How to Route a design in a MDF cabinet door?

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Forum topic by Sailor posted 11-27-2012 02:19 PM 7166 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Sailor's profile


543 posts in 2685 days

11-27-2012 02:19 PM

I have been looking and looking online for a solution but I can’t seem to find what I need, or enough of it.

I am trying to find a simple and inexpensive way to route a design in a solid MDF cabinet door. Not a fancy design, just a groove a inset a couple inches from the outside of the door.

Is there a special jig that can be made that will accommodate different size doors? I have an idea in mind but Im not sure it’s the best possible solution….

What I envision is basically clamping 1 1/2” straight edges all the way around a cabinet door and then just running my router around the edges. Doing this will require me to cut one piece every time (but if I started with the largest doors I wouldn’t really be wasting any).

I recall one time I went into a cabinet shop and they had a router that was mounted on rails of some sort that they used to do this type of thing, it was all manually operated but the had adjustable guide rails. I know this is something I don’t want to have to fork out the money for…....

Any ideas?

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

5 replies so far

View ChrisK's profile


1794 posts in 2501 days

#1 posted 11-27-2012 02:56 PM

The few times I did this I made a jig, read pattern, to hold the router against. You need to be careful to keep the router tight against the template. Look at and his pantograph design. Holding the router tight against the template is not always as easy as it sounds.

-- Chris K

View waho6o9's profile


7119 posts in 1996 days

#2 posted 11-27-2012 03:03 PM

Lay it out, line it up, check for square, and hope for the best.

Your’s will turn out fine Dothan, you do good work. Maybe break the
edges with sand paper.

View a1Jim's profile


115172 posts in 2997 days

#3 posted 11-27-2012 03:20 PM

Both of the above answers will work fine,just a piece of ply in the middle of your panel either double stick taped or with a couple pin nails works fine with a pattern making router bit.

-- Custom furniture

View casual1carpenter's profile


354 posts in 1895 days

#4 posted 11-27-2012 04:27 PM

Sailor, perhaps a jig similar to this but no taper. The width could be adjusted to locate the grove distance in from the edge of the door. Make the jig longer than your longest cut and you would just need to fashion a set of end stops. Just a thought….

View Sailor's profile


543 posts in 2685 days

#5 posted 11-27-2012 05:55 PM

Thanks for the great replies!

Jonathan, I really like your idea! I think I’ll use that design and maybe tweak it just a bit! THanks!

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

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