How to Build Shaker Doors for Kitchen Cabinet

Step 1. Measure the size of kitchen cabinet

First step to do is to determine the cabinet openings and also determine the overlay that you want. The standard overlay for the cabinet door is usually ½” on each side. So, if the cabinet opening is 16” x 37”, then the cabinet door should be 17” x 38”. As shown in the picture, grey color is the overlay for the cabinet door.

Step 2. If you want to find materials easily, you can always go for red oak as it is strong and is easily painted or stained to your preferred color. The cabinet door stiles are 2” width and ¾” to 1” thickness. The stiles are the door frames. You will need one 8” red oak sized 1” x 2” strips. Use ¼” plywood for the door panel.

Step 3. For this project, the cabinet door is 18” x 38”. Therefore, you need to make 2 pieces of 38” vertical stiles and also 2 pieces of 15” horizontal rails. For the length of horizontal rails, subtract the width 18” with 3”. The vertical stiles are each 2” width while the horizontal rails are each 1 ½” width.

Step 4. Cut the dados

The dados can bring changes to any woodworking situation. The dado is usually called the groove and it is such a ridged joint suited with the sizes of wood to be fitted together. Build this dado is simple. In this project, the dado will be ½” to fit each stile. Each stile of plywood will be sliding into the frame using this dado.

Start measuring the blade height into ½”. Then, position the vertical stile around the center and cut it along the blade. After the cutting is finished, turn around the stile and run it one more time into the blade.

The finished dado is shown in the picture. To check if the groove is in the right width, take the plywood and test fit it. If the plywood is snapped on easily, it means the groove is just right. If not, you have to widen the size of the groove. If too big, make new groove!

Step 5. Cut the tongue

The tongue here is the wood edge which will be fitted inside the dado or the groove. Measure the blade in ¼” or little less. Then, position the fence ½” off the blade center. Cut the horizontal rail on its both ends on both sides.

The result will be shown in the picture. Position the fence ¼” closer to saw blade and cut the horizontal rail one more time. Repeat the process until you get the tongue. The final result will be as in the picture.

Step 6. Measure the center panel

Assemble all pieces to have an accurate size of the center panel. Then, measure the height and width of the door openings. Don’t forget to add 1” to the opening height and width. Use this final size to cut the center panel.

Step 7. Insert the center panel

Slide the center panel into the frame. As the size is perfect, remove the panel and then glue the grooves. Slide back the center panel into the frame. Place the horizontal rail top. Clamp the kitchen door for the glue to set around 30 minutes. Check if all joints are perfectly fitted. Do necessary adjustment. If not, then leave the kitchen door overnight.