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Cabinet Doors (Part One)


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Although you can make your own cabinet doors easily enough, you may buy ready-made doors from builders’ supply houses - provided your cabinet frames will accept standard sizes. Stock units come in a variety of facings and styles.

When hanging doors, allow for free movement between matching doors (and around hinges). Some carpenters judge the amount of space needed between paired doors by inserting a paper match between them before setting hinges

Hinged Doors
Hinged doors, the standard for cabinets, are of two types: flush or lip. Flush doors give uniform appearance to a series of units, and are often preferred for ease of installation (with butt hinges). They can be easily recessed, or attached so that they project slightly. They are, however, unpopular with some craftsmen because they tend to amplify any errors; when the cabinet settles or hinges begin to sag, flush doors may complicate the problem by jamming against the cabinet frame or showing open space along door edges.

Lip edges not only offer a pleasant appearance, but also help cover errors. By rebating a 1/4-inch or 3/8-inch lip, plus a 1/8-inch clearance around the cabinet opening, you can make sure that the fit will remain reasonably true and minor sags unnoticeable.

Hinges and latches, in many ways, determine the success of the door. Use hinges that will support the full weight of the door and are strong enough to open and close easily without sagging or sticking. You can purchase the hinges that enhance the beauty of the cabinetwork, others that remain completely concealed when the door is closed. A few extra dollars invested in hinges destined for often-used cabinets may eliminate troubles and forestall early replacement.

There are also several types and styles of latches on the market, each featuring a different “trap". Solid types are best for cabinets subject to constant use - these are least likely to loosen or bend and are not dependent on strict alignment to function properly.

Sliding Doors
Sliding doors on cabinets and closets offer a number of advantages over the hinged type. They may be moved aside quickly, they take up minimum space, offer a clean surface, and - on better hardware - roll quietly and effortlessly.

Their main disadvantage is that only half the cabinet can be opened at once when overlapping doors are used. Poorly-constructed doors and tracks may stick, make noise, or jam. Newer types of plastic and fiber tracks help prevent the last difficulty, but if the door sags or bows it will stick in any type of track.

The simplest and most inexpensive sliding door is a thing panel that slides between two wooden stops. The panel can be of tempered hardboard, plywood, glass, or plastic. Use ¼ inch round as stops, and cut your panels to fit the opening with a 1/16-inch clearance for easy sliding. Sand the edges of the panels and soap the slots.

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