Friday, July 19, 2013

Making Kitchen Cabinet Doors

Making Kitchen Cabinet Doors

Type of Wood

    Kitchen cabinet doors will inevitably wear out before the cabinet itself. Making your own doors may save you some money and provide the exact type of door you want. Finding the right wood for the project is the top priority. There are many types of wood on the market, some much more expensive than others. You usually want to try to match the wood and finish of your cabinet, which means you may want to take some samples home from the home improvement store. Or if you still have an old door, you can take it with you. If you find you must use a different type of wood, get one that complements the cabinet wood and use it throughout the door-making. Examples of the more expensive woods would be pecan and walnut; oak is a mid-range. A less expensive, beautiful cabinet wood is poplar. Poplar is also very easy to work with.

The Door Finish

    Next, decide on the finish for your doors. Again, you likely will want to match the cabinets. It's more important to match the finish than the wood. If your cabinets are painted, most people won't even know what type of wood your chose. Other finishes are Tung oil, stain and sealer, varnish and polyurethane. Determine the finish of the cabinets and try to duplicate it with one of these finishes. Tung oil and polyurethane work well in kitchens because they tend to resist moisture.

Hardware for the Doors

    The selection of hinges and doorknobs seems endless. If you've previously had exterior hinges on the cabinets, you should stick with them or you'ill need to putty in the old screw holes to try to hide them. If not, there are many hinges on the market that you will not be able to see once they are installed. Some will prevent your door from swinging all the way open, thus hitting another door or shutting so fast that it slams the door. There is such a wide variety of knobs that you can find them to match any dcor. You will probably spend more time looking at hardware than anything else for your doors.

Design of the Door

    For most do-it-yourself door makers, the solid door with a decorative edge is the best. You stand the best chance of keeping the doors uniform by not trying to get too fancy. However, if you are great with a router, a raised-panel door is not out of the question. If you can create a tongue and groove, a framed door would not be too difficult, either. The designs can be you own, too. Making a frame for stained glass, etched glass or punched tin doesn't take much time and adds that custom look to your kitchen. If there's more than one piece to the door, it's normally constructed with just wood glue in the grooves and held together with clamps or vises until they are dry.

Making the Doors

    Once you've picked out the design, finish and hardware, it's time to start making the doors. If you are replacing old cabinet doors, use one of them for a template. If you are starting from scratch, measure your opening and add an inch to the vertical and the horizontal measurement. Use 5/8-inch wood, the type of your choice, and cut out as many doors as you need. Using a router and a front face edge bit, give the outside front edges of the doors a nice rounded edge. There are various bits that will make slightly different edges. Once all of the edges are done on the doors, sand them down with a fine grit sandpaper to give them a smooth finish. Wipe them clean of all sand dust and paint, stain or use Tung oil on them. If you use stain, you will need to seal them with a stain sealer or polyurethane coating.

Installing the Doors

    Next, install two no-bore concealed hinges on the inside of each door. You will need No. 6 pan head screws. These hinges won't show on the outside of the cabinet, so it gives a smooth finish to your door. The hinges will come with instructions but are normally mounted about an inch from the top and bottom of the door. Lastly, install the handles or knobs. Position them where you want them and mark the screw location with a pencil. Measure to the mark or marks and transfer the marks to the back of the door. Drill from the back, insert the screw and put on the knob. Turn until it is tight. Check the door for how level it is and adjust the hinges if need be.

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