Kitchen Cabinets #1: Kitchen cabinet doors

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Blog entry by Dan Lyke posted 08-26-2008 02:09 AM 3498 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Kitchen Cabinets series Part 2: Working on a countertop »

I debated whether I should put this entry here or over at HomeRefurbers, but that site really hasn’t taken off yet, and the process of coming up with our kitchen cabinets is feeling a whole lot more like woodworking than it is home improvement. Although an upgrade from the 1 person 1947 kitchen will certainly be an improvement.

My arm was good enough this weekend to play in the shop again. My main project was to mock up a prototype to some lightweight appliance lift ideas I’ve had, we want to put the toaster and the vacuum sealer and the blender on appliance lifts, but we want something small, that only takes up 8” or so of vertical underneath the counter, and we don’t need to be swinging a big heavy weight, like a huge mixer, that most of the commercial appliance lifts are engineered for. My prototypes aren’t worth showing off yet, but I also whipped together a second prototype door so that I could become familiar with these newfangled “euro hinge” thingies (kids these days, what will they come up with next, eh?).

So this is a pair of practice doors mounted on a box made of cheap exterior grade plywood.

The frames are Eastern maple that we bought for cheap off Craigslist from a local guy who makes stamp handles. This is his scrap, some of it is beautifully figured heart/sap interface, some of it is just utility maple, but we like the look. The panels are Peruvian mahogany reclaimed from box beams, these are glued up from narrow pieces because this is just prototyping to see if we like it, the actual panels will be one piece for the full width.

The difficult part of these doors is that the frame is mitered. If you’ve ever tried to get 45.0000°, you’ll understand. Also, because I’m cutting with the Festool saw on a rail rather than a table saw, ripping to width takes a little bit of care. I’m getting better at both of those things. The miters are joined with loose tenons (Dominos).

We’re trying to figure out what catch and spring mechanisms we may use, I’m pushing for a handle of some sort, either carved out of mahogany or some darker wood, Charlene’s preferences seem to be running towards the “push to open” mechanisms, but I’m not so much a fan because I think they always get stuck in the wrong position, misfire, and don’t look terribly good.

Feels good to get back in the shop.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

3 comments so far

View Zuki's profile


1404 posts in 4645 days

#1 posted 08-26-2008 02:38 AM

Glad to hear you are back in the shop after the skating accident. I like the door design and the contrasting mahogany. If you are using the 35mm blum system the hinges should keep the doors closed.

-- BLOG -

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4882 days

#2 posted 08-26-2008 02:38 AM

I like the almost log look of your rails and stiles. If you went with a face frame you could just route a finger pull and forget knobs and “push to open hardware”. With the funny Euro hinge, get them self closing and forget the latches. Boy do I know what you mean about 45.0000000…Thats why I buy 55 gal drums of wood puddy.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4693 days

#3 posted 08-26-2008 03:28 AM

Zuki, I’m currently just using the basic Home Despot hinge, I think it’s branded “Liberty Hardware”. I’m not terribly impressed, but it’s not the worst hinge I’ve ever used. I’ve put a $2.50 soft-close piston on it, just to see how it works, but going with the Blum with the integrated soft-close sure seems like a better way.

Dennis, the only problem I’ve got with the routed finger-pulls is that in a few places we’re planning on having the doors just meet in the center without having a backing frame. Might be able to put pulls on the bottom or top of the door otherwise, though.

Re: the wood putty, the most I’ll give myself is cyanoacrylate in the joint before I sand, but then I’ve got to remember to not use the Festool sander, ‘cause I want the sawdust. That maple is so light that anything more than a hairline shows up really strongly. I’m getting a lot better at the process though, I cut just a hair less (we’re talking thousandths measured 2’ out the fence) than 45° and clamp strongly.

Oh yeah, I should also note that these doors just have a coat of thinned shellac to fill the pores. The panel on the right has also had a layer of silica based pore filler, but we’re still experimenting with the right way to dye and apply that, and then we’ll be doing a polyurethane over that. Probably a few coats of water-based hand-rubbed poly.

Aaaand, it’s also my hope that as the maple ages it’ll turn that beautiful orange that’ll glow really nicely against the mahogany.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

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