how to extreme

Rustic Doors for Cabinets & Drawers

Cabinet, Construction How-To, Kitchen, Remodeling August 5, 2016 Sonia


I made my client a sample door and drawer set to make sure he was getting what he wanted. I originally used a thickness planer to mill the 4/4 pine down to 3/4-in. thick and added the 1/4-in. strips, resulting in a finished thickness of 1 inch. The old doors were 3/4-in. thick, and the new doors left only a 1/2 in. of granite counter overhang. As a result we decided to split the difference and opted for a 7/8-in. thick finished product.

Measuring for Doors

Measuring was easy. My client brought me the entire set of doors and drawers, all I had to do was replicate the width and height of them. Having them in the shop as I worked was extremely helpful for reference.

Milling the Door Panels

Rough lumber is rarely flat or straight. I used the table saw to size the lumber and my 13-in. thickness planer to mill one side of the lumber down to just under 3/4 inch.

Carpenter Tip: Take the time to make a cut list and group all of your same size rips together.

A power planer is an excellent tool for thinning the wood stock.

A power planer is an excellent tool for thinning the wood stock.

This reduces the adjustments on your saw and is more time-efficient. Write your finished, cut sizes on the boards’ edges for future reference and to ensure you have made all the parts prior to moving onto the next task.

Milling 1/4 inch of wood off a board is a lot of work, puts wear and tear on your tools, and creates a ton of sawdust. I emptied my dust collector twice.

On the three largest doors I had to cut the lumber to fit into my thickness planer and then glue it back together again. I matched the rough sawn pattern and used dominos inside the joints to keep the panels aligned and give them strength.

Some of the boards had to be edge-glued into larger boards. To make a stronger joint, a domino cutter was used along the edges to be joined.

Some of the boards had to be edge-glued into larger boards. To make a stronger joint, a domino cutter was used along the edges to be joined.

Once I had the doors milled, I gave the rough sawn faces a light sanding to remove the splinters, dirt and other debris.

Milling the Rail-and-Stile Strips

Choosing a fairly standard stile and rail width, I ripped some of the rough pine boards down to 2-1/2-in. wide. I then flipped those boards on edge to rip them into 1/4-in. thick rough sawn strips. I set the table saw fence 1/4-in. off the blade to do this, keeping the rough sawn faces against the fence. By cutting both faces of this board I was able to get two pieces of rough sawn strips per board, and a 3/4-in. thick piece of cleanly cut pine for the scrap pile.