Purpose of dado on backs of overlay cabinet doors

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Forum topic by patchencindy posted 12-11-2013 02:07 AM 801 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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32 posts in 1424 days

12-11-2013 02:07 AM

Topic tags/keywords: cabinet doors frame and panel overlay

I’m making slow but steady progress on a floor-to-ceiling kitchen cabinet, to the point where I’m working on the frame-and-panel doors. The cabinet has a face frame, and the doors (3/4” pine with birch plywood panels) are designed to partially overlay the frame. I had originally planned to cut a 3/8” dado on the back edges of the doors so they’d fit into the face frame opening, but now I’m wondering if there’s a purpose or advantage to doing that. Does anyone have thoughts on this?

5 replies so far

View knotscott's profile


7145 posts in 2793 days

#1 posted 12-11-2013 10:06 AM

There may be other more critical reasons, but it allows you to control how much the doors protrude out from the face of the cabinets.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View MacB's profile


38 posts in 1058 days

#2 posted 12-11-2013 10:16 AM

I think its purely aesthetics. I believe this design came out as a variation to US “exposed” hinge hardware. If the rest of your kitchen has this style and you want to continue with it to be consistent, then you should go with it; however, if it were mine, even if it did match my existing kitchen, I would not use the partially inset style. The Hardware is just not as good. Over time the door fit changes. I’ve never seen an older kitchen with this style hinge to maintain perfect door alignment. I highly recommend using a concealed “European” style hinge. The doors are easier to adjust and alignment stays more consistent over time.

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32 posts in 1424 days

#3 posted 12-11-2013 05:50 PM

Got it, knotscott, thanks. And MacB, I really appreciate your explanation. My kitchen doesn’t have built-in cabinets; it’s definitely older style. Think I’ll go with no rabbets and use the European-style hinges. Thanks so much!

View pintodeluxe's profile


4823 posts in 2230 days

#4 posted 12-11-2013 06:28 PM

The rabbeted cabinet door is usually used with the country style kitchen. Like full overlay doors, they are forgiving to install.
For me the choice is between inset and full overlay doors. I wouldn’t use a rabbeted door unless matching existing work.

Good luck.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View patchencindy's profile


32 posts in 1424 days

#5 posted 12-11-2013 07:00 PM

Hey, thanks for the input, pintodeluxe. Glad to hear “full overlay” doors are acceptable for LJs!

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