The Door to Completion

One question I have gotten about the cabinet job Paul and I are working on is what we are doing for the doors and drawer fronts. Something fancy with raised panels and beaded rails and stiles?  A wildly veneered flat panel door?

Actually, Paul wants to go simple.  Slab doors made of cherry. This way, the doors will match those in the tidy and well laid out kitchen.

And, no, we’re not building them.  He ordered them from Raw Doors online, an outfit that makes all kinds of doors including the basic solid wood slab doors.

Surprising, isn’t it?

Paul had his reasons, and when I left his house this past Saturday, he told them to me.

First, he said that he wanted to learn how to build cabinets.  That’s why he asked me to build them – this way, he could get the cabinets he needed and see how one woodworker does the task.  No truer statement could have been made – we have both learned a lot from this project. Did he need to learn how to edge glue boards together?  No.  That’s pretty much what we would have been doing to build the doors anyway.

Second, there is the time factor. Paul’s a busy guy. And, he also respects the fact that I’m eking out time after work and on weekends.  Building the doors and drawer fronts would have taken a considerable amount of time for all of the glue ups, but only a few weeks when ordered online.

Finally, we’re building this project in Florida. Solid cherry is available here – at a premium price. The cost between the complete set of doors built by Raw Doors and all of the stock wood wasn’t very large, so it made sense economically as well.

Paul and his wife Gail are finishing the doors in their garage, and they are looking very good. Visions of well-aligned drawer fronts and doors enclosing the insides of the project are dancing in my head…

6 thoughts on “The Door to Completion”

  1. Looks great and I will check out the website because I just got yelled at again for not doing the cabinetry I promised. But doing the doors yourself is a great excuse to get the Kreg door beading jig for the frames – then order the insert doors from the web. But the jig is so overpriced it is hard to justify the expense no matter what the circumstances.

    This may be a simple way of looking at things but if you want to bead frames what’s wrong with beading the frame wood prior to assembling the frames – then construct mitered frames and the beading would be in place. Is there something wrong with that concept? You can build a splining jig and reinforce the miters – I did that for some outside vent windows and the miters are still tight after two years of Fl weather.

  2. Well, I wouldn’t think there would be a problem with mitered face frames… If I was going to do that, I might bead them and miter them with a biscuit or pocket screw reinforcement, then attach them to the cabinet. Properly reinforced and glued, I don’t think they would fail….

    Or, if you want beaded face frames, you could just do what Norm did – make up a small beaded molding and glue and pin it to the inside of the frames.. very easy to do..

  3. Very easy … that jig is about production. If you are in a small cabinet shop doing 10 – 15 kitchens a year, that thing will be worth its weight in gold if the customers like the beaded face frame approach. Much cheaper than a full-on commercial system.

    The jig would also make sense if you were doing your own kitchen over. Think about it – high end cabinets may run $10 – 15k for your kitchen, but building them yourself could be in the $3 – 4k range. Tack on $500 for the bead jig, and you are still way ahead.

    Plus, remember, (s)he who dies with the most tools wins!

  4. Tom,

    I wanted to comment on the last photo which presumably is one of the purchased cabinet doors. There could be no better reason NOT to buy doors like this than that photo. Both the color and the grain of the cherry used in that door are mismatched. Especially with such a basic / simple door design, the glue ups wouldn’t have been a back breaker. It should pain all woodworkers to imagine the time and effort in the rest of the project that was marginalized by that door. Not to mention that the doors are the part of the cabinet that get looked at and handled the most.

    I understand and respect the decision that the owner made. Ultimately they are the only ones that need to be satisfied with the end result.


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