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Build a Front for an Existing Cabinet

Step 4: Dress Up the Doors

Once the clamping is done, it's time to dress up the edges, and, if necessary, insert the glass.

Finish the Doors

The best tool for dressing up the door edges is a router. A cove bit makes a nice, subtle design; much improved over a square corner, in my humble opinion. If you're lucky enough to have a router table, clamp a plywood fence to the table fence so the door will slide smoothly past the router bit.

If you don't have a router, try the following:

  • Round the edges with sandpaper.

  • Cut an angled bevel on the outside with a hand plane.

  • Cut parallel, decorative grooves with a table saw.

In any case, don't remove too much wood at the edges, or your hinge screws may come through the front.

Push wood filler into any gaps at the miter joints, wait a minute, and wipe it off with a solvent-filled rag. (Use water for water-soluble filler.)

A random orbital sander is perfect for sanding the doors. Use medium, fine, and then extra-fine sandpaper. Hand-sand the door edges.

If you want, sand, screw and lightly glue a decorative strip to the panel. I used a 316" thick molding called mullion casing.

Countersink a hole and drive 38" × #4 flat-head brass screws in a regular pattern to fasten the center strip. Finally, stain the doors.

Glass Comes Last

Dave's Don'ts

Silicone caulking grabs the glass. Don't slobber caulking onto the front.

It's finally time to lay glass in a glass-panel door. Measure the opening, and have a glass company cut a piece of 18" glass. Silicone caulking (buy a type that sticks to glass and wood) holds the glass in the rabbet.

Carefully lay in the glass, clean caulking off the front, and let the caulk set.

Step 5: Mount the Doors

At last, victory is in sight! If you've worked carefully, the doors should practically fall into place. Almost.

After some experimentation, I settled on 12" overlay hinges, which placed the doors on top of 12" of the jambs. I bought brass-plated hinges because they include brass-plated screws, which are strong enough to work in hardwood. The solid-brass screws supplied with solid-brass hinges strip easily in hardwood.

Knobs make a real difference in appearance, so choose them carefully. Turn the knob tightly onto its screw.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Simple Home Improvements © 2004 by David J. Tenenbaum. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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