Cabinet door quandry

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Forum topic by rhybeka posted 12-28-2010 12:43 AM 1906 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4029 posts in 3144 days

12-28-2010 12:43 AM

Ok, so I’m so close to having this entertainment center finished, and I think I’ve also found the root of my issue… Somewhere along the line the cabinet is not square. Water under the bridge, and I could swear a million times over it was square when I first started… unfortunately too much is done on it to go back and fix it (I need to start one of Ms. Debbie’s woodworking journals to write down all of the lessons from this project!).

My last ‘biggest’ issue is getting the doors to the cabinet to fit. the frames are just kreg-jig frames. I’ll be rabbeting the inside edge to hold a piece of tempered glass once I can get them to fit.The right side door fits, the left is too tall and too wide (hence the belief the box isn’t square). I’m trying to plan my moves carefully since I know if I cut the stretchers, I can’t make them grow again, and I’m also attempting to have the least visual impact I can…ie people would have to look close to tell there’s a size difference. I know this may not be possible, so I’ll settle for function. The hinges are just plain butt hinges – nothing fancy unless it would help? Any tips or tricks would be greatly appreciated. I can provide pics if it would help :) After this, I may just enjoy my statistics class!

-- Beka/Becky - aspiring jill of all trades, still learning to not read the directions.

4 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3670 days

#1 posted 12-28-2010 01:10 AM

I don’t recommend pocket screws for a door you need to trim a lot, but
you’ve probably already drilled the holes. There are a few different ways to
fit an inset door to an out-of-square opening. For your situation, I’d recommend
making an undersized rectangular template, putting it in the opening, and then
use a “frog” (block of wood 2” square” to scribe a 4” undersized outline of
the opening onto the template.

Cut the template down to the line, carefully.

Now place the template on top of your door frame and use the frog to add
the 2” back all around. Now you know where to trim the door to fit. Then
trim it close and fit it to the opening and mark the edges where the gap doesn’t
look right and then carefully work those parts until you get a consistent dark
gap between the door and the opening.

There are variants to this method but this is the basic idea.

More on “Joe frogger” scribing:

View rhybeka's profile


4029 posts in 3144 days

#2 posted 12-28-2010 01:41 PM

Thanks Loren! I’ll have to dig up a piece of cardboard that will fit that space. It seems to be in short supply these days!

-- Beka/Becky - aspiring jill of all trades, still learning to not read the directions.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3502 days

#3 posted 12-28-2010 05:38 PM

When you are fitting/glueing the main cabinet, measure from the upper left corner to the lower right corner, then measure from the upper right corner to the lower left corner (diagonally both ways.) The measurements should be exact otherwise the cabinet isnt square. This is the best way to verify this before the glue sets.

Another way to fit the door now that your cabinet is fixed, is to fit the door that works ok, then remeasure for the door that doest and recut the rails and stiles to fit the unsquare opening. In any event, you want to be careful sanding it to fit since the width of the rails and stiles should match or be very close to the other door otherwise it becomes obvious that one door isnt the same as the other.

Good luck…let us know how you made out.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2799 days

#4 posted 12-28-2010 08:11 PM

When this happens to me, I check both doors on each side and and see which fits better. Once had two doors that everything seemed square but didn’t fit. ended up putting the bottom edge, right hand door on the top edge, left door and the top edge, left door on the top edge, right side. I set the doors together and scribed the inside edges with a pencil.

Used a hand plane to gradually bring the doors together and fit inside. Worked slow and everything worked out.

There are a number of ways to adjust, make sure that you work in increments so nothing goes too far in one direction making the doors look funny. For my kicthen cabinets, had two doors that were measured and cut to the same length but darn, they didn’t look good – made new doors, it was easier.

-- David in Damascus, MD

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