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kitchen cabinet doors help

6917 Views 15 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  puretrick
I was wondering if anyone can help me with step by step instructions on making cabinet doors, i attached some pictures for examples of what kind of doors i'm looking to build, i do have somewhat of an idea, but before i get started and start $$$$$$ing i was hoping to get some professional advice.

Thank You :)


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First let me say welcome to the forum!

This might be a tough job if you are just starting out but then again we all have to start some place. I don't want to discourge you or to make this sound like an obstical course but since we have no idea of your equipment level or skill level I will take a basic approach and start at the beginning. That being the tools needed.

Also remember this is non-professional advice and you do get what you pay for here......

Step one is to get the tools you will need to do this. Since we are a router forum let's start with a router and router table. The router will need to have enough power to spin the bit sets and will need to have a way to lower the rpm to a safe speed.

Next you will need a bit set to do the stiles and rails. These come with profiles and either come as a set or I have even seen single stacked bits.....

The raised panel could be cut on a table saw or you might want to use the router and get a raised paneling bit. These also have profile you have to pick. I personal have a "horizontal" bit for this but I have heard good things about the vertical bits that are on the market.

Again depending on your equipment you will need to build or buy a coping sled or???

These sets/types of bits tend to be expensive and if you don't have the router or table you will be laying out a lot of money before you can even get started. So take your time and figure out what you want to do and what tools you will use to do it.... then if you want come back with some details based on the selection you have made someone can most likly tell how to do the stock prep and cutting.

If this was all to basic for you I'm sorry.

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puretrick said:
I was wondering if anyone can help me with step by step instructions on making cabinet doors, i attached some pictures for examples of what kind of doors i'm looking to build, i do have somewhat of an idea, but before i get started and start $$$$$$ing i was hoping to get some professional advice.

Thank You :)
You have indicated two types of doors (a) A panel Door made from solid timber and Ed has given some sound advice. If you are new to routing it is a big ask for a novice to start with such a project.

(b) the second door has been produces from MDF and either Laquered or Vynal wrapped and has been made professionally on a CNC router Not an easy task again for a novice.
Hi "puretrick"

I made bathroom cabinet doors last summer, and it's very satisfying to see them every day. I hope to do the whole kitchen this year.
That being said, we really do need to know your level of expertise. If you are starting with rough wood, then do you know how to use a thickness planer, jointer, tablesaw, and router? Do you know how to measure correctly for the door parts, that being the panel, rails and stiles?
Perhaps a good book on making cabinet doors would help, as there are many, many steps to making doors.
So, where are you at, in terms of knowledge, and we can go from there.

I have taken wood working in high school; ive built a bread box, and a computer desk. I have used many wood working tools such as a planer, table router; ive glued wood together and then planed them. band saw.... I’m willing to spend a little more then $1000 on tools, I have nothing yet.... ); but once I know what I need to do, I’ll know what to buy, and then I’ll get to work. If anyone can give me step by step instructions to build one of these doors, it would be greatly appreciated. I understand that the white door is probably a whole peace of wood and the center is done by routing. And the oak door is done in many pieces
Hi again, pure

I'm sure you could make the cabinet doors. I'll think about how to explain as much as I can, and I'll email in the morning, okay?

Thanks You Julie, i appreciate your feedback :)
i did some research today, and i think that hardest part is doing thecenter,
i dont understand how i could get the ends so thin with out braking the wood? from my understanding you have to have the center of the board edges thin enough so it goes into the "side framing of the door" do you understand what i'm saying? when you email me Julie maybe you can highlight some key point on doing this, my only guess is thats the routers job?
if you look at the picture of router i have, you can see the second from the left how it has that thin lip at the edge of the wood, is how i would do this?


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Julie said:
Hi again, pure

I'm sure you could make the cabinet doors. I'll think about how to explain as much as I can, and I'll email in the morning, okay?

You are going to post rather then email, right?

Yes, Ed, I didn't really mean email. Will post here just in case anyone else is interested, and also so all of you others can tell puretrick if I'm giving him good answers. ;)

Ok, pure- The first thing to know is that you need 5 pieces for each door. The pieces on each side, called the stiles, run from top to bottom, the full length of the door. The rails run between them, horizontally at the top of the door and at the bottom. The rails and stiles are commonly 3/4" thick and from 2" to 2 1/2" wide. The middle portion of the door is the panel and is glued up to it's width using 2" to 3" wide pieces.

We really don't need to reinvent the wheel here, there are websites that explain how to do the doors. This one might help: and tricks/CabinetMenu.htm

Basically you would first get your measurements (very important!!) for each door. Then you would get your stiles and rails cut to width. I do a lot of long pieces, which would be all your stiles and rails, joined together, then cut to length at the end, after routing the grooves that will hold the panels. (Always make extra!) What you must remember is that the rails fit into the stiles, so the rails need the extra length on each end that is the tenon. Example, if your door is 16" wide, then your stiles (if 2" wide) will take off 2" on each side, leaving you 12", BUT your rail must be 12" PLUS the tenon on each end, which may be 1/2" on each end of the rail, so your rail is actually 13".
| stile | rail | stile |

When you measure for the middle panel, you must add the size of the narrow part (Yes, your router bit will make the panel door thin enough to fit into the slots in the rails and stiles, but not so thin that it will break) that will fit into the slots of the rails and stiles, on all four sides.

I think the best thing for you to do would be to make a sample door, trying out your router bits and sizes, etc. This really is the way to go when doing anything. I never run anything through my router or even table saw without doing test pieces first.

I would really encourage you to go to the local store and buy a wood workers magazine, either Popular Woodworking, or Wood Magazine, or anyone, look through for any plan that includes panel doors in it, for some additional help.

There are so many 'tricks to the trade' that I'm not sure what to tell you. For example, when routing the panel door edges, you don't take everything off in one step, you just take about a 1/16" and gradually get to the finished size.

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I have been following this thread closely as I know nothing about panel doors myself. Thanks for some great info and the link.

I'm not an expert on raised panel doors either but you've been given some excellent advice by some very experienced people. I've built a few raised panel doors and measuring is really important, as always. Here's a site to assist you when you make your plans. I find this software really usefull and easy to use. Best of luck.

Go to web site. They have router bit sets for what you are going to do and they also have videos on how to use them at a good price. It could be a good starting point.


I recently went to a class offered by my local Woodcraft store on raising raised panels. Was reasonably priced and you had hands on experience in making the stiles, rails and panel with some tips as well on alignment, sizing, etc. Also taught you how to use the bits safely.

I found it very useful (never having made a raised panel before) and now have one sitting in my workshop with notes scribbled all over it that I can use as a reminder.

Might want to see if your local Woodcraft has a course like this.

Hi: Pure: Oak- Park sells a calculator program to size the components of a raised panel door and it's not expensive. The outer edge of the panel must be 1/4" thick to fit
into the slots you machine on the styles and rails. If you have a planer you can plane the panel to 5/8" from 3/4". That will make the panel even with the faces of the stiles and rails. The rail ends are cut first, Then the stiles to fit the rails tenons.
Then the panel is machined to fit into the stile and rail parts. Bob andRick have had
a few projects that included raised panel doors it may pay to call them and order it with the program for sizing the components. Woodnut65

Thanks to Bill, Jim, Julie
you guys have given me excellent advice, i feel cofident with your input, I have much shopping to do. I greatly apreciate your feedback and i'm sure this will help me and others

Thank you
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