Panel Thickness for Painted Cabinet Doors

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Forum topic by cpbuck posted 02-16-2018 05:14 PM 1528 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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14 posts in 968 days

02-16-2018 05:14 PM

Hi everyone,

The majority of the cabinet doors in my kitchen have warped and/or have the wood bleeding through the paint. I bought the house from someone who “flipped” the house but all the kitchen cabinets were poorly made out of cheap pine and they didn’t prime anything. My wife asked me to repaint them but I think I will start from scratch which may justify buying a new tool or two….

I want to replace all the doors with a flat panel shaker style door with hard or soft maple for the rails/stiles and a MDF panel for the center. I was planning on the panels being 1/4” but I am struggling to find anyone who sells 1/4” full sheets of MDF. The only place that sells it that I have found so far is Home Depot and I am hesitant about the quality of the material and they only sell quarter sheets.

I have found a few places that sell 1/2” thick sheets of MDF. I was thinking I could maybe cut a rabbet around the panel so the back of the panel is flush with the inside of the door but I would still have a 1/4” inset from the front. I think this is called a reversed raised panel.

Has anyone done this before? Does anyone see any issue with this? I like the idea of a heavier door. I will probably glue the panel into the frame which should make a sturdy door.



1 reply so far

View mnguy's profile


303 posts in 4176 days

#1 posted 02-16-2018 05:30 PM

When I have made painted cabinet doors (2 full kitchens worth), I have used maple veneered 1/4” MDF. It is a true 1/4”, or awfully close, and the veneer gives the panel a wood grain that shows through the paint to match the frames. I also used a rail and stile bit set on the router table, which allowed me to readily dial in the thickness. If you are running shaker style door stock on the table saw, you might need to run two passes with a regular saw blade if you can’t find true 1/4” MDF.

I stayed away from veneered plywood for the panels because a) you can’t find it full 1/4” anywhere and b) it won’t stay as flat as MDF.

I have always fully glued the veneered MDF panels into maple frames and have never had any issues with cracking or warping of doors.

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