Door width on small cabinet

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Forum topic by Betsy posted 01-15-2008 04:36 AM 981 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Betsy's profile


3392 posts in 4129 days

01-15-2008 04:36 AM

I’m going to be making a small cabinet for an aquarium. The main body is only 26 inches wide with a 1” frame around the face. I’m thinking two small doors may look odd. Do you think I should go with one door or two? I want to do the door in a frame and panel style. The other thing to consider is the height of the cabinet – it’s going to be around 36” high to meet the needs that they want to have.

I’ve drawn it out a couple of ways and (being such a good artist) I just can’t picture it very well. I can’t decide if one door will seem to big and two doors each will be to small.

What are your thoughts?

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

9 replies so far

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4108 days

#1 posted 01-15-2008 05:43 AM

As a rule of thumb I usually use two doors on cabinets wider than 24”. But that’s just a general guideline I use, not a hard and fast rule.

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View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4108 days

#2 posted 01-15-2008 11:45 AM

Personal choice: I’d go with two.

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4224 days

#3 posted 01-15-2008 12:37 PM

Check out my projects and you’ll find I did the same thing. I built a corner cabinet for mine and I can tell ya, one little door just don’t cut it! You need access to the entire cabinet, whether it be one big door or two small doors. Also I find that large doors have more “leverage” when leaned on, which is bound to happen, and results in ripped out hinges, etc. Plus, water weighs like 8lbs per gallon…So my 45 gallon aquarium holds 360lbs of water! Consider this and build your stand strong enough to hold whatever weight the aquarium will hold. 3/4” ply is pretty much the norm here. Reinforcement blocking is a must.

Hope this helps. And let us see it when you’re done!

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 4173 days

#4 posted 01-15-2008 12:49 PM

It seems to me that two doors definitely give a visual symmetry and at that height, long and narrow doesn’t look bad. Like Dadoo said, a single door swings out wider and provides a certain amount of undesirable leverage.

-- Working at Woodworking

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 4114 days

#5 posted 01-15-2008 03:34 PM

i also would use two doors . if they are overlay doors w/ euro style hinges they will overlap the faceframe 1/2 in. leaving you 1/2 in . of faceframe showing i usually make my frames wider than 1 in. and the bottom rail at least 4 in. so the doors arent too close to the floor and will clear your toes ! just my 2 cents (plus tax ) lol

View Betsy's profile


3392 posts in 4129 days

#6 posted 01-15-2008 04:02 PM

It seems that two doors win. Thanks for the advice guys.

Dadoo – this particular aquarium is only going to hold hermit crabs so I’m not to concerned about weight – but the leverage on the door I think is a good point—I know this family and the leverage issue I think is something to consider. So two door.

I’m planning to blog this project when it gets started. Hopefully you guys will follow the blog and tell me where I’m messing up!

Thanks again.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4108 days

#7 posted 01-15-2008 04:35 PM

Betsy, it may only be planned for hermit crabs, but one day when the kids are grown and married, their spouse might want fish, and since they already have this aquarium …

You might consider building it to handle the weight, just in case.

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View Betsy's profile


3392 posts in 4129 days

#8 posted 01-15-2008 08:03 PM

That’s probably not a bad idea Peter.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4127 days

#9 posted 01-15-2008 08:32 PM

I echo Peter’s comment.

Our 65 gallon aquarium that used to hold fish, now holds some kinds freaky lizard that bites.

I might consider a wider face frame with top rails, bottom rails, and stiles being wide, like 4” plus minus. I might even consider the top rail going from side to side, sitting atop the side stiles…....better wieght displacement. The put a single door in it. The wieght of an aquarium can be cause for a lifetime of door adjustments.


-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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