Building Cabinet Doors for DVD Shelves

It is time for building cabinet doors now that the DVD shelves are finished. Without getting too expensive or labor intensive, we can build doors that look good and still be functional.

Kitchen cabinet doors are an excellent example of what I am building. If there is a frame around a center panel like a picture frame, these are rail and stile doors.

They can have flat inserts, they can have raised wood panels, they can be glass or almost anything. The bottom line is they are functional and if you make them yourself, they are reasonably priced. That is, of course, if you already have most of the tools.

In my case all that was needed was to purchase some different router bits to get the desired roman ogee edge profile.

The tools needed for this project will be:

  • A 2-hp router to spin the 1.2 inch shank of the router bit;
  • The router table it bolts into to ensure the cuts are flat and true; table picture
  • A miter saw to trim the pieces to the correct length;
  • Maybe a table saw to true any pieces that are not exactly the size I need.
  • A belt sander to make sure the corners fit perfectly.
  • A random orbit sander to final sand the surfaces of the frames.
  • Also needed is a selection of router bits to cut the outside edge of the frames for the desired profile and cut off the inside edge.

I am going to use pre-finished bead board masonite wood panels for the inserts. These panels are 4.3mm thick. The standard router bits have 1/4” slot or 6.36mm. There is an optional bit that is 5.2mm for the European wood panels. There are no bits for the material I want to use.

Therefore, I plan the cut the back edge off in the panel area and insert a wood strip from the rear, this is the same method you would use if you were using a glass insert. See the picture to the left.

The next building cabinet doors step is to set the router table up using a set up block. The single purpose of the set up block is so that you can duplicate cuts each and every time exactly the same.

Notice the picture of factory set up block and the oak one that I made. It turns out the factory plastic block is not long enough the reach each side of the edge guide. Hence, the longer oak set up block which is to help me with future door projects.

The building cabinet doors steps to make door frames are easy. Make all the same cuts before changing the setting on the tool you are using.

For instance, when cutting the basic frames, make all the cuts on the similar pieces before adjusting the table saw. This is to ensure the cuts are exactly the same. In the case of building cabinet doors I am making, there will be 8 side frames the same size, 32 horizontal boards the same size for the main doors, 8 side frames for the top doors and 8 horizontal boards for the top doors. Now, you understand why the cuts MUST be exactly the same if you want the final product to fit precisely.

Typically, I prefer to cut each rail and stile board two inches longer than what the final product will be. This extra wood allows for mistakes or problems where the wood goes into the router table and is not lined up correctly. Then trim the boards for an exact fit.

Using a rail and stile system it is important to remember the names and how they fit together. “Rails” are the horizontal pieces and “stiles” are the vertical pieces. All the boards used for rails and stiles will be cut on the inside edge with the profile you are using.

The stiles will be cut on the ends that fit into the rails with the reverse profile to fit tightly into the rail profile. This is where the set up guides come into play as they eliminate any play. There is no hardware to hold anything together. There is just a tight fit and glue. Therefore, close cuts are important for longevity.

Finally, trim the outside edges for the desired profile. In my case, it is a simple 1/4 rounded edge. The picture to the right is the router bit that makes this edge.

Below is a quick snapshot of what I did.the pieces being cut, fitted together, taken apart after making sure everything fits, glued together, sanded, applied primer and sanded again. Then I applied the final coat of paint.

The pieces are being cut.

I’m making sure the wood fits together.

 

Taking the wood apart after making sure everything fits together.

Here it is drying after the glue has been applied.

It has been sanded and a the primer put on.

I sanded a second time and applied the final coat of paint. I used a paint sprayer. The finish is alot smoother than using a brush.

Building cabinet doors is a easy process as long as you have good tools. My tools are not the best, most expensive or the least expensive. They are just good quality. They do the job with enough accuracy to make everything fit.

 

Dave Altman
 

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