Cabinet door question - Can't visualize it

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Forum topic by lumberjoe posted 07-12-2012 01:51 PM 1530 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2899 posts in 2244 days

07-12-2012 01:51 PM

Among other things, I have been tasked to make a bathroom vanity. The boss wants simple “Mission” style flat panel doors. I will be using cherry.

I would like the flat inserts to be cherry plywood since this is a bathroom. Since they are not raised panel, how do I get them in the rails and styles? I think 1/4” plywood may be too thin. 1/2” plywood doesn’t leave me enough room to cut the rails and styles.

Is 1/4” plywood the answer?


12 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4929 posts in 3956 days

#1 posted 07-12-2012 01:56 PM

Nothin’ wrong with 1/4”.


View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2244 days

#2 posted 07-12-2012 02:00 PM

Thanks bill. I just envision one of my two 6 year olds pulling themselves up on the counter to brush their teeth and putting their foot through the plywood.


View b2rtch's profile


4861 posts in 3044 days

#3 posted 07-12-2012 02:05 PM

Take a piece of 1/4” plywood and kick in it to see if you can break it.
I do not believe that you could. (I am talking about a normal kick, I you really want to break it , you probably could)

-- Bert

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 2947 days

#4 posted 07-12-2012 02:09 PM

I used 1/4 birch plywood on my vanity doors and I think they would work just fine for you, even with kids.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2244 days

#5 posted 07-12-2012 02:11 PM

I’ve done it – when I was 8 in the exact scenario I mentioned above (which is why I asked) on a vanity my dad built in a similar fashion. I didn’t break the panel in the middle. It snapped where it met one of the rails. He ended up replacing both doors with solid wood panels, and built a step stool


View jmos's profile


827 posts in 2365 days

#6 posted 07-12-2012 02:16 PM

Depending on the size of the door, I might be concerned too. My kids love to climb onto the counter by putting their foot on the panel and levering themselves up, putting a lot of stress on the doors.

If you’re still hesitant, you can use thicker ply and rout a rabbet on the edge of the panel to fit into the groove in the rails and stiles. (Let the excess material protrude to the inside.) Could also use 1/2” MDF and veneer the cherry, gives more options for the panel show face; could get something flashy if you like.

-- John

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2244 days

#7 posted 07-12-2012 02:23 PM

jmos, I was thinking about doing that, just worried about hacking up the veneer.

Since this is plywood, how concerned do I need to be about wood movement? My other idea was simply making a face frame for the doors, then rabbeting out a 1/2” on the back side and mounting the plywood panel in there with some batons on the back.


View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2993 days

#8 posted 07-12-2012 03:20 PM

I wouldn’t be concerned about wood movement in a 1/4” panel like that. With ply, I would even partially glue it in place rather than have it free floating like you would need to do for solid wood.

If it were not in a high traffic area like the bathroom vanity or kitchen cabinet, I wouldn’t even see anything wrong with going down to 1/8 ply for a panel in some cases. It isn’t structural and lighter doors make hinges happier.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Bertha's profile


13525 posts in 2688 days

#9 posted 07-12-2012 03:27 PM

1/4” should do you well. I’ve empolyed a simple raised panel before and turned it inside out to get the simple exterior you desire. My raised panel set isn’t for plywood and I’ve been too lazy to mess with the spacers. Good luck!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2244 days

#10 posted 07-13-2012 02:39 PM

Thanks all. I’m going to try out the 1/4” plywood. Bertha, good point. My rail and style cutters are not undersized for plywood either, I didn’t even think of that. I’ll go with the method you suggested


View Enoelf's profile


192 posts in 2259 days

#11 posted 07-13-2012 03:07 PM

This maybe too late, but I used 1/4” plywood for kitchen cabinet doors some time ago. In order to install them, I just routed a 1/4 dado on the inside of the rails and stiles and let the ply float in the groove. It worked quite well. Of course, should one of those panels be broken, it would suck to fix…....

-- Central Ohio, Still got 9 and 15/16 fingers!

View bondogaposis's profile


4723 posts in 2347 days

#12 posted 07-13-2012 04:10 PM

With 1/4” ply you can make the doors using stub tenon joinery and glue the whole shebang styles, rails and panel. Plywood doesn’t move and is a very good option for bathroom cabinet doors.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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