Making Cabinet Doors – Again Workshop Projects

Making the big cabinet doors is the final phase of my remodeling project for the front of my shop. I need three and they are built in a very similar way to the other cabinet doors with a solid hardwood frame and plywood panel. The only real difference with these is that I want the plywood panel to be completely flush on the back of the door. This is important for the lower door, which swings down to create a work surface when open.

In a bit of a departure from my usual build video, this one is longer and goes into a lot more detail than normal. Since I’ve already made faster paced videos on making these types of doors, I thought it would be interesting to slow it down a bit and cover more, especially on how to size the doors:

Like the other before, the stiles and rails for the frame of the doors are made from red oak. I carefully measured the cabinet and then determined how long each part had to be, then cut the stock to length on the miter saw:

As shown in the video, I made a mistake that I caught just in time before making the cuts. The rails need to be 1″ longer for the tenons that will fit into the grooves in the stiles. A way to fix that if I did make the cuts would be to make loose tenons and cut a groove into the ends of each of the rails that matches the groove in the stiles.
Indeed, it can save quite a lot of messing around to do that anyway, since it’s much easier to cut the groove than it is to form the tenon on the ends of the rails. Next time!

Speaking of grooves, here are all of the stiles and rails with that 1/4″ x 1/2″ dado:

The groove is off centre on the stock to place the plywood panel flush with the back. I took the time to cut an accurate sample to dial this in before making the cuts on the parts.

A dry assembly of the two door sizes to measure the panels:

It can be calculated, but I prefer to measure it directly. It also gives me the chance to double check the size of the door. If it’s the wrong size, I’ll be able to fix it before cutting the panel and compounding the problem.

The plywood panels are first cut to size and then a rabbet is cut around the edge that fits into the dadoes in the styles and rails. The alignment places the back of the panel flush with the back of those parts when it’s assembled:

I used polyurethane construction adhesive to assemble the doors, solidly gluing in the plywood panel as well. This makes for an extremely strong door that will stand up to a lot of abuse:

Using my wooden bar clamps to hold the joints tight while the glue dries. No other fasteners are needed – the glue and joinery does all of the work.

Had to get a little more creative with the clamping on the bottom door, I didn’t have one long enough so I joined two:

This did give me an interesting idea for a new feature on an upcoming clamp redesign and build.
I left the doors overnight to let the glue fully cure and sanded, hung and sized them the next morning. Here’s a video going through that:

I then took them down again and gave them a coat of water based polyurethane:

These are large doors, so I used three hinges for extra support.

This is the payoff: seeing them fit so nicely and hiding the junk so effectively!

Last, but not least, is the swing down door that doubles as a work surface. I used a piano hinge that is just mounted on the surface and a pair of magnetic catches hold the door closed:

This area will be for all things sharpening. Jigs, stones and machines will be kept in here and pulled out onto the door when needed.

Finished, other than some more coats of poly and the handles:

And an overall view of the corner now that it is finished:

Compared to my original drawing concept posted on Instagram back in December, more than two months ago:

Quite a transformation and a huge boost in efficient storage. It was a lot of work, but I think it was well worth it.