A Custom Cabinet Door – How to Make One

A custom cabinet door is what we built in the bathroom.

In our bathroom a while back, we needed some additional storage space for towels, toilet paper, etc.

There is a wall between the garden tub and the stand alone shower. It is almost 12 inches wide and its only purpose was to provide a space for the 4 inch plumbing vent stack to go from the crawl space to the attic and on to the roof.

There was an empty space 30 inches deep from the front to the space occupied by the plumbing. So, I cut into this space and inserted two pre-made plywood boxes. The first opening, which was for the top box, was 46 1/2 inches high and 8 inches wide. The second and lower opening was 27 1/2 high and 8 inches wide.

The boxes fit into these holes, were finished off with trim pieces and painted white. I drilled 1/4 inch holes on the inside spaced at 2 inch intervals. I then placed adjustable shelves on shelf brackets to hold whatever we need stored. We put bath and hand towels on the upper shelf and toilet paper on the lower shelves.

Now my wife wanted a door in front of the lower shelves

Of course, this would have to be a custom cabinet door because the opening was not a standard size. So for the job, I purchased a piece of clear white pine to make the door. I had some European hinges and paint left over from a cabinet purchased for another project.

The construction of this custom cabinet door was remarkably simple.

The tools I used are for the custon cabinet door:

  • a table saw;
  • a router and router table with rollover bit;
  • a drill press with a Forstner bit; and
  • a power D/A (dual/action) sander and 80, 120 and 220 grit sandpaper.

We had this custom cabinet door project finished in no time!

First, I used the table saw to cut the board to the exact size I wanted the final product to be, plus 1/16 of an inch. Once I finished sanding the piece of wood it was the exact size.

Next, I took the router and set the cutter bit to the contour I wanted the edge of the custom cabinet door to be. Then cut 1/8 inch less. This required two passes of the board, but this was so there would be no tear out on the final cut and no burn marks. The finish was just a nice smooth edge.

I adjusted the router bit again and this time cut the edge to the final dimension. I wanted to make sure I cut into the wood and WORKED SLOW AND STEADY. A router table is easier to use than just the router alone. Let the router do the work.

Now it was time to change the router bit to taper the back edge and cut that edge. This makes it easier for the fingertips to grip the new doors edge.

Next, I marked where the hinges were going to be and using the drill press, cut the holes for the hinges 1 3/8 inches in diameter and 7/16 inches deep. Your hinge size may be different. The hinges should be a close fit. I inserted the hinges and mark the holes for the mounting screws.

Then I removed the hinge and drilled those holes. Here is a picture of the holes for the hinges.

Next, I attached with two screws using the plastic anchors as they increase the holding power of the screws. Drill a hole in the opposite front for the knob to be inserted into.

I then sanded the door with 120 grit sandpaper. You can use 80 grit, it depends on the roughness of the wood.

Next it was time to test fit the new custom cabinet door to the cabinet I am attaching to. Make sure everything fits and the door operates the way it should.

I took the door apart and do a final sanding with 220 grit sandpaper and finish the wood by painting it white to match the other doors in the bathroom. (I sanded with 220 grit sandpaper between paint coats.)

After the paint dried on my new custom cabinet door, I reassembled it and attached it to the cabinet.

 Was that an easy custom cabinet door project or what?


Dave Altman

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