installing Flush mount cabinet doors

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Forum topic by Michigander posted 08-23-2012 07:05 PM 10426 views 3 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Michigander's profile


220 posts in 2388 days

08-23-2012 07:05 PM

I have chosen to put flush mount doors on my cherry TV cabinet. I plan to use a somewhat traditional looking full wrap hinge from Woodcraft ( I am looking for instructions as to how to fit the doors to the faceframe and how to install the hinges. The doors were built somewhat oversized so I need to shave some material to get them to fit. I also found out how perfect the faceframe has to be to have a square door fit in the faceframe. (Next time I will build the doors first and then the faceframe!) What is the proper spacing around the door? Anything special I need to know about installing the hinges?
I did a search on the site for videos, but most just deal with kitchen cabinet hiddden hinges.
Thanks for your help?

15 replies so far

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3254 days

#1 posted 08-24-2012 01:42 PM

John, You posted a good question. Usually if either the faceframe opening or the door is not square, then you basically have to hand fit each door to the opening. Since you usually can’t do much about the opening if it’s out of square, you have to make your adjustments to the door. You can do this a number of ways, like using a hand plan, power plan, belt sander, etc; but I usually just do it on the table saw. How do you trim a door so it’s out of square? I do it by simply taping a small shim to the fence side opposite of the side I want to trim. Example: If I want to remove a little from the top right of the door (height),then I would tape a small shim to the bottom right side of the door that would go against the fence. Important note: The full width or length of your door has to ride against the fence for this to work, so if your fence is not long enough, just clamp a temporary fence that is long enough so your door can ride against the fence all the way through. One of the best shims you can make is from a Laminate sample for countertops. I’m sure you don’t have any of those laying around, but if you go to your local big box store and pick out a couple laminate samples for a countertop and you will have it. You can make your own shims from anything, but remember, you only want to remove a little at a time. Note; if your bottom rail of your opening is parallel to the top rail, then you can flip your door and trim a little from the bottom of the door without using a shim. (you do the same for the width of the door) Just remember to take very small cuts at a time to get the proper alignment. I like to have a 3/32” reveal around my doors, (the door will be 3/16” smaller then the opening). I believe a lot of cabinet shops allow a 1/8” reveal ( the door will be 1/4” smaller then the opening); I just like a little tighter reveal. the tighter the reveal, the less room for adjustment and movement of the doors to the opening. I tried your link for the hinges, but didn’t find them, so I’m not sure how much you have to allow for them. Again, I like using the formica samples to use as a spacer when mounting my doors. Two to three formica samples together will give you about 3/32” to 1/8 gap. Good luck and I hope I didn’t confuse you too much. I’m sure there are better ways to fit doors, this is simply the way I do it.

-- John @

View mountainaxe's profile


141 posts in 2474 days

#2 posted 08-25-2012 04:32 PM

Take a look at the latest Shopnotes magazine. It has a cabinet project using flush mounted doors and shows how to fit, mount, etc. It also suggests using decorative face mounted hinges.

-- Jeff, "The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me."

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4907 posts in 3929 days

#3 posted 08-25-2012 04:57 PM

I just use dimes for spacing. Then I loose ‘em in the shop.


View chip73's profile


55 posts in 2182 days

#4 posted 08-25-2012 06:03 PM

I just finished a project with flush doors. My opening was not square and I spent a lot of time getting the doors to fit. I planed and sanded, tried my patience. Will go with Huff’s suggestion next time – however I will spend much more time getting my opening square. I too use the Formica samples.

-- Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3862 days

#5 posted 08-25-2012 07:04 PM

I do it basically the same way huff does it.

I have found that the space left between doors is somewhat determined by the season I build them in. I.E., if I assemble doors, fit doors in the winter with zero humidity, I allow for greater gaps, otherwise the doors expand enough during the summer to cause grief………and visa versa

You can also cheat, having a fitted door but use a concealed euro hinge

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

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 3105 days

#6 posted 08-25-2012 07:39 PM

I would use a table saw sled like this one to trim the doors to fit. For a quick version, fix a miter slot runner onto the bottom of a flat scrap of ply and run it through your saw to trim the “business side” of the sled. Mark your door front, then line the mark up on the trimmed side of the sled. Use some scrap blocks screwed into the plywood to clamp the door in place.

-- Greg D.

View Creator's profile


4 posts in 1920 days

#7 posted 01-24-2013 01:46 PM

I’m working on a project just like what your talking about and after doing some research I have decided to use european hidden blum hinges but I want to know if what I’m thinking is ok for installing the doors so I added some pic’s of my cabinet, in the pic’s the doors will be in the middle and open oppisite of eachother, please someone give me some feedback and I’m not a pro so I’m not good with the carpenter talk,

-- I love being a DIYer

View Bernie's profile


422 posts in 2806 days

#8 posted 01-25-2013 03:42 AM

Like Huff and Bill, my favorite spacers are craft sticks (aka Popsicle sticks). It’s a good idea to originally build your door to the exact measurement of the opening and shave it down to size. Huff’s table saw method is right on but I tend to leave a smidget extra. Table saws can take out some serious wood and I get nervous jumping into the final fit using a ts. I shave off that extra with a hand plane and cabinet scrapers.

-- Bernie: It never gets hot or cold in New Hampshire, just seasonal!

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 2473 days

#9 posted 01-25-2013 04:14 AM

Wow, what a great thread. Now this is an example of why this site is so great. I have never done flush fit doors (always overlay) but this thread is going to get favorited for the time that I do. You can always find how-to’s and videos on doing it right but the real gems are the information threads on how to get out of mistakes. Thanks everyone… BTW, I agree with Bernie…tablesaw planing is scary. I like to sneak up on shaving with a plane, scraper and sandpaper. Too many things for me to think about when trying to shave a little off one end of a board with a ten inch blade spinning…

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2892 days

#10 posted 01-25-2013 01:12 PM

Creator: I hope you are planning on a “border” for those doors(if I’m looking at your picture correctly) that chipboard will probably warp.

I usually use nickles for spacers.

-- Life is good.

View TelescopeMaker's profile


77 posts in 2989 days

#11 posted 02-14-2013 07:00 AM

Wow, its nice to see that someone else did exactly what I did. Thanks for the fitting tips.

What about attaching the hinges? Do you attach them to the frame first, and then the door, or visa-versa?Holding them in place while I drill is a real juggling act. Any tips for that? My flush doors are on a faceless bookshelf. I am using Rockler partial wrap-around hinges (not the euro ones) I like the style, and I don’t have to put mortices for them.

-- Telescope Maker, Woodworker, Brewer, Gizmologist, Gardner, Lawn Mower

View Bernie's profile


422 posts in 2806 days

#12 posted 02-14-2013 03:21 PM

I use butt hinges that are a lot like the ones you linked here. I prefer the ones that removable pins. I just find it easier to mount the doors that way. I install the ones on the cabinet first, then match the door using the same measurement, say 2 inches – (minus) the 1/8 inch gap or thickness of whatever you used for fitting the door. One other little hint, always measure from the bottom for both bottom and top hinges.

-- Bernie: It never gets hot or cold in New Hampshire, just seasonal!

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3862 days

#13 posted 02-15-2013 03:40 AM

Ditto on Bernies comment for removable pin and measuring from the bottom up, …..

A lot can go wrong and witnessing it is both fun and tragic

Of all the things I have ever built, where doors work flawlessly through the timeless perfection of fine joinery, where steel hinge swings like music, where butt hung and fitted doors.

To die for…….worth every minute : ))

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

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3862 days

#14 posted 02-15-2013 03:49 AM

same look, way easier

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

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3862 days

#15 posted 02-15-2013 04:02 AM

try doing an embedded bead mold and and miter back just the bead, place a tenon and run a mortise where stile meets rail, then fit the door to a butt hinge…….. looks easy doesnt it ?……

I find it to be a mathematical solution, where error doesnt and cannot exist otherwise the investment can inch upwards with poor returns : ))

learning how to join wood, has untold rewards

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

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