How to make and install cabinet doors

How to put flat panels and installation of cabinet doors

In the previous post we saw how to make simple doors for the workshop base cabinet. They are for a large base cabinet in my woodworking shop, and I made them by joining the rails and stiles of the doors with dowel joints. Now I want to route a groove to put the flat panels in. And since the ease or difficulty of installing doors often depends on the type of hinges we want to put on, I’m going to install the doors on the base cabinet with easy to put on hinges.

How to install flat panel to base cabinet doors

Template for routing a groove in doors

I need to hold the doors somehow so they don’t move when routing the grooves. Then, I dry assemble the door frames, and I make a simple template on a board to fit and hold the doors. Like this, by screwing a few pieces of wood strips around the door frame, the door will not move and it will be easy to route the groove on the inside edges.

Lift to route the groove with the slot cutter router bit

But the ball-bearing router bit that I’m going to use to route the slots would trip over the wooden base of the template, so I raise the door frame on some thin pieces of wood strips. Just enough so that the slot cutter router bit does not trip over the base, but so that the door frame still fits into the template.

Routing a groove on the inside edges of the doors

Then I adjust the position of the slot cutter to route a groove centered on the edge of the rails and stiles of the doors. And I route a groove on the inside edge of all the base cabinet doors. I have to keep in mind, for when I make the panels, that the slots I just routed are rounded on the inside of the corners, with a radius equal to the radius of the slot cutter router bit.

Measure the size of the door flat panel

I now measure and cut the flat panels to close the opening of the doors frame. The height of the flat panels should be the height of the door opening plus twice the depth of the groove. And I subtract a couple of millimeters to make sure the flat panels will fit with no problems. And the width should be the width of the door opening plus twice the depth of the slot. But I cut them by a couple of millimeters shorter.

In any case, to avoid surprises, it is advisable to dry fit the flat panels before gluing them, just to check they fit correctly.

I round the corners of the door flat panels

I cut the flat panels from a thin plywood board that has a thickness equal to the thickness of the groove. And with my homemade disk sander I round off the corners so that they fit well in the rounded corners inside the grooves that I have just routed.

Assembling the wooden doors with the flat panel

And finally I install the flat panels and put the doors in the base cabinet. The solid wood raised panels I think are not usually glued, but I usually glue these thin plywood panels and they never gave me problems. So in addition to gluing the joints with dowels, I also apply a thin bead of carpenter’s glue in the grooves.

Long wood bar clamps for gluing the doors

And I use my long wood bar clamps to hold the joints together while the glue dries.

How to put the hinges and install the base cabinet doors

Easy-to-install hinges

I will put hinges that are very easy to install. These have little points on the base that allow to mark the position in which we want to place them. So, once we have the hinges where we want them, we press them against the wood. And now I can put the hinges back in the same place by just fitting the points into the marks.

Then, to install these base cabinet hinges, first I measure and mark their position on the edge of the doors.

Screw hinges to base cabinet doors

I remove the hinge pin, which in this model comes out very easily, I put the part of the hinges that goes on the edge of the doors in place, and screw them.

Shim the base cabinet door to install hinges

Now I want to screw the hinges to the base cabinet frame. And for that I have to reassemble the hinges with their pin.

When making these cabinet doors I made sure to make them a little smaller than the base cabinet opening. So I now I have to put a piece of cardboard to shim the doors, trying to keep them from rubbing against the base cabinet at the top and bottom.

Mark the position where to put the hinges

I present the doors in position, and press the hinges so that the points leave the mark in their position on the cabinet frame.

Put the hinges on the base cabinet and screw them

I disassemble the hinge pin again and screw the corresponding halves to the cabinet frame. And once I have them screwed on, to finish installing the hinges I have to fit the hinges halves that I have in the doors to the hinges halves that I have in the base cabinet. And I put the hinges pins back in.

You may already know that installing hinges is often a headache, but some types of hinges make things easy 🙂 .

Install kitchen cabinet doors magnet

In order not to complicate the locking system of the doors, I can install some magnets like those for kitchen cabinets.

Installing a wooden handle to the cabinet doors

I still need to drill some holes to put some wooden handles to be able to open and close the cabinet doors …

Check that the base cabinet doors open and close

And I check that I can open and close the cabinet doors without any problems. I think installing hinges like these was a wise decision, because besides being very easy to put, they work very well, which makes installing cabinet doors like these a simple task.

The only problem I have after installing the doors is that they rub a little (wait, what? 🙁 ). Okay, this happens because this large base cabinet is a little crooked and its corners are not perfect at 90 degrees. I could trim the doors a bit, but being a shop cabinet I don’t mind them rubbing a bit. And I’d rather do that than risk leaving them too loose.

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