In designing cabinets, is there a rule to follow regarding the sizes
of doors that I should follow?
Reason for asking is, if for some reason I opt to buy the doors I
would rather design the cabinets ahead of time to follow conventional
What type of doors: inset or overlay?
Your door size is generally contingent upon three parameters:
Rough Opening (RO)
Inset or Overlay
With different doors there may be other parameters, but let's take it
My original thoughts were and overlay w/inset, if that makes sense.
But I don't know if that is do-able with a hidden hinge. The HH is
what is preferable to my wife.
All the floor cabinets will have drawers, at least that is my
intentions, the wall cabinets Normal adjustable shelving.
I spoke with my wife regarding the cabinet doors, cathedral style with
raised panels, the issues involved, and your guy's recommended idea's
as coming from professionals of renown experience, plus the YMMV
comment and discussed my current limitations regarding that.
She said that since we won't be living here, hopefully not too long
after the job is done, like a year or so, she could deal with it. But
obviously she really likes to full out Cathedral style doors.
I am wondering about making a simple arched top rail with just a flat
panel and either routing a 1/4" round over edge, or installing a 1/4"
strip, rounded over, ala Norm Abrams style would be a simple reliable
On Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 1:23:36 PM UTC-6, OFWW wrote:
OK, you're not going to be there that long. Don't guild the lily!
Seriously, consider this as an alternative. One of the full retail custom
cabinet shops has sample doors that are great looking, and deceptively clev
er in design. Best of all, with some study, not too difficult to build.
If I were looking for something that would look nice, be fairly rapid to bu
ild, and easy on the tools needed, I would make the doors (I can hear the s
hrieks of horror now...) with the rails and stiles being through mortise jo
We used to make these with a table saw and a box bit for the router, and lo
ts and lots of test cuts. There is so much glue area they WILL NOT fail.
The added bonus to this is you cut the groove in the door that accepts the
panel (not shown in this diagram) the same thickness as your panel, and you
can fit the tenon to the size of plywood you get on any given run.
A look at this in practice. You can see the tenon, imagine the attendant m
ortise, and you can see the groove for the panel:
These traditional panel doors look very nice when finished if all the joine
ry is in order. A quick. small round over on the outside edges of the rail
s/stiles keeps that crisp craftsman look.
A rounded top stile will mean a rounded panel, which means fitting, and a l
ot of extra work. To help one of my old remodeling pals through this same
problem, I came up with this idea. He made the flat panel doors with the t
hrough mortise as described. We then worked on the correct size of an arch
we liked, and committed it to some mdf and cut it out as a pattern. We la
id 1/8" void free plywood (these cabs were to be painted) over the patterns
and cut the arches out with a pattern bit in a router, leaving a little ex
cess width for fitting. The arch was glued to the panel face with poly glu
e, and the appearance was outstanding. It had a much more clean and refine
d look than the arched rails, which to me always look out of sorts.
Later, he used the same technique on cabinets he built out of maple. Since
they were to be stained, he used his bandsaw to rip some 4" X 3/16" pieces
of maple, almost a veneer to do the same thing we did with pattern/router/p
lywood. I saw these when they were finished, and since they sat a bit back
from the rails and stiles they also had that refined look, especially sinc
e he went easy on the arches. They stained out perfectly since it was all
the same wood, and his client (for good reason) was thrilled.
Like Karl said, there are many ways to skin the cat these days. Options ab
ound, and you can even buy bits that do a straight dado and matching tenon
(guaranteed fit) all over the net.
I would pay attention to Karl and Leon's advice on sizing doors and picking
hinges. Also, since this is uncharted territory, I would build a sample s
o I could test my finished dimensions, decide on my building and assembly t
echnique and to finalize my hardware.
On 2/11/2016 3:33 PM, email@example.com wrote:
Old timer's favorite ... and you can cut them solely on the table saw.
AKA "Bridle Joint", or a corner bridle joint.
I use my table saw Delta "tenon jig to cut the mortises (a homemade
spline jig works equally as well); and the table saw to cut the tenons
(same method as a stub tenon is cut).
A relative inexpensive alternative for flat panel doors is to use bead
board panels. I have done this on several kitchen and bathroom redo's
for my customers. It dresses the door up a bit but is easy. And you
can still arch the rails if you want.
Just a thought.
Sorry, got called away by a client and didn't have time to expound on
Build your cabinets FIRST!
You can do it the other way around, but it is not for the timid, The
client for this vanity (original had been destroyed by a plumbing
disaster) insisted on keeping the old doors, drawer fronts, and drawers
in this Jack & Jill bath.:
Two basic kinds of doors (and drawer fronts) "inset" and "overlay".
~ Inset doors/fronts generally have a +/- 3/32" reveal on all sides, so
you obviously will make your doors approximately roughly 3/16" smaller,
in both width and height, than the RO.
CAVEAT: it is best to "sneak up" on the "fit" of inset doors, and not
rely on measurement too heavily, as most RO's are not perfectly square.
Fitting inset doors is a skill, with a few tricks that can be used to
sneak up on a perfect fit.
~ Overlay doors/fronts overlay your frameless cabinet's top and side
panel edges. And overlay the face of the face frames of a traditional
cabinet by a desired, usually aesthetic, amount.
This amount is also often dictated by the type of hinge you use.
To wit: the great majority of concealed hinged (Euro hinges) are 1/2"
overlay ... so you would measure the RO, and then add 1" both the height
and width to make the finished door. With 3/4" overlay, you would add 1
TIP: the *width* of overlay doors is generally more important in face
frame cabinets. You can often fudge the height slightly to meet
aesthetic requirements if need be.
TIP: an excellent way to quickly and accurately measure the actual door
size for each cabinet is to "bury" the sum of the overlay on the tape
measure you use when measuring the RO.
IOW, with a 1/2" overlay, measure your RO from the 1" mark on the tape
measure instead of the dummy end. The measurement you read is then the
actual door measurement, no math involved.
That's really it in a nutshell.
Be aware that, should you decide to purchase doors, most door shops will
not do the math for you. IOW, you will give them the actual door
measurement (height and width) that you want ... they don't want the
liability of a bad fit.
FWIW I typically will slightly back bevel, on the TS, the stile outer
edge opposite the hinge stile. This makes it easy to use a small hand
plane on that sharp edge to tweak the fit of the mounted door to match
the hinge side gap.
I have problems doing it that way, personally. I can't ever keep the 1"
mark at the edge of the RO as easily as jamming the end of the tape
measure against the opening. The tape always creeps one direction or the
other. ;~( And since I use 1/2" overlay 99.8% of the time I simply add
an inch to all RO measurements.
On 2/11/2016 12:34 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Doubt Leon took offense. He stated he "personally" had trouble with the
method, and an injury to an opposing thumb would be a legitimate reason
to have trouble with that method.
Never fear, as scorekeeper he will have ample opportunity for revenge. lol
Well I don't think my thumb actually is part of the problem, but that
was funny. Some of us, me, just have difficulty holding a tape
stationary at one end and running the other end out to the opposite side
of the opening. Although, holding the tape properly to insure no
slipping might require an extra longer more articulating digit. ;~)
I no longer have a squeezing feature with that thumb. LOL
I have really not done any kind of measuring like that with more than
9.5 digits. I did not get into any volume building until after "the
incident" in 1989.
I probably was not clear, I was wondering if the RO should be a
consideration when building the cabinets so as to fit some "standard
size door" if there is such a thing. Just in case we were to order
If not, or even if, regarding the doors. If I go ahead and build all
the cabinets, then we should be able to use them immediately and then
install the doors as made, or ordered ? My preference at this time is
to build doors, based on my limitations and your guy's experienced
recommendations to not get in over my head too far.
Very nice, and looking at the cabinet installed pretty tightly with
the side walls and the FF's was cool. It must have been a chore to
slide it in.
I had a problem in our main bathroom and the counter was built into a
space like you had there. It all had to be ripped out in order to
jackhammer the floor up to fix the water leak. Your Job looks so close
in style it brought back the memories.
I ended up buying three cabinets to install, but my clearance was
almost 3/4" at each end of the combined cabinets. I considered myself
extremely lucky to see them fit that tight, so I used a filler spacer
painted to match. And then molding. We had a granite slab which had a
marble swirl in it for the counter top.
My garage was 6 foot deep with parts, copper piping and "stuff",
couldn't get to any of my tools at that time. :)
All my cabinets will be ff.
To me this is the scariest of all, since I am at the mercy of the
hinge designers. And there is a bunch out there with hidden hinge
designs. Worst case and even then not too bad for me, not my wife is
to use the hinges that mount on the surface of the FF which wrap
around the stile, and get it either in silver or white. The ones on my
existing cabinets have been working for 40 years with nary a problem.
I am keeping this for my notes and to read over a few more times to
get the hinge setups in my minds eye.
There is no industry standard cabinet door size.
Safest is to build your cabinets, then size your doors to the actual,
Even though I use SU to build the cabinets, the door and drawer front
sizes are checked against the actual cabinet itself before I do the
doors, especially if ordering them ... you never know when Murphy is
Absolutely ... BTDT, back when I used to eat my own dogfood more than I
have been lately. ;)
That job was a perfect example of putting explicit trust in your
experience and, most importantly, all your tools.
That vanity went into a bathroom in Little Rock, AR. My shop is in
First trip, I used a digital measuring device to accurately measure the
entire job (there were two other bathrooms). I came back to Houston,
made a precisely dimensioned 3D SU model of each room and all it's
featured; and then came back to Houston and built everything needed ...
500 miles away from the job site.
Basically, SketchUp allowed me to bring back virtual spaces/rooms, with
all dimensions and features precisely measure, back to Houston.
Absolutely no need for another site visit until demo and installation time.
That decision is entirely a matter of taste.
I will say that modern, self/soft close, hidden hinges are an attractive
feature when selling a house. I don't see that changing anytime soon,
plus it is, on the whole, much easier to build, and install, doors using
modern concealed hinges than the older styles.
Choosing which hinge and style can be daunting at first, but lots of
folks here can help you with that task. Once you get the idea and
discover what works for you, it becomes second nature.
Just ask your questions here, plus almost every hinge manufacturer has a
website loaded with information.
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