There are many styles of cabinet doors, but none is more popular than the frame-and-panel door. Its dimensions, edge treatments and panels can be modified to create a nearly endless variety of designs to suit just about any décor.
One of my favorite designs (and maybe the most versatile) is a flat-panel door with square edges on the frame pieces. This design is relatively easy to build and looks great in a variety of settings, from traditional to modern. I've made a lot of these doors over the years, and in doing so I've developed methods for working faster, smarter and better. To follow these techniques, all you need are basic woodworking knowledge and access to a planer, table saw, clamps and a drill press or drill guide.
Each door is made of five components: one panel, two vertical stiles and two horizontal rails. The panel is 1/4-in.-thick plywood centered in a frame of 3/4-in.-thick solid wood. The panel fits in a 1/2-in.-deep groove in the inside edge of each stile and rail, and the rail ends have tongues (tenons) that fit in the grooves in the stiles. When assembled, the panel edges and frame joinery are hidden.
My construction techniques require that the stile and rail stock be exactly the same thickness (3/4 in. or very close to it). The tenons and grooves are made with two saw cuts, one cut relative to each face. This process centers the tenons and grooves in each stile and rail, and it eliminates alignment issues that typically occur when making cuts relative to only one face. This is why it's critical that the stile and rail stock be the same thickness.
The overall size of each door is determined by a few factors. The first is the size of the cabinet opening. I always try to make doors close to twice as tall as they are wide; they look and function best when made in these proportions. That means using two doors over wide cabinet openings.
The next factors in determining the door size are....
READ MORE: Click here to download the complete story with photos as a pdf file.