How to Build Kitchen Cabinet Doors Out of Oak Plywood

Written by michael straessle
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How to Build Kitchen Cabinet Doors Out of Oak Plywood
A good example of overlay cabinet doors. (kitchen buyer image by Pavel Losevsky from

The texture in the grain of oak plywood makes it a good choice for cabinet doors because it absorbs stain, creating an attractive finish. Overlay doors are a good choice for building with plywood because they do not require the work involved in making raised panel or Shaker panel doors.To build cabinet doors out of oak plywood, start by closely inspecting the condition of the plywood. Unused sheets (48 by 96 inches) of 3/4-inch plywood warp; choose the flattest sheets for your project.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 3/4-inch oak plywood
  • Table saw
  • Oak veneer edge band
  • Utility knife
  • Iron
  • Sanding block
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Overlay hinges

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  1. 1

    Measure the width and height of the cabinet door openings on both the wall and base cabinets. Add 1 inch to each measurement to allow for overlay doors (they "lay over" the opening).

  2. 2

    Add the width measurements to determine the number of blocks needed for a particular height. Cutting the height measurements creates a "block" measuring the height of the door by the width of the sheet of plywood. For example, for three doors 26 inches tall by 15 inches wide, you will need one block of plywood 26 inches tall and 48 inches wide.

  3. 3

    Determine the number of sheets (48 by 96 inches) of plywood you need by dividing 96 (length of a sheet of plywood) by the height of each block (for example, three 30-inch-high blocks equals 90 inches). Use the blocks wisely. For example, two 14-inch-wide doors cut from a 30-inch block leave 20 inches of unused plywood. Use the 20 inches you have left for a door with a shorter height.

  4. 4

    Set the fence of the table saw on the tallest height measurement for the doors. Cut the tallest blocks first and work your way down to the shortest. Cut the widths of the doors in the same manner as the blocks (widest to narrowest). Separate and stack the doors by their intended cabinets.

  5. 5

    Cut strips of veneer edge band 2 inches longer than the height of the doors with a utility knife. Hold the edge band against the edge of the door so that it covers the entire edge. Heat the band with an iron to activate the adhesive on the back of the band. Push the adhesive into the plywood by rubbing it with a block of wood. Repeat this on all the vertical edges of the doors.

  6. 6

    Fold the ends of the edge band over the corners of the doors to break them off even with the tops and bottoms of the doors. Sand the long edges and the ends of the edge band gently with a sanding block and 120-grit sandpaper. Repeat this process for the width edges of the doors.

  7. 7

    Install overlay hinges on the doors according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Tips and warnings

  • Wood grain direction determines how to lay out and cut doors from sheets of plywood. The wood grain on kitchen cabinet doors runs vertically.
  • Do not leave the hot iron unattended.
  • Do not apply a finish to the oak doors without proper ventilation.

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