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Hello everyone, I have been toying around with the idea of building kitchen cabinets for a while now and am finally ready to start. I would like to construct raised panel doors such as the ones pictured below.

Brown Food Product Wood Rectangle


I will finish the cabinets with a white semigloss paint. The panels will be constructed from MDF and the rails and stiles will be constructed from a hardwood. I will use face frames and cup hinges (most likely).

My first question would be what type of hardwood is typically used for a painted finish?
Secondly what sort of bit would be required for the MDF raised panel?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Jtm, I was thinking poplar but was concerned about durability and was leaning more towards maple. I just didn't know if using maple was a bit silly because of the painted finish.

Mlcs does have router bits for raised panels, I was just concerned about using them on MDF.

So I will use maple for the rails and stiles.

So my next problem is the the profiles of the rails and stiles become less than 3/4" after I route the face detail on them. This would not be ideal for cup hinges which is what I would prefer to use. So I will need 1" stock. I haven't been able to find that for maple and I do not own a jointer or a planer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Tim, thanks for the heads up. I'm not familiar but after researching I see that it machines well and has a finer grain texture which is desirable. My only concern is that it isn't hard enough to deal with my kids.

I don't know how to guage the suitability of a material, so poplar and alder may actually be fine, I just need some reassurance. I will be spending a lot of time and money on this project and would hate to regret my choice of materials.
 

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Have you looked into Beech. It is pretty hard and paints well. I haven't used it to make cabinets but I have used it for other things. Again I am not sure what you have available in your area but it may be worth looking into.

I have used both alder and poplar to build cabinets. Both tend to run on the soft side so that may be a bit of a challenge with kids. Have you decided what material you are going to use for your finished ends. As a suggestion Red Birch works well. Several years ago I did a kitchen for someone using Alder for the face frames and Red Birch for the finished ends. I stained it cherry and shot it with clear lacquer. This combo worked well.
 

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I would be hesitant to build a mitered door without adequate tooling. In fact back in my pre shaper days I owned one of those router cutters. It was good learning exp. One thing I learned was that my router table set up was inadequate and down right dangerous. If u like the mitered doors I can get u a set of those type doors for an extremely fair price and there is a decent variety of profiles to choose from and they are extremely high quality. And paint grade maple would be my choice.

But if u want the pride of doing it all yourself, just make sure your set up is more than adequate. Some set ups are going to be far superior than others. An inferior set up will produce inferior quality of cut and could be potentially not safe.
 

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All of our painted cabinets are built with Maple. Paint grade works just as well as premium and can cost a lot less money.

I think I would take Jerry's advice and let him purchase those doors for you. It takes some skill to make mitered doors like with those profiles and learning could get expensive, and painful.

Follow his advice on set up too if you decided to build them yourself.
 

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I would be hesitant to build a mitered door without adequate tooling.
Amen to that!

I wouldn't want to build cabinet doors without being able to straighten and flatten the stock--and bring it all to exactly the same thickness. For me, that means jointer and planer (and table saw). If you have the time and patience, there are hand-tool methods, but jeez…

I suggest you try one practice cabinet before you commit to a whole kitchen. You MIGHT be able to buy flat, straight stock from a supplier, but I've never seen it in 30+ years in the business. Mitered doors with twisted stock will be frustrating at the least.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have a kreg router table with a 3 1/4 horse triton router with lift. A cabinet table saw with accurate crosscut sled and very good sliding compound miter. Also have a mortising machine if I wanted to mortise the mitered corners. Also have a Fuji mini mite 4 stage hvlp, delta 14" band saw, and floor model jet oscillating spindle sander, and jet drill press. I've been stocking up for the occasion. I do have a pocket hole jig for the face frames. I will purchase a jointer soon but will probably just buy flattened and jointed stock for this project (I heard others speak of this and have seen some online).

As far as buying cabintes, well my goal is to get into cabinet making so I have no desire to buy. I'll practice with some cabinets for the garage and other places before focusing on the main event.

Thanks for all the help folks!

I will probably go with 3/4 birch ply for the ends, I've painted this before and had glass like finish.
 

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I'm concerned that you didn't ask - "What kind of paint should I use?" For some reason people think painted cabinets are painted with latex. I know I'm answering a question you're not asking, but, Kem Aqua from Sherwin Williams, tinted to whatever color you want is a proper finish, not "paint".
 

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I m concerned that you didn t ask - "What kind of paint should I use?" For some reason people think painted cabinets are painted with latex. I know I m answering a question you re not asking, but, Kem Aqua from Sherwin Williams, tinted to whatever color you want is a proper finish, not "paint".

- Earlextech
You referring to KemAqua enamel?
 

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You have a few nice tools. Do you have a power feeder that can feed the material through the cutter. A 1 hp power feeder weighs around 150 lbs and would be able to apply decent pressure on the board while providing a consistent speed of feed rate. One design issue with that router bit that I found troublesome was the fact that the cutter is verticle and my board would have to run through on end which has some issues. If the cutter were running horizontally, such as in a horizontal style router table, then downward pressure and forward pressure, with a 150 lb power feeder, could be applied and likely get decent results. My friend runs his crown molding on a 5 hp Delta shaper vertically, like you will need to with the router bit, but he has a much stronger set up and is using a 4 wheel power feeder with the wheels turned towards the fence.

I probably have one of the better set ups for this kind of door style as we run a 5 hp Woodmaster and a 7.5 hp Woodmaster in shop that can run custom profile knives, holds up to 3 knives in the head, and everything is very well controlled and consistent power fed horizontally with great downward pressure to eliminate chatter/vibration issues. This is actually what we use for our kitchen moldings. That said, I would NOT build my own mitered doors. The fact is as good as we are set up, we are no where close to being set up to be able to efficiently run mitered doors while maintaining any high level of quality. There are shops that I know of that have machinery that cost well into the 6 figures that are very well set up to efficiently run those mitered doors with a high level of accuracy and quality. With all of those high priced machines you would think the cost of those doors would be crazy high, but the prices are extremely affordable.

We build several kitchens / new construction projects throughout the year and we have not turned on our awesome shapers for 14 months now. My wife tells me to sell them :) That is not going to happen! One day I plan on retiring and converting our shop into a woodworker's museum of old machinery.

In fact, we are breaking ground for our own home this summer. And I look forward to the mill work portion but I already know I am not building the doors.

Huff (fellow LJ) taught me these hard to learn lessons regarding building our own doors in shop or sourcing them out I (best business decision).

By the way, these are the mitered doors we offer our customers: http://taylorcraftdoor.com/cabinet-doors/mitered-raised-panel/

I have probably said enough, but I have used that particular router bit and it was quite the hair raising experience. Glad I don't do that anymore…
 
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