How to Make Doors From Wood

Old cabinets can be updated by replacing the doors and drawer fronts, and by sanding the face frames of the old cabinets. Cabinet doors are made from solid wood for the majority of cabinets. By making the new cabinet doors and drawers to update your cabinets, you will be saving a lot of money and can customise the doors to your preference. The do-it-yourselfer can build custom cabinet doors from wood to match the wood used in the house.

Measure the rough opening of the cabinet doors. This will be the opening that the door covers when it is closed. Most door hinges are designed for 1/2-inch overlay. So a rough opening that measured 15-inches wide by 20-inches tall would require a door that was 16-inches wide by 21-inches tall. Write down this dimension on a piece of paper. Use a tape measure for this step. Repeat for all of the rough openings that need doors in the cabinets.

Cut the door material out of 3/4-inch thick material. The typical stiles and rails of the doors are made out of 1-3/4-inch-wide material. Use a table saw to cut the material you will need for the stiles and rails.

Glue up 3/4-inch material to make the door panels for the cabinet doors. The door panels will be 3 inches smaller than the overall door size that was found in Step 1. Place the material between wood clamps after it has been glued to hold the door square as it dries.

Set the router table to cut the stiles for the doors. Use a set-up block to adjust the router bit and fence to cut the stile wood material. A set-up block is a piece of plastic or wood that was cut to adjust the router bit for the correct set-up for 3/4-inch materials.

Run all of the stile and rail material through the router table. The router cuts the stile and rail profile with the good side of the material facing the table. Hold the wood down flat against the router table and tight against the fence to cut the profile. Use push blocks and feather boards to hold the stiles tight against the fence.

Cut the rail material to the correct length for the doors. Refer to the router bit directions for the correct dimension to cut from the overall length of the rails. This is normally 3-1/2-inches less than the overall width of the door. Use a mitre saw set at 90-degrees for this step.

Set the router table to cut the rails for the door. Repeat Step 5 using the rail router bit.

Cut each end of the rail material using the router table. Use a square push block to feed the rails through the router table. The push block supports the rail as it passes through the router bit and keeps the wood from tearing out as the router bit passes through the material.

Scrape any glue that squeezed out of the door panels using a wood scraper. Sand the surface of the front and back of the panel with a palm sander.

Set the panel router bit up in the router table. Adjust the bearing on the router bit so that it is even with the fence on the router table. A straight edge works best to align the bit with the router fence. Adjust the height of the router bit so that it will remove approximately 1/8-inch of material per pass.

Run the door panel through the router table. Run the top edge of the door panel first through the router table. Rotate the panel 90-degrees and router the next edge of the door. Repeat this step for each side of the door panel. Raise the router bit 1/8-inch and repeat this step until the door panel fits within the groove created with the stile router bit.

Assemble the door using wood glue on the style cuts. Clamp the door square within the door clamps. Let the glue dry before you release the door clamps. Sand the door and the door is ready to be installed.


Cut all of the parts for all of the doors required at one time.


Wear safety glasses and hearing protection when using power tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Table saw
  • Door material
  • Wood glue
  • Wood clamps
  • Router table
  • Router bits
  • Mitre saw
  • Palm sander
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About the Author

Jim Wildman served in the United States Marine Corps as a Communication Chief for 10 years. After his tour of duty in Desert Storm he attended Oklahoma State University receiving his Bachelor of Architecture. He worked as an architect for 10 years before starting his own design/build company. He began writing in 2009 for Demand Studios and published on eHow.