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What kind of joint is best for kitchen cabinet doors?

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Forum topic by stefang posted 1754 days ago 5693 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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stefang

12597 posts in 1937 days


1754 days ago

Our kitchen cabinet doors are traditional construction with raised panel and framed with regular stiles and rails construction which I built myself many years ago. However, a few years ago I made six hanging cabinets for my workshop using mitered half-lap construction on the frame and panel doors. The panel is 3/8” chipboard, not glued in. These cabinets have remained very stable and the door frames seem very strong. I like the mitered look and I am considering using this type of construction on a new set of kitchen doors. But before I do this, I would feel more comfortable if I knew this type of construction would be suitable for that purpose, so I would appreciate any good advice before I make the leap.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.


10 replies so far

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1469 posts in 2728 days


#1 posted 1753 days ago

I just made a whole bunch of mitered floating tenon doors for my kitchen, I’ll tell you in a decade how they hold up, but I had the devil of a time getting them apart after my dry fit…

I think mitered half-lap should be just fine!

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/User:DanLyke

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112001 posts in 2180 days


#2 posted 1753 days ago

Hey Mike
Fine woodworking had a strength test on door joinery and half lap was the strongest.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2697 posts in 1889 days


#3 posted 1753 days ago

In our production door shop we use the traditional cope & stick joint. Having done thousands & thousands of doors over the last 40 years, I don’t remember ever having one come back due to the joint failing. When the door is dropped or abused it will usually break the wood around the joint, but the joint itself doesn’t come apart. That said, Fine Woodworking recently tested joints and showed the cope and stick to be somewhat weak. My question is, how often do you put 1000 lbs of mechnical pressure against the corner of your kitchen cabinet doors. I think the test of time is much more important to me. Now is it better than your mited joint? I’m not real sure. I would say do whatever you like best. Both joints will work for you.

-- She thought I hung the moon--now she just thinks I did it wrong

View degoose's profile

degoose

6979 posts in 1958 days


#4 posted 1753 days ago

And then dowel pin the mitre as well never move then LOL

-- Drink twice... and don't bother to cut... @ lazylarrywoodworks.com.au For lovers of all things timber...

View UnionLabel's profile

UnionLabel

660 posts in 1803 days


#5 posted 1753 days ago

I think if you go out now and look at what is coming out of most cabinet factories today is going to be cope and stick joint with pocket hole screws. There has been a big swing toward pocket hole usage as of late. And not just in the face frames. I am seeing it more and more especially in large full overlay doors.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View stefang's profile

stefang

12597 posts in 1937 days


#6 posted 1753 days ago

Thank you one and all for the very helpful comments.

I have cope and stick cutters for my combi machine shaper and I used them for the existing cabinet doors, but since no one had anything negative to say about the mitered half-lap joints, I think I will go with that. I used some router templates to do the Mitered half-laps on my shop cabinet doors and they worked real well. It’s good to know that the half-laps are actually stronger than the cope and stick joints. Not so surprising though, considering the huge glue surface.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View HarleySoftailDeuce's profile

HarleySoftailDeuce

273 posts in 2023 days


#7 posted 1116 days ago

Hi Mike,
I’m going with cope & stick for my skaker doors. A new neighbor of mine is a high end furniture maker (18th century)...and his work is exceptional! He’s mentoring me. I’ve built typical cabinet carcasses from 3/4” ply and attached with Kreg pocket screws;really sturdy. My backs are also 3/4” ply. overkill I know…but its’ my first woodworking project…so ignorance is bliss. Drop me a note for any information I can offer you.

Paul

-- Paul, Bristol,Rhode Island

View Karson's profile

Karson

34861 posts in 3004 days


#8 posted 1116 days ago

I used cope and stick and then put loose tenons (Beadlock) in the joints. I don’t think they will ever come apart.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1762 days


#9 posted 1116 days ago

I’ m doing floating tenon mitered joints for my kitchen cabinet doors as well. I certainly prefer the look.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

2163 posts in 2150 days


#10 posted 1116 days ago

We build a lot of doors and use cope and stick. But if i were doing my own i would prefer to use mitered joint.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

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