I am going to put sliding doors on a cabinet. Is there any reason not to
simply rout the tracks into the cabinet, rather than putting tracks in?
I don't think I have ever seen it done that way, but it should be rather
I have a record cabinet that has the door tracks dadoed in. The frames are
wider (thicker) than the panels so they fill in the gap between the doors.
It may be a little tricky to do this with a router because of potential
tear-out. If you have a dado cutter, you may have better success.
There was a (fairly) recent FWW article on this. Evidently, there's a
handful of subtleties involved. I enjoyed (a) reading it (b) learning about
it and (c) reveling in the good feeling that dawned on me when I used the
Yeah, I caught that. I met Seth when he recently came to present at our
woodworking club (club gloat!). He's an interesting, and generally patient
man, in many ways. I got the sense, however, that he's pretty confident of
his positions, and suffers fools not very much.
His specialty right now is on very spendy boxes and display cabinets. The
attention to detail is remarkable.
As I recall there are two secrets to setting up sliding doors this
1) the top slots are deeper than the bottom slots so that the doors
can be lifted up out of the bottom slots for easy removal. This
requires that the top slot have a little leeway so you can swing the
door in and out.
2) don't have the full bottom edge of the door in contact with the
bottom slot. Use just a couple of contact points and wax the slot
well. You could try to find nylon 'buttons' to insert in the bottom
edge as bearing surfaces or simply drill and 'tap' for a nylon binding
head screw - this would be easily replaceable when it wore out.
Also, I agree with another poster who suggested ripping a dado on your
TS rather than routing the dado but YMMV.
Before the existence of the plastic track, a bare "slot in the wood" was
the _standard_ method. Sears sold kitchen cabinets with that kind of doors
in the early 50's. They were also common on record (you know, "LP's")
cabinets in the 50's,,60's.
Particularly for overhead kitchen cabinets, the sliding doors have a *BIG*
advantage -- you can't bang your head on the door if you leave it open.
(Note: the house I grew up in had those sliding door cabinets; when I moved
into 'a place of my own', it took me *years* to learn to _always_ close
the cabinet doors. When you grow up 'knowing better', hinged doors are an
For home construction, the slot is usually cut with a table-saw, rather
than a router.
The doors need to be relatively thin, and light-weight. e.g., 1/4" Baltic
As somebody else pointed out, there _are_ some design subtilities -- because
the doors _are_ removable/replaceable after construction. The 'upper' track
needs to be more than twice as deep as the lower one, *and* a bit wider.
The _rear_ upper track needs to be 'a bit' wider than the front one.
(the doors have wedge in at an angle in the upper track, before you can
swing them to alignment with the lower one, thus the excess width. And
they have to go 'up' in the upper track, far enough to let the bottom of
the door clear the lower face, _before_ dropping into the lower track.
And, obviously, _after_ they drop in the lower track, you still have to
have =some= of the door still in the upper track.)
Yeah, *obvious* once mentioned. *NOT* so obvious if you haven't thought it
all the way through. DAMHIKT.
And/or bevel the rear top of the guide tennon.
I enjoyed (sort-of) reading the FWW article to explain where I went wrong on
some pantry doors a while back. They touched on my bigest mistake but did
not dwell on it.
I got a bit lazy since it was not a high visibility area and just jut some
panels from 1/4" maple ply. Since, they have warped a bit. It is imperative
that the doors be very flat to run well. 1/4" ply does not have enough
substance to stay put.
One of these days, I'll cut them down and capture them in frame.
the headboard of my bed has these. 3/4" red oak.
the slots accumulate stuff, and the doors don't slide very well until i
vacuum it out and apply some sort of furniture wax. further, if the panel
warps at all, it won't slide. it wasn't made well, and the upper slot is a
bit wider than the doors are thick. this causes the door to tilt just a
little backwards, and this jams them in.
cave creek, az
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