Costly raised panel doors

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Forum topic by seriousturtle posted 05-06-2009 12:36 AM 1468 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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101 posts in 3327 days

05-06-2009 12:36 AM

I’ll try to sum this up quick. I would like advice of what I could do to make some big armoire raised panel doors cheaper. And please advise if you would do something differently (and you probably would). I just finished my first big project, a 3 piece entertainment center with 4 raised panel doors. Painted thank goodness. Next project is 2 stain-grade armoires. The only ply I can get and afford is 3/4 birch, which I hope to stain to match the faceframe. My wife is set on cherry for that. 1st unit will be 4’W and 6’H. 2nd unit will be 5’W and 6’H. This results in big paneled doors. The problem is that those doors added together would be around 50Bf. That’s going to cost too much I think. Rouch cherry here is $3.50bf. Any ideas of what I could make these doors out of. The only thing I could think of would be Cherry ply (and no one sells that around me) with solid stiles/railes, and maybe a cove strip around the panel. Suggestions, or rageful comments about what a newb I am? ~the turtle

-- ~the turtle

10 replies so far

View Frankie Talarico Jr.'s profile

Frankie Talarico Jr.

353 posts in 3353 days

#1 posted 05-06-2009 12:51 AM

Doors are expensive, especially Cherry because it’s already expensive rough….. Have you considered outsourceing that? I won’t make any recomendations, but there are quite a few companies that build to suit, finished or not. I’m sure if you googled it you’ll find results. I bet you can buy pre-fabs for the same price half the price of your lumber and time! Depends on what you’re set-up for. Good luck with that. An alternative is ask the customer if flat panels are an option, more contemporary and it’ll match the “feel” of the room better,(if thats the case), or try multiple doors. upper and lower, sometimes conversations like these land a bigger job than you started.

Every situation is different so be open to change.

-- Live by what you believe, not what they want you to believe.

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3574 days

#2 posted 05-06-2009 12:57 AM

Thats funny you don’y look like a turtle. But you do look serious. LOL
The next best wood that looks close to cherry is maple or silver or large leaf maple the last two cost less than hard rock maple.If you want to do the plywood route you can stain maple plywood to look like cherry also I don’t know what these cost in your area. If the are to much for your budget you could use yellow poplar. This will take more experimenting to get to a cherry color. This will be the most lightly the least expensive. If you are great at finishing you could even try Pine. Another thing I’ve done when my budget is tight is build the cabinet and save up for the material on the doors. If your are a so called Newbie it’s pretty cool that you can even make raised panel doors. I hope this helps some.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3555 days

#3 posted 05-06-2009 01:07 AM

Alder is what they call the “Poorman’s Cherry.” If you can find Alder in your area it would be cheaper than Cherry but looks and finishes like Cherry. We use it alot in our cabinet shop and often mix the woods when we run out of one or the other, especially if they have a dark finish. Hope this helps.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 3323 days

#4 posted 05-06-2009 01:12 AM

As much as I hate to say this, I agree with getneds, meaning the out source thing. While I enjoy making raised panel doors myself, and for most smaller projects I make my own (One to ten doors), also for large projects if they are totally custom. But I have found in a basic kitchen cabinet build, I can order the doors from a local (hour drive away) door factory far cheaper already put together than I can just buy the material for.

Example, a few months ago, we did a kitchen remodel, I built all the cabinets out of red oak, but by buying the doors from them already made, I saved almost 1/3 the cost of each door instead of building them myself. And this was before you even add in labor for building them. This was just cost of material for the doors Vs. buying the doors pre-made.

-- Don S.E. OK

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18269 posts in 3673 days

#5 posted 05-06-2009 03:33 AM

Is it time to learn veenering?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View seriousturtle's profile


101 posts in 3327 days

#6 posted 05-06-2009 03:33 AM

In this situation, my wife and I are the customers. I’m not against flat panels, but I’d like to see some sort of transition from the stiles to the panel, which is why I suggested in the original post that maybe a cove strip of cherry would work. I don’t know if it’s really worth it to outsource for 4 doors. Never looked into it. BTW, the raised panel doors I made are my first attempt, so I still consider myself very green, but very excited about learning new skillsets, which is why my first project was paint grade. Pretty nervous about going stain grade. Back to the subject, my dealer has white oak for almost 1/2 the cost. Can that be finished in the same zip code as cherry, or is that a dead end? Thanks for all the responses. I’m up for learning veenering. ~turtle

-- ~the turtle

View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 3323 days

#7 posted 05-06-2009 03:46 AM

Not sure of what size the doors are you need, but to get raised panels built at the local factory I was talking about, two 6ft by 2ft oak doors cost me $90 apiece. standard size kitchen cabinet doors average about $25 to $30 apiece (As I said, for a comercial job, I can’t even buy the material for that price). They will do one door or a thousand. They also ship (extra of course), if you would like, I can look up their web site and send it to you.

-- Don S.E. OK

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 3988 days

#8 posted 05-06-2009 04:04 PM

Go the veneer route and use mdf as the core.

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View KnotWright's profile


258 posts in 3485 days

#9 posted 05-09-2009 01:52 AM

Ok, my two cents….

Why not build the face frames from solid cherry, then use 1/2” cherry ply as the panel and “build-up” the raised panel using moldings made from solid cherry stock and 1/4” cherry ply for the field.

I built a buffet for a customer, she looked at a piece from a big time furniture store and then asked me to build something that looked like it. Being a southern yankee I wanted to do it the most cost effective way I could.

Oh and Jim he could be a “seriousturtle” because he only gets ahead by sticking his neck out :-) Seriously.

-- James

View seriousturtle's profile


101 posts in 3327 days

#10 posted 05-10-2009 01:37 PM

Oh and Jim he could be a “seriousturtle” because he only gets ahead by sticking his neck out”

nice. Yeah, I had mentioned that “building up” idea in the original post. Still thinking about it. Unless there would be a cool way to use birch ply for the carcase, and use a contrasting wood for the paneled doors. Don’t know about that though. ~the turtle

-- ~the turtle

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