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Mission Style Cabinet Door Question

Julimor's picture

I'm going to replace the cabinet doors and drawers in our kitchen.  I've been thinking of selling the house (it's way too big - except the workshop!)  So I decided on Mission style doors and drawers as the final upgrading for the kitchen.  The big question I have is with the center panel.  I'll probably use plywood but using 1/4" ply seems so flimsy.  I had planned 1/2" ply but all the Mission style cabinets I've seen in showrooms have 1/4" ply panels.

So my question is do I buy 1/2" plywood and dado the back or just go with the 1/4" and glue it all together?

FWIW, my original plan was using mahogany for the rails and stiles (which I will still do) and 1/2" figured maple, bookended out of 5/4 stock, for the panels. Then a friend reminded me of my plans to move soon and suggested I save the really nice cabinet upgrade for my new home.  I think she's right.

gdblake's picture

1/4" panels are fine (post #170969, reply #1 of 8)

This is a personal preference thing.  Between Thanksgiving and Christmas I made new cabinet doors for my oldest son's house.  Simple Shaker picture frame style using 1/4" ply for the panel.  I didn't want to spend a lot of money or time making the doors, but I did want them to look okay.  Using 1/4" plywood allowed me to quickly cut the panels and be done with it.  The doors a plenty stiff.

If you prefer thicker panels then by all means use 1/2".  Just remember plywood has a tendency to chip out when cutting rabbits or dados across the veneer's grain.  This can be reduced by first kniving the cut line.


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Westchester's picture

Doors (post #170969, reply #2 of 8)


Also think about the hinges before you get started.  

I wonder what percentage of new buyers would rather rip out the kitchen and replace the entire thing ?  Just hope your time and effort is appreciated.


Julimor's picture

Kitchen Remodel (post #170969, reply #4 of 8)

SA - We already did a lot of remodeling to the kitchen including new lighting, granite countertops and backslpash, new double electric oven, new sink & faucet, etc.  Everything looks brand new except the cabinet doors & drawers.  We had friends over and asked what they thought and everyone said the cabinet doors & drawers were outdated.  They are the almond laminate with oak trim that was once popular (about 25 years ago - HA!)  I was kinda hoping they went "Retro" but not yet!

We may be here a year or until I die, I don't know.  I'm retired, the SO isn't and wants to keep working.  That's the short story.  But I'm hoping if I get the house in show shape maybe we list it and see how it goes.  But the kitchen cabinets need a new face.

I just bought 4/4 mahogany for the rails & stiles and rift sawn red oak 1/4" ply for the panels.  I also bought new Blum drawer slides and Blum Blumotion hinges.  All the materials together were about $1,100.  It's pretty much the last thing that needs to be done in the house and condisering what we've put into it the last year, that's a drop in the bucket.  

I was thinking of securing the panels with a flexible glue.  Not gluing the panels in is so ingrained in my head that when I've read you can glue plywood, I just couldn't accept it.  But right now I'm battling allergy attacks.  Either I recently became highly allergic to wood dust or maybe just one specific type of wood (I'm suspecting maple) but whatever it is has to be resolved or my woodworking days will be numbered.

oldusty's picture

Frame and panel doors (post #170969, reply #3 of 8)

   With a frame and panel door typically the stock is 13/16 " or no less than 3/4" thick to begin with .

    A  1/4"  or 5.2mm groove can be centered in the frame for the as you say Mission look and it will leave a nice 1/4" edge ..

    A 1/2" panel will only leave 1/8" on each side of the panel , if you used 1" thick stock but then you open

     another can of worms when it comes time to hinge them .

         Ask for true 1/4" depending on the specie they may have it .

      good luck          dusty ,boxmaker

Westchester's picture

Maybe the Last Project (post #170969, reply #5 of 8)


It all makes total sense now.  You know it takes us New Yorkers extra time to understand what folks are trying to tell us.  I hope the allergies clear up soon so you can start the project.  Yea I know the doors your talking about and they are kind of dated but oak is my favorite so I probably vote against the new mahogany - but don't listen to me because it took 32 years in my house before I replaced the original kitchen that dated back to 1958.  It was only the pressure and the sweet tone of " change it or get out " that got me to make a nice Home improvement.  But I ain't moving no time soon.  Got to enjoy the new kitchen and the second chance I got by listening to my orders.  I think you're too young to be retired - and I'm  jealous !   The papers today said they are thinking about raising the age to 70.  They don't realize tradesman work with their bodies and arthritis comes early.  I'm lucky if I can do this till 65 - never mind 70.  These new rules probably won't affect me but stuff is getting more difficult every day for American workers.  Epoxy the doors - tell the next people the doors are very special -


Julimor's picture

Thanks SA (post #170969, reply #6 of 8)

We had to go with oak panels or rip out the cabinets completely and start from scratch.  There's too much oak already there and I wasn't in the mood to hire people to remove the granite countertop or get into another kitchen remodel.  If we sell and the new owners don't like it, they can change it.  But they will have a lot of oak to remove throughout the house.  I like wood.

You're right about the trades beating up your body.  When I was in my mid-40's an actuary came to a union meeting and said, "Half the people in this room won't live to retirement age."  The retirement age back then was 65.  It was later changed to 60 for a full pension and as early as 55 for 80% pension.  I'd say most of the people I talked to at work were looking at age 58 (92% pension) as being the best time to retire.  And they all said they just couldn't see doing the work til 60.

Last night I was thinking electricians had it better than woodworkers when it came to what the trades do to your body.  I may work 10-20 hours a week in my shop but between the dust, the standing, the being hunched over for hours at a time, I can't imagine where I'd be today if I had been doing that for 40 years of 40 hour or more weeks.

I figure I'll start the doors and drawer faces this weekend.  The wood should be ready by then.  It's been laying next to the pool table in the basement since Monday, stickered.  Maybe I'll check out a respirator today. ;)

RalphBarker's picture

Other factors (post #170969, reply #7 of 8)

The other factor ignored by those in Congress is that it is very difficult for anyone over 50 to find a new job if they lose a job held for many years. Age discrimination? "Over qualified" doesn't count.

Julimor's picture

I hear you Ralph! (post #170969, reply #8 of 8)

I'll be 62 in April and my kids tell me I should get a job so I can get out of the house more often. Easier said than done but they can't see that.

As for the progress on the kitchen, I went with 1/4" rift sawn oak plywood for the panels.  To make a long story short, it was a waste of money.  And since I had them rip the sheets to 2x8 I can't return them for a refund.

Any ideas what to do with all this mahogany?