Cabinet Doors

In planning for our kitchen remodel, my wife and i have decided to replace our kitchen cabinet doors and refinish the existing cabinetry.
Rockler's custom order doors are $$$$$$$, as are many others.
For about $500 I can outfit myself with the tools I need to complete this job - rail/stile bits, raised panel bit, etc etc.
I'm a newbie at this sort of woodwork, but i have experience in trim carpentry and feel confident that i can take my time and do a good job with it.
I do have a few questions though. Go easy on me!
-I'm assuming I need some sort of mechanical fastener for the frame of the cabinet door. What should I look at for this, or will a good glue like Titebond or Gorilla work?
-This one really sounds lame... What thickness wood should I look at for the frame and the panel? It seems, from my research, that 7/8 is the most common frame thickness, but I can't figure out what thickness panel to use.
Thanks for any help. I'd much rather do this myself (and accumulate some new tools!) than outsource it.
Adam Atlanta, GA
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On Mar 7, 1:06 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I'm a newbie as well and have made raised panel doors.
I just glued the frame together and they have held up to two toddlers fine for 6 months.
The frame is usually 7/8 to 1 inch and the panel 3/4 but they don't have to be. The reason for the thicker frame is so the outermost part of the panel will be flush or co-planar with the front of the frame. You could make both out of 3/4 and have a fine door.
I would reconsider undertaking this project. Not only do you need a router, table, and bits in addition to tools you already have. You also have to buy the stock thicknessed or buy a planer. You will also need a way to join boards for the panels including planing them straight. Finding the stock could be a problem in itslef and very expensive. Then you have to stain & finish the doors. While certainly doable the cost to DIY could easily be higher than having them shipped to your door.
I bought our cabinets from Lowes and while not 'fine furniture' they are as well made as any I have seen in a house and I could not have bought the wood with the $5K I paid them.
Here is the website of the company that either made or shipped the cabinets to my house. http://www.shenandoahcabinetry.com / A real pleasure to deal with, quickly replaced they few pieces that were damaged in shipping and lots of trim pieces available that you would also have to make/stain.
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My gut is telling me I probably should reconsider....
What about MDF cabinet doors? I've heard of some problems with them, how much truth is in it? Would they be acceptable for use in a kitchen with care?
I would get them raw and finish (paint) them myself. Does anyone have good info on priming/painting MDF? I hear it can be tricky. I do have a spray setup - HVLP pressure and gravity fed.
Thanks- Adam

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"Adam" wrote in message

Pretty well done it all when it comes to kitchen cabinets, more than once. Two examples are on my website below, so you're getting "BTDT" and no conjecture.
The reality of the situation for wooden doors, even for those who do it for money, is that it is generally cheaper, quicker, and ends with a higher quality product, if you can find a local shop that specializes in doors.
Why? - simply because, as an individual paying full retail price, the finding and milling of the wood, not discounting waste, warpage, etc., is often more expensive than having them made in a speciality shop to start with.
Even for those of us who are practiced in setting up and have the equipment to do a door and drawer front run for a complete kitchen, it rarely makes economic sense to do so in this day and age.
There is absolutely nothing shameful about buiding the cabinets and outsourcing the doors for anyone who works on a business/business like footing.

I would recommend the mdf approach as long as you want to:
1. paint your doors 2. DIY inexpensively 3. Perhaps have another option for drawer fronts 4. Use Euro 35mm door cup hinge system

mdf is stable, and when properly sealed, primed and painted, makes a very nice door for very little cash outlay. Not the "cachet" of a well made wooden door, but acceptable for most folks who need to be cost conscious.

Absolutely. The stability of mdf alone is worth the price of admission when compared to some of the problems even the experienced can run into with doors not remaining flat for any number of reasons.
If you really have the itch to do the doors yourself, it would be a relatively cheap way for you to find out with a 2 x 4 sheet of 3/4" mdf, a router and table, and a collection of bits.
Just cut the mdf to the dimension of a door, route a profile on the front and/or edges, and see if you like/can live with what you have wrought.
If not throw it away and try again ... cheap prototyping is one of the benefits of MDF.

When used for doors, mdf is usually sealed with glue size, shellac, spackling slurry, or somesuch; lightly sanded; then primed and painted with one or more coats.
Now ... what are you going to do about drawer fronts to match?
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Snip

I'll second the use of MDF. I have a 3 time customer that I have built/cut out and hinged MDF cabinet doors for. Hs spray painted the doors himself and was pleased enough to use MDF 2 more times when sold and moved in to other houses.
I'll also second the prep advised above.
Consider also that MDF is heavy, this is no time to scrimp on the hinges. I prefer the Euro style hinges that fit inside a hole on the back side of the door and add much support to that union.
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This little sink cabinet is made of MDF. The material is easy to work (use a mask) and takes a finish nicely. European type hinges are almost a "must".
http://tinyurl.com/27jeak
The drawer fronts can be MDF and attached by clamping them to the front of the drawer to align them and fastening with screws. I would use Baltic Birch plywood to make the drawers. There are several joining methods for building the "boxes" (drawers).
Max
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thanks for the info everyone.
i actually found a place that will mill custom mdf doors for me on the cheap, i will probably go that route.
anyone have a source for bulk euro hinges? typically they are fairly expensive... i need about 120.
i'll post up some photos etc when im done!
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Adam: not sure where you live, but... there is a listing on Dallas/Ft Worth "Craigs List" for 100 + Euro Hinges. Selling for $1.50 per. Listed on 03-06-07, so should be still available. Not sure why, but they are listed under tools. Go to the search bar and type in "hinges" HTH
Bill

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That depends on face frame or "euro"(no face frame) cabinets:
http://wwhardware.com/catalog.cfm/GroupID/Cabinet%20Hinges/CatID/Cabinet%20Hinges%2C%20Blum%26%23174%3B%20Concealed
You can get by cheaper but NOT better than Blum.
Adam wrote:

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That's almost 60 doors given two per door. Bulk prices are generally available for large purchases.
MDF is a very reasonable approach for "budget" kitchens "if" they receive a "first class" paint job. A badly painted door is a awful thing to look at for any period of time.
An entire kitchen badly painted would be very painful.
Are the divorce lawyers cheap in your part of the country ???
Adam wrote:

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lol, nothing's worth that :) the wife wouldn't divorce me over something so insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
now i think she wants to stick with the slab doors and a nice paint job. sounds good to me, it's most definitely cheaper!
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thanks for the info everyone.
i actually found a place that will mill custom mdf doors for me on the cheap, i will probably go that route.
anyone have a source for bulk euro hinges? typically they are fairly expensive... i need about 120.
i'll post up some photos etc when im done!
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I do not understand the fear of making doors... time consuming yes, but difficult no. Buy a really food set of bits from Freud or CMT... Setting up the height on the rail and stile bits should not be hard and once you do it, run some scrap and keep those pieces, they will be your set up blocks for future use. If you are going to paint them go with 3/4 poplar 2.5 inch wide rail and stile. buy a sheet of 3/4 mdf and your ready to go. If you dont care about the panel being 1/8 proud of the frame then get a bit set without a backcutter. If you want it flush you still use 3/4 thick material but the backcutter on the bit produces a panel flush with the frame.
the freud bits have instructions that a kid could follow. cut your rails and stiles to length, run them through the appropriate bit on a router table, cut your panels to size and run them over teh panel raiser...
one thing though. MDF produces the finest most annoying choking dust imaginable. do it outside or have a great dust collector.
the nice part is that mdf is great for painting. the area which is milled will need to be sized.... mix 1 part glue and 1 part water and brus it on the milled areas. let it dry and sand it. itll come out smooth that way.
Youll also want a bit for the edg of the door. just search door edge bit on google. youll also need a 35mm forstner bit if you will use euro hinges.
Put it this way, with poplar and mdf you can ake very nice painted doors for a fraction of the cost of buying them. www.walllumber.com sells mdf doors for a minimum of $24 each.
the bits will run 150-170 for the rail stile and panel raiser, 40 for te edge bit and 15 for the forstner.
Of course if you dont have a router table and dont plan on buying or making one, forget it - its a must unless you want to try it on a table saw.
for paint use ben moore satin impervo.
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(Warning: this only my opinion, not a carefully researched response, and as such, it may not be worth any more than you paid for it...) Your time must be pretty cheap if you think you can save money by making your own cabinet doors. (If you really want to make doors for fun, and don't mind spending some money and time to do so, disregard the rest of this post and have fun making your doors). Assuming you want some decent cherry or oak, plan on at least $4-5/bf, rough, assuming you already have a jointer and a planer (if not, there's an extra $grand or two, or extra cost for S2S at the shop). If you haven't done doors before, plan on a few for practice (I recently did some experimenting with a rail+stile bit for the first time, and it took quite a bit of tweaking - granted you'll get better with practice, but there's more wood and time to factor in). I assume you already have a good-sized, stable router table, and possibly a drum sander for the panels. We looked at a house a while ago that needed new cabinet doors, and for me, the main issue came down to time - how long would it take to select the wood, surface it, cut it to final dimensions, rout the frames, glue up the panels, surface the panels, put several coats of finish on everything, assemble the doors, add hinges and hardware, and mount them? Even if the cost of wood+tools is a little cheaper than pre-made doors, how soon do you want them? (Or more importantly, how soon does your wife want them?) How much free time do you have? How much is that time worth per hour? Again, if you want to do this as a project for yourself, absolutely go for it, I wouldn't want to discourage you. But if you want to save money and have your new doors before next year, Rockler's doors at roughly $100-125 each sound like a pretty good deal to me. Andy
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Woodcraft offers a class in "making a raised panel door". I know Atlanta has one or more Woodcraft..
I would also give Highland Woodworking a call. They offer many classes and I believe one of them is building a basic cabinet.
The doors are glued together. No fastners.
The vast majority are made with 3/4" material. The raised panel sets are designed around 3/4" stock. Getting and preparing the stock is your single biggest challenge.
The stock "must" be flat and straight. This "normally" requires a jointer and a planer.
You will also need a fairly large collection of clamps.
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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Titebond will work just fine. This entertainment center is held together entirely with titebond. The only mechanical fasteners in it are for the hinges *and* to fasten the 1/4" plywood to the two side units where you see the speakers. http://tinyurl.com/27u2zt

The frames ("rails and stiles") are made of 3/4" Oak. While I did use a thickness planer to plane 4/4 stock to the thickness I thought appropriate, you can purchase 3/4" finished oak, maple, birch, etc., but it will be much more expensive than the unfinished product. S2S = surfaced 2 sides. The panels are 1/4" oak plywood. (nominal; actual thickness varies from one source to another, be sure to get the proper size router bit to make the grooves into which the plywood fits.) http://eagleamerica.com/product.asp?pn 0-0232&bhcd273296717

Glad to be of help anytime. Max
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Just glue. And not Gorilla (or any other urethane). The rails have tongues that fit into matching mortices on the stiles, all accomplished with the rail/stile router bit(s). _______________________

Where have you see 7/8" frames for cabinet doors? The standard is 3/4. The easiest way to get that is to buy 4/4 rough and mill it to what you want.
The rail/stile bits will normally make a 1/4" groove for the panel. That means that panels can be any thickness from 1/4" on up as long as there is a tongue to fit the frame grooves. They need not be flush with either front or back of the frame. The panels could even stand proud of the frame if that should be what you want. They could stand proud on front and/or back though if on the back they would have to clear the cabinet face frame.
It is always useful to have lots of clamps; however, it is unlikely that you are going to be gluing up a dozen doors at a time. About the most you would need for a kitchen cabinet sized door is four. If you had eight - 1/2" pipe clamps are fine - you could glue up & clamp door #1 then door #2. Have a cup of coffee and you can unclamp door #1 and use those clamps for door #3 then unclamp door #2 and use those for door #4. Have another coffee and repeat. The clamps really only need to be on for 45 minutes or so though you shouldn't stress the doors for 24 hours.
Actually, you wouldn't need *any* clamps per se. Affix 8 - 6-8" long pieces of 2x4 to a piece of 3/4 ply so that an assembled frame will fit loosely between them then use wedge pairs between .the 2x4 pieces and frame to provide pressure to the frame. The 2x4 pieces are at right angles to each other near but not at where the frame corners will be so that you can manipulate the wedges. The corners of the ply are best lopped off. You can set something like this up so you have access to the bottom side of the frame so you can take care of any glue squeeze out.
Back to panels. No where is it written that panels have to be solid wood. They can be 1/4" hardwood plywood too...easy to make and relatively inexpensive. If you should plan to paint the panels, you could use 1/4" tempered masonite. As an alternative to paint (always a PITA) the panels could be covered with wall paper.
--

dadiOH
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