How To Make Cabinet Doors Workshop Projects

The next phase of my big shop corner remodel is to make and install the doors on the upper cabinets. The cabinet door style is the timelessly simple frame and panel with clean lines:

While I could have saved time and money and left the cabinets open, the doors will keep the dust out and make them look more tidy overall. And I believe if you surround yourself with nice looking well made things, it’ll encourage you to do better work.

The shelves are made from 3/4″ plywood and I put those in with shelf clips. I settled on three per cabinets and can always adjust the number and spacing when I fill the cabinets:

I opted for a lower grade of plywood for the shelves and didn’t treat the edge in any way. For a kitchen I’d use the same good quality plywood I used on the body of the cabinet and apply edge banding to dress them up.

Once again I’m using red oak for the frame parts of the doors. These are simple doors and the first step is to cut a 1/4″ groove in the stiles and rails:

I did that in two passes on the table saw with a single blade. I’d probably change that for a dado blade if I had to make more than four of these.

The rails need a tenon on each end to fit into that groove. I carefully cut those to length and made a sample to check the size before making the cuts on the parts:

Again, I’m just using a single blade and my mini table saw sled to do this.

I did a dry fit on one of the frames to measure the size of the panel needed and then cut those from 1/2″ oak veneer plywood. The panel needs a rabbet on all four edges to fit into that groove in the frame parts:

1/4″ thick plywood could be used instead, but I prefer the solid feel you get from a thicker panel.


A dry assembly to check the fit on the panel confirms the size and I can cut the rest:

These are designed so that the panel is set in from the face of the frame on the back as well as the front, and the edge of the panel on the back is a tight fit to the frame parts. There shouldn’t be any gaps.

I used polyurethane constitution adhesive to assemble the doors. One of the bigger benefits of this type of cabinet door construction is that the plywood panel can be glued in solidly. This adds a lot of strength and durability:

I left the glue to set overnight and did the rough sanding in the corners before hanging the doors on the upper cabinets. I also trimmed a very small amount off the ends of the doors to make those perfectly flush and square:

It’s nice to see how flat these lay when stacked up. The worst possible outcome when making doors like this is that they will be twisted.

The doors were made slightly oversize and I like to get them installed before doing the final sanding. That way I have something to trim off if the doors are a bit too wide. As it turned out, these were very nearly perfect:

All four hung and adjusted:

And with the final sanding done and two coats of water based polyurethane:

I need to make handles and install those, and they will match the ones I put on the drawers in the base cabinet.