frame for sliding cabinet doors?

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Forum topic by mzimmers posted 12-16-2012 04:48 PM 5814 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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218 posts in 5257 days

12-16-2012 04:48 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cabinet sliding doors frame

Hi, all -

I’m getting ready to build some cabinets for the garage. Nothing fancy; just a 6’x4’ plywood box with a bunch of shelves. But, as tight as space is, I was thinking of going with sliding doors instead of swingers.

So…good idea/bad idea/other? I was envisioning building a frame, possibly out of 2×4, to accommodate the tracks. But it seems like overkill, and I’d be concerned about the strength (this cabinet will be hanging, so the frame has to support the doors’ weight.)

A semi-related question: what tool/technique would you use if you wanted to take a 2×2 and turn it into a wooden L-bar? Say, relieve a 3/4” square from one corner. I could see doing this with a largish router bit, but…it seems like that’s removing a heck of a lot of wood for a router.


-- M. Zimmers

8 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

7363 posts in 3835 days

#1 posted 12-16-2012 06:30 PM

Sliding doors are a great way to save space that swinging doors need. I’ve done them several times, and simply cut my own tracks out of a very hard unknown species wood I had. The grooves were only 5/16” wide becasue I used 1/4” plywood for the doors. The was just about thick enough to use some recessed brass pulls I found at Lowes. I cut a 2” hole and the pulls fit right in, projecting out the back of the door by maybe 1/16”. 1/4” ply isn’t real stiff, and it does get a slight bow across the height, but this is for shop and garage cabinets, and I didn’t care. Even if you made them out of thicker ply, the weight shouldn’t be a problem for frame. Heavier doors may not slide so smoothly due to the weight, but I’d guess you could put some of that UHMW tape in the lower groove if need…maybe even paste wax would be enough if it’s a problem. Just remember to make the upper grooves much deeper to allow slipping the door in/out of the track.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Ben's profile


507 posts in 4199 days

#2 posted 12-16-2012 06:37 PM

as for the 2X2 to L-bar – two passes on the table saw should easily handle that…

View mzimmers's profile


218 posts in 5257 days

#3 posted 12-16-2012 06:37 PM

1/4” for the doors? Didn’t they warp like crazy? I’ve had lousy luck with any plywood less than 3/4” and warpage.

I guess you’re right, though…you’d want the doors to be light if they’re sliders.

What did you use to cut the tracks? Router or dado?

-- M. Zimmers

View CliffSCCA's profile


16 posts in 3520 days

#4 posted 12-16-2012 07:11 PM

Shopnotes Issue #77 had a cabinet with sliding doors in it. It was basically a rail and stile door frame with 1/4” pegboard panel. I assume you could use 1/4” ply instead. The track was made from a strip of 1/8” aluminum bar set in a dado on the bottom. They used sliding glass door rollers recessed in the bottom of the door panels to make it slide. It’s not air/dust tight, but it seals up fairly nice. Here is a link to the Online portion and if you need a digital copy of the issue, shoot me a PM and I can send it to you.

-- Mmmm....sawdust

View mzimmers's profile


218 posts in 5257 days

#5 posted 12-16-2012 07:16 PM

Thanks, Cliff, but it let me download a copy, so I’m good. Interesting idea to use a metal insert.

I’m still pondering the merits of 1/4” wood for the panels, though; I can just picture them warping like mad.

-- M. Zimmers

View a1Jim's profile


118309 posts in 4919 days

#6 posted 12-16-2012 07:22 PM

I’ve used 1/4” ply for flat panels for years and never had a problem. They hardly have room to move with all four edges in grooves.


View mzimmers's profile


218 posts in 5257 days

#7 posted 12-17-2012 01:20 AM

“as for the 2X2 to L-bar – two passes on the table saw should easily handle that…”

Yes, it would…if I had a table saw. I can borrow one, but I was just curious what people thought of removing so much material with a router. This will be a hardwood, too, though not maple or anything crazy hard.

-- M. Zimmers

View jumbojack's profile


1691 posts in 3966 days

#8 posted 12-17-2012 01:38 AM

5 or 6 passes on your router table will take care of the L shaped 2×2 for sure.
1/4” ply or MDF for the panels. I’ve never had one move on me.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

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