How to make wooden base cabinet doors

How to make doors for a workshop base cabinet

In the following video we can see the complete process that I followed to make these wooden base cabinet doors. In the next post we will see how to put the panel in the doors and how to install the doors in the base cabinet.

I have had for some time a very long open front base cabinet in the workshop. And as this piece of furniture has a lot of useful surface area, it is perfect for keeping things in it. But in a woodworking shop like mine, where I don’t have an air cleaning system and where I generate a lot of sawdust, everything I have in that base cabinet ends up with a pretty thick layer of sawdust. So I finally decided to make some wooden doors to cover the front of the base cabinet, and thus have a cabinet in which to keep my electric tools and other tools out of the dust.

Installing a divider in the base cabinet

Before making doors for this very long wooden cabinet, the first thing I need to do is to put a vertical divider in the center. This way I divide the cabinet into two equal halves and I can put two doors to each side of the division.

Cabinet door stiles

Then I have to measure the length of the wooden door stiles. I want them to be tucked inside the cabinet, so I have to measure the height of the interior between the bottom shelf and the top board. And I cut 8 stiles like the one shown in the picture. 4 doors per two stiles each door for a total of 8 stiles. Using my table saw sled it is very easy to cut and adjust the size of these stiles. These are actually two or three millimeters shorter than the height of the opening, so that the cabinet doors don’t rub. Even so, if they rub after a while when the doors are mounted, I can trim them a little to adjust them.

Measure the rails with the help of the stiles

And now that I have the stiles, I can put the four corresponding to two doors next to one side of the division I put before in the front of the base cabinet. This way I can measure the remaining gap horizontally to calculate the length of the rails. This is because the measurement of these rails will be half of the real opening gap minus twice the width of two stiles. And I’ll take two or three millimeters off to make sure the doors won’t rub (yes, more than usual. But in my workshop there is a lot of humidity and wood moves a lot from dry weather to wet weather time). I admit that I am not an expert in making doors, so I don’t know what is the actual gap that is usually left when making base cabinet doors. But for this workshop base cabinet I don’t need to be very precise either.

Present and mark the parts of each wooden door.

To make doors that are as simple as these ones I don’t want to complicate myself with the wood joints, so next I’m going to make dowel joints to join the door stiles and rails. Then, I lay out the parts of each door on my workbench and number the joints I want to make. This way I can follow an order and I won’t make a mistake when marking where to drill, or when joining the pieces.

Drilling the head of the rails

Then, with the help of the vertical table of the drill press, I will drill a couple of dowel holes on both ends of all the rails.

Mark where to make the holes for the dowels

Like this, now, with the help of a dowel center set, I mark where to drill the holes in the stiles. For this it is important to have previously numbered the joints. This way I won’t make any mistakes, since I will always make the marks with the numbers facing upwards. Thus, I make sure that when I put the dowels in, all the joints will fit well.

Drilling dowel holes in the stiles

And now I can drill the holes for the dowels in the edge of the door stiles. I set the drill bit just on the marks, and I drill the holes.

Assembling wooden doors with dowel joints

Finally, I can make the dowel joints to assemble the base cabinets doors. I just apply a bit of glue in the holes, put the dowels in and make the joints between the rails and the stiles of the doors following the numbering I have.

-> Go to see how to install the door panel and the hinges.

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