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Cut down and resize cabinet door

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Forum topic by ravensrock posted 06-20-2017 02:30 AM 1617 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ravensrock

465 posts in 1479 days


06-20-2017 02:30 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question router refurbishing

Hello all,

Would it be possible or worth it to try to resize these cabinet doors? New cabinets now have an 18” vertical opening and the width remains the same. So I’d need to cut off about 3” from these doors. How would you go about this? I thought about cutting off the 3” from the top of the door and trying to reuse the top rail. Then I’d have to put a new cove along the top of the panel and redo the joints where the top rail meets the stiles. I have a Freud raised panel bit set but not sure how close it is to the profile in the picture.

This is for a potential customer but it seems like a lot of work. Or am I complicating this in my head? Thanks for any feedback!

-- Dave, York, PA, Wildside Woodworking


14 replies so far

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Madmark2

372 posts in 425 days


#1 posted 06-20-2017 02:35 AM

Make new.

M

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

9627 posts in 3484 days


#2 posted 06-20-2017 02:42 AM

It’s generally not a practical use of time
to cut down raised panel doors. I agree
new ones are a better way to go.

You may be able to re-use the panels
but matching profiles used on commercially
made doors is not at all easy to do, so
you’d have to try re-cutting the raised
panel bevels. It very well might not yield
an acceptable result so I wouldn’t quote
the job as if the doors were going anywhere
but the trash.

Customers often have clever ideas for themselves
to save money at the expense of a big, dumb
hassle for the cabinetmaker.

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

3115 posts in 3068 days


#3 posted 06-20-2017 02:44 AM



Make new.

M

- Madmark2

+1 What he said. Otherwise, it will look like you cut three inches off the height. :-)

Tape off 1 1/2 inches on each end and take a look for yourself. Pretty sure it won’t look good, and the integrity of the door will be compromised at the four joints.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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Gilley23

385 posts in 219 days


#4 posted 06-20-2017 02:47 AM

If you were going to paint the doors, then I’d say cut them down. You can hide the cuts with filler and paint. With a door that will be left with the wood showing like it is, I would make new doors. There’s no good way that I can think of to make it look like a professional job by cutting it down.

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ravensrock

465 posts in 1479 days


#5 posted 06-20-2017 03:01 AM

Thanks for the replies. I was thinking the same thing. Might just pass on this job or offer to make new ones.

-- Dave, York, PA, Wildside Woodworking

View Rich's profile (online now)

Rich

1980 posts in 426 days


#6 posted 06-20-2017 03:38 AM

This was posted on Popular Woodworking last week by one of their new contributors:

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodworking-blogs/editors-blog/resize-a-door-thats-too-tall

It looks like a good technique, but again, not sure it’s worth it for you.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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ravensrock

465 posts in 1479 days


#7 posted 06-20-2017 03:46 AM

Thanks for the link Rich. That’s basically what I was thinking of doing but I think the doors I’m looking at will be more difficult given they’re not just a plywood panel.

-- Dave, York, PA, Wildside Woodworking

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MT_Stringer

3115 posts in 3068 days


#8 posted 06-20-2017 04:01 AM


Thanks for the link Rich. That s basically what I was thinking of doing but I think the doors I m looking at will be more difficult given they re not just a plywood panel.

- ravensrock

I think if you cut some off of both of the long ends, the door might just come apart in your hands. The mortise and tenon would be damaged leaving nothing for support. Good idea to pass. And tell them I said it is a bad idea. :-)

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View jbay's profile

jbay

1857 posts in 736 days


#9 posted 06-20-2017 04:01 AM

I did a couple of mitered doors that worked pretty good, but because they were mitered at the corners I didn’t have to re-do any profiles. A little different situation than cope and stick style.

I would probably pass on them myself.
You would have to knock the rail and stile apart and hope they don’t split and crack.
If they came apart good the rest is easy doing the panel profile the way I did below, but you would still have to match the outside profile on the stiles.

Here is what I did if it gives you any ideas for doing it.

-- If anyone would like to see my Portfolio, PM me and I would be glad to send you the link.

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

9627 posts in 3484 days


#10 posted 06-20-2017 04:06 AM

The difference in the situation is that the
author of the article made the doors so
she has the tooling on hand to recut the
the joints.

I have tried several times to match door
profiles for clients from catalogs of router
bits and never succeeded, often not even
coming close.

View Mike_D_S's profile

Mike_D_S

325 posts in 2051 days


#11 posted 06-20-2017 01:31 PM

So I did a job just like this a month ago. Guy had installed a farmhouse type sink where the sink apron extended down over the existing cabinet door opening. Doors needed to be cut down about 3”.

While I would generally agree with making new doors, if you don’t have the right raised panel bit, then aren’t you going to have to buy one either way for new doors to they match. So for just a couple of doors, I question the “make new” philosophy as being cost effective for you or the client. Especially as the raised panel doesn’t seem to be a complex curved profile.

I went the route of cutting the door just above the bottom rail (mine were lower doors). Then I used a chisel to score the joint lines on the face and back of the rail to make sure the visible faces wouldn’t splinter. On one side I was able to basically rubber mallet the stile off. The other I basically had to saw off close to the rail tenon and then I cleaned the rail up with a chisel.

For the panel, I basically used a series of cuts on the TS to set the basic profile and then used a combination of a small block plane and sanding to get it basically close enough to the original profile so no one looking at it would know any different.

Glued the panel and rail back in to the frame and then used a cove bit to set the edge profile on the front of the door and an ogee for the roundover to shape the stile ends. These got me pretty close and then I just gave it a bit more hand sanding to blend everything in.

Touch up the finish on the door bottom and I was done. Total time was a relaxed pace 2 1/2 hours for both doors and the guy was happy to pay an amount we both felt was fair. I made a reasonable amount per hour and generated some good word of mouth.

As a hobby guy with a full time job, I don’t really advertise. So doing small jobs likes this tends to generate enough work through word of mouth to keep me busy and make some extra money.

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

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ravensrock

465 posts in 1479 days


#12 posted 06-20-2017 03:41 PM

Nice work jbay. And thanks for the ideas Mike. I decided to just be up front with the guy and tell him I’d give it a try but it might not be a good outcome. I figured he can decide if he wants to take a chance or choose another option. I’m always up for a challenge. And sometimes I need to learn things the hard way!

-- Dave, York, PA, Wildside Woodworking

View Mike_D_S's profile

Mike_D_S

325 posts in 2051 days


#13 posted 06-20-2017 04:14 PM

In my case, I gave the guy 3 prices.

1: The discount option. I’ll just cut out a piece towards the bottom of the door and then glue everything back up together. There will be a visible cut line, but I’ll do my best to try and make it as clean as possible. Stain color and finish not an issue.

2: The mid option: What I explained above, with the clear expectation that the repair might be visible to someone looking close enough, but wouldn’t be visible to the casual observer, especially on the door backs. Minimal risk of not being able to get a good stain match as most of the door’s original finish would be preserved. And most of the new stain area is on an angled surface, so any small variations would be less obvious.

3: The high end option: Make a new set of doors and do my best to match the original finish. Higher cost for both of us as I would need the specific raised panel bit and cover at least some of that cost. Also the biggest risk that while the doors looked great from a construction standpoint, any mismatch to the finish would actually stand out to someone looking at the cabinets.

So after going through all that, he chose #2 and we were both happy. I got lucky and doors turned out great, but even if they had a few little imperfections, he had already made up his mind that the he was willing to accept any little things.

So you can try to frame it like that as well. If he opts for #3, you get a nice panel raising bit but have to really think about the stain matching. If he goes for #2 like my guy, the stain matching worry is reduced and you’re work needs to be quality, but not new construction quality.

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

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ravensrock

465 posts in 1479 days


#14 posted 06-20-2017 04:57 PM

All good suggestions Mike. I sent him an email and will see how he responds.

-- Dave, York, PA, Wildside Woodworking

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