Questions on cabinet doors

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Forum topic by HalfNasty posted 01-16-2010 06:05 PM 2049 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View HalfNasty's profile


3 posts in 3051 days

01-16-2010 06:05 PM

I am an “intermediate” woodworker who builds items for others on occasion. I have been asked to build a liquor cabinet for a customer that would include doors 20” x 20” made out of 3/4” oak. Simple enough. I have problems, however, on how to keep a door this size stable as to warping one way or another. It needs to remain flat so it would close properly years down the road. Also, I need help in determining what type of hinge to use that would support a door this size and weight fully open for years to come. I am new to this site and hope that someone with more experience than I can help me out .

8 replies so far

View GFYS's profile


711 posts in 3469 days

#1 posted 01-16-2010 07:01 PM

how to keep a door this size stable as to warping one way or another

use “stable material”
use standard methods of building a door panel that should probably have been designed differently. (buddy doors)
consider lateral back supports
use 3 axis adjustable hinges
make no promises

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 3198 days

#2 posted 01-16-2010 09:37 PM

I would recommend stick and cope with a floating center panel. Use the .188 spacer balls to stop the center panel from rattling but allows for expansion. You did not state whether this has a face frame or is frameless, but euro style hinges will work and 2 per door will be sufficient. When doors go over 30 inches in height, then use 3 hinges, 42 inches and over use 4, up to 48 ” in height. Something like a 170 degree Blum hinge should do the trick. This table should help you out as well.

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

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3283 days

#3 posted 01-17-2010 06:04 AM

HalfNasty, I’m not sure the style door you want to make, but it sounded like maybe a solid flat door. If so, there would be a couple ways to do that. If you are going to glue up solid oak to 20” in width, I would suggest you don’t go over 5” wide with each board and flip the growth rings on every other board. Make sure your lumber is flat and stable to start with. All wood is going to expand and contract during seasonal changes, so it’s impossible to know for sure if they will stay flat. Another note: When you finish, make sure you seal both sides and all edges equally. Another way to do a flat door is do it in Oak Plywood with a solid wood edging. Actually some people likes this look better ( more of a modern look). Make sure you get good Plywood ( at least 7 ply). The more plys, the more stable. Usually your big box stores sell a 5 ply, so check it out if you go that route. Either style door, you should be fine with two hinges per door. Are these going to be a full overlay, 3/8 inset or full inset? I’m with UnionLabel, use the euro style hinges if you can. They will handle the weight and lots of adjustment after they are mounted. And you can always do a 5 piece, stile and rail with a flat panel. A totally different look, but usually pretty easy to keep stable. Good luck and drop me a line if you have any questions.

-- John @

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3066 days

#4 posted 01-17-2010 06:20 AM

If this is to be a solid door (i.e. a slab), I would use a piece of MDF core oak plywood with an edge banding. I did several slab style beech doors a couple of years ago and used iron-on edge banding.

If you want a flat panel door, a regular cope and stick frame with a 1/4” ply panel would work just fine.

For a raised panel door, I would make cope and stick rails and stiles at least 2.25” wide, and shoot a couple of brads into each joint from the back.

For hinges, I would use two cup hinges.

Like John says above, skip the big box plywood. For plywood slab doors, I use A1 ply from a real lumberyard.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View rhett's profile


742 posts in 3665 days

#5 posted 01-17-2010 04:48 PM

As much as I enjoy helping out other woodworkers and sharing what knowledge I myself continually gain over the years, I am going to have to be an ass on this one. Let me start by saying that I am no master by any sence of the word. With that said, there are certain fundamentals one should have a firm grasp of before trying to get paid for the craft. Some of which I feel are woodmovement and door construction. This is not a persoanl attack on you HalfNasty. This is my venting on a subject I am seeing more and more frequently on this forum. Woodworkers with just enough knowledge to be dangerous and then trying to get paid for it.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3323 days

#6 posted 01-17-2010 05:08 PM

Hi Rhett – I understand your point but there is no telling from above what HalfNasty has already declared with his customer (who is probably a friend of a friend of a friend?).

As long as individuals are honest, and declare their level of expertise and what they need to research in order to perform the job – then they are setting the right expectations. People who go to non-professionals know what they are doing. They are trying to save money. Makes me think of the episode in Faulty Towers where Basil insisted to hire the Irish contractor and ended up losing his dining room entrance.

I myself have had many different hobbies in the past and when friends of friends of friends (etc) saw what I did and would ask me to do something for them and pay me for it. I always declared my level of expertise and told them the risk they were taking – it’s THEY who always insisted to proceed… Luckily, I have never had a disaster and took rework (caused by myself) on myself. But then, I was never trying to make a living on this. Just side projects.

I agree. I live by that quote.

Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744), An Essay on Criticism, 1709:

“A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again.”

View Dave's profile


26 posts in 3065 days

#7 posted 01-19-2010 05:34 AM

Hi HalfNasty i to am fairly new to woodworking. The info from the other guys above is great. I think its great that you want to build and maybe make a couple of bucks doing it. Asking questions on what ever your
not sure is great. I think all the Lumber Jocks out there are more than willing to help out .( Well most of
them ) Oh and as far as just enough knowledge to be dangerous and try to get paid for it Dont listen to that.
Good luck
I hope you learn lots from fellow Lumber Jocks and Make Money doing your work.

-- Dave

View Artie2's profile


6 posts in 3048 days

#8 posted 01-20-2010 01:49 AM

That was a great episode of FT. I believe the venerable “O’Reilly” was the Irishman.

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