not much you can do if the wood you purchased decides to have a dance party but here are a few things you can control.
- Assemble doors on a flat surface
- Don’t apply too much clamping pressure. Apply just enough pressure make sure both sides are making contact. Do not make the wood bow–that’s a sure sign of too much pressure.
Once you build, sand and finish your door, you just need to select your hinges and install everything and that’s a whole party of it’s own! Good luck, be safe and be awesome!
You might also like:
- This tutorial on building drawer fronts. Built similarly to building cabinet doors but the panel is inserted into rabbets so the panel is flush with the drawer.
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