We're revamping our kitchen cabinet, and having doors with rails and
curved stiles we would like to cut out the center panels and replace
them with glass. I know it's just a matter of cutting the inside of
the door about 1/2" around the center, but I'm at a loss on the best
way of doing this.
I've tried several different Dremel circular cutting blades which
work, but they break after just seconds of use. Short of going
through boxes of blades per door I'd like to find other options or
maybe some suggestions on which blade will work since I'm betting the
Dremel will work given a proper cutting blade is used, which their
website isn't much help in locating. The cabinets are made from a
harder wood, though I don't know what kind.
I also thought about using a chisel, but I'd rather keep the cut as
uniform as possible so the inside of the doors look good without
needing trim or fixing with wood putty.
I appriciate any suggestions on how to get this project moving.
Thanks for your time,
Are the panels solid wood or some kind of composite? If solid wood there is
probably enough room for movement to split the panel with the grain a couple
times about 2" apart with a chisel and hammer and then cut the 2" wide piece
in half with the chisel. After removing the resulting two small pieces you
can repeat the process for the rest. If the panels are composite a drill to
make a starter hole and handheld jig saw should suffice... probably should
cover the frame with tape if you don't plan to refinish. Of course you need
to own, rent or borrow these tools to use these techniques!
How did you plan to put the glass in? You'll either need a rabbet and some
clips or wood strips and brads to hold the glass or you'll need to take the
frame apart to insert the glass and reassemble.... if you can do the latter
do that to remove the panel.
I'm in the middle of doing the same thing to some of our kitchen cabinet
doors. Mine are oak and frame and panel construction which sounds
like your construction. I jigsawed around the panel about 1/2" from the
edge. Once the panel center was out it was easy to remove the remaining
edge strips from the grooves in the rails & stiles. Use a guide and route
off the edge of the groove on the backside of the door. This will leave a
rabbet for the glass to sit in. Mine had tombstone top arches which I didn't
relish the idea of cutting curved glass to fit, so I squared off the backside
routing to take a rectangular piece of glass. The front side still has the tomb-
stone arch. I plan on making the strips to secure the glass out of the panel
centers being the cheap bastard that I am, and I'll only have one thin edge
to try and match the finish on. The project is kind of on hold for the moment
waiting for the wife to decide on the glass pattern/texture.
I can provide more details, & pics, if you need them.
You've received some decent suggestions, but I'm guessing that you don't
want to learn how to do this on doors that are going to be part of a
I don't own a Dremel, so I don't know if there is a blade that will do
what you're looking to do. I suspect there isn't, because it's not the
This is a job that _could_ be done with hand tools, but as you've noted,
it could get a bit ratty.
And if you don't own a router, maybe the easiest thing do do is draw it
out and take it to someone who has one. You may be able to find someone
in the yellow pages that won't charge much. With the right tools, it
shouldn't take long, and you'll have nice even rabbets.
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