cabinet doors - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-01-2008, 07:33 AM   #1
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Hi All,
We are planning on removing the cabinet doors from our boler and making new ones out of plywood. Our table is made this way, and I really prefer the look of real wood to plastic wood.
So, we know that the hinge rivets can be drilled out, but can we replace them with tiny screws instead of rivets?
Also, what is the best way to slightly round the corners of the doors when we cut out the plywood? We have a router (sp?) for the edges, but the best thing to cut plywood is....?
I know there are a lot of talented woodworkers out there!
Thanks,
Marjie
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Old 12-01-2008, 11:23 AM   #2
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Can't offer any GOOD ideas on the woodworking but we did replace our door hinges. Drill out the old rivets and replace with stainless domed or flathead bolts and we used nyloc nuts so be sure they wouldn't come loose in the trips down the road... Little bit of 'finicking' goes a long way!!
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:00 PM   #3
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Also, what is the best way to slightly round the corners of the doors when we cut out the plywood? We have a router (sp?) for the edges, but the best thing to cut plywood is....?
You could use a router, but plywood is so very soft that you might be better off using a power sander.
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Old 12-02-2008, 07:12 AM   #4
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Thank you both for your input!
I'm looking foward to fixing up the Boler,
Marjie
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:17 AM   #5
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Thank you both for your input!
I'm looking foward to fixing up the Boler,
Marjie
Hi Marjie! My husband and I are in the process of fixing up our Boler too! It is exciting, eh?!
A word on plywood.... what we are doing ... use something good, like no more than 3/8" baltic birch. In our boler, we had to completely rip out someone else's cupboards and closets, which were made of ugly 1/2" or 5/8" unfinished fir plywood... we are opting to use birch for the doors when we redo the cabinet doors, and nice plain paneling over a 1 x 2 frame. I did tell my husband that I wanted "picture-window" style doors on the upper cabinets above the sink/stove area though... the "glass" being textured acrylic. Half the fun is in the planning (for me)... and making a scrapbook of our progress.

All the best!
Shelley
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:31 AM   #6
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Hi Marjie,

Best way to cut plywood: use a good/new panel blade on a table saw, finish side up. Advance the material slowly with good control, using either the fence or the miter gauge. One way to round the corners is with a disc sanding set-up on a table saw. A coin can be traced to mark the line for rounding the corner. Like everything else, there are many, many ways to get the job done. Keep it simple and stick to methods you are somewhat familiar with. Practice on scrap material before cutting the expensive stuff.

For a while I thought I might replace the cabinet doors in our Casita, but never got around to it. Good luck!
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Old 12-03-2008, 01:42 PM   #7
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Best way to cut plywood: use a good/new panel blade on a table saw, finish side up.
Bob has the formula for cutting plywood -- any kind of wood, really -- right. A sharp blade makes a huge difference in how clean and smooth edges are.

Saw blades are expensive, though. A finishing cut blade for my big (12") cut-off saw runs about $50 and $40 for my table saw, so I take my blunted saw blades to the local tool sharpening shop (he sharpens scissors, saw blades, and other equipment) and get my blades re-sharpened for about $7 each. If anything they come back sharper than the ones the store sells. I can get each blade re-sharpened three or four times before I have to scrap them.
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:01 AM   #8
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It's been a while since I paid less than $100.00 for a table saw blade. A Forrest Woodworker II, is there any other blade?

Back to the question. Since you mentioned you had a router, I assume you probably don't have a table saw. To round the corners, I would make a template out of press board and then use a template/cutoff bit in the router to make identical panels. This method could be used to cut the panels, if you don't have a circular saw.
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Old 12-04-2008, 10:04 PM   #9
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You can easily round the corners with an orbital sander. What power tools do you own?
If using a circular saw, clamp a straight piece of scrap lumber to the plywood for a fence, if your going to use a recipicating saw, cut a little large and use the old doors for a template and finish the edges with your router. Use double sided tape or fasten the old doors to the back side of the new doors with screws.

I just bought an old ,(1987 Burro) and I used MDF for the new doors and painted them to match the fiberglass, it gave me a very clean look.

Bill
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Old 12-05-2008, 06:08 AM   #10
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[quote]
You can easily round the corners with an orbital sander. What power tools do you own?

Hello everyone,
Thanks for all your help! I knew I could count on you.
My husband and I have owned two very old homes, which have needed a lot of work.
We own (almost) every tool. Our neighbors love us.
So, all of your advice is applicable.
Bill, I have thought about painted doors, and that is another consideration.
Now let's see if we can get this project going....
Marjie
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Old 12-05-2008, 02:20 PM   #11
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We used the 3/4" Birch ply and a 30 degree angle cut on a table saw for the edges to jazz the look up a bit and then rounded them lightly with the sander.
Stained them with a dark Cherry to match the floor and added all chrome hardware. Won't win any woodworking awards, but it was fast, inexpensive and really popped the interior. Later we thought we may revisit it when all the projects are done and make something really cool like peterh did with the aluminum mesh in the centers.
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Old 12-06-2008, 01:03 AM   #12
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. . . Later we thought we may revisit it when all the projects are done and make something really cool like peterh did with the aluminum mesh in the centers.
Thanks for the nice compliment, Greg.

The nice thing about our door design is they're inexpensive and easy to build with a minimum number of tools, and you can really dress them up and make them personal by choosing what you want to put in the center. We chose punched aluminum panels, but they could easily be turned into picture frames, go beach-side casual by inserting a bamboo mat weave, or just use a wood panel.


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Old 12-06-2008, 12:04 PM   #13
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Just a thought to consider: Most towns or cities have a place where you can by kitchen cabinets doors that have small defects or are rejects from the factory. Many times I have looked at some of them and you really had to look to find the fault.
They carry all types and many sizes of solid wood (Oak, Birch, etc.) and in many styles.
They are pre-finished. They also have the white plastic finishes.
By the time you buy the plywood (which is not cheap any more) cut the panels, finish and paint them, you could buy the reject doors pretty reasonable and save yourself a whole lot of work. Most of the plywood we get now a days is junk from what what we used to get years ago. So you could end up with nice matching solid wood doors already finished.
Make a list of the dimensions of the doors you need and go shopping!!
I have bought doors from one place at a fraction of the hardware/lumber yard prices.
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Old 12-06-2008, 04:43 PM   #14
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[quote]Thanks for the nice compliment, Greg.

The nice thing about our door design is they're inexpensive and easy to build . . .


Attachment 17088


I should also add they're very lightweight, less than half the weight of the original MDF cabinet doors.

I've been meaning to provide some construction notes on how to make them, so here is a graphic showing their construction followed by some notes.


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Materials:
  • 2'x4' 1/4" plywood sheet cut at store into seven 2" and eight or nine 1" four-foot-long strips. (Cutting them may cost something, but it's a big time-saver to have them do it at the store, just make sure they measure as accurately as possible.)
  • 1-1/2" x 1/4" dimensional hardwood trim
  • 2-1/2" x 1/4" dimensional hardwood trim
  • wood filler
  • wood glue
Tools:
  • Miter box and saw (or cutoff saw)
  • A square (like a framer's or roofer's square)
  • Lots of pinch-type gluing clamps
  • Putty knife
  • Rags to clean your fingers
  • Sandpaper and a sanding block or power sander
Each door is made from eight pieces of wood. Measure the door size you want and cut them as follows. Be very careful to cut nice, straight 90-degree edges. (Example sizes in parenthesis are for a 10" wide by 8" high door):
  1. 1 1-1/2" hardwood strip that is the width of the door (i.e. 10").
  2. 1 1-1/2" hardwood strip that is 5" less than the width of the door (i.e. 5")*.
  3. 2 2-1/2" hardwood strips that are 1-1/2" less than the height of the door (i.e. 6-1/2")*.
  4. 1 1" plywood strip the width of the door (i.e. 10").
  5. 1 1" plywood strip that is 4" less than the width of the door (i.e. 6")
  6. 2 2" plywood strips that are 1" less than the height of the door (i.e. 7")
* Note: These sizes may need to be adjusted if your hardwood trim pieces are not exactly 1-1/2" and 2-1/2" wide.

Test-fit all the pieces before going on to the next step to make sure you have the sizes right. (Very important!)

Slather the back side of piece number 1 with a thin layer of wood glue and use your gluing clamps and square to assemble the pieces 1, 5, and 6 together as shown in "Gluing step 1." It is very important to make sure the edges line up neatly, fit snugly and are assembled at a square 90 degrees to one another.

Wipe off excess glue and wait for the glue to dry.

Slather the front side of piece number 4 and the outer edges of piece number 2 with a thin layer of wood glue and use your gluing clamps and square to assemble the pieces 2, 3 and 4 together as shown in "Gluing step 2." Match this assembly to make sure the legs align with the parts assembled in the prior gluing step. It is very important to make sure the edges of pieces 2 and 3 fit together snugly and that they'll fit together with the piece assembled in gluing step 1.

Wipe off excess glue and wait for the glue to dry.

Test fit them. They should fit together fairly closely. You may need to sand the "legs" of plywood pieces 3 to get a snug fit.

Once they fit together nicely slather the exposed fronts of plywood pieces #6 and the hardwood leg ends of hardwood pieces #3, clamp them together so all parts fit snugly against one another.

Wipe excess glue off and wait for the glue to dry.

Fill all cracks in the face of the door and slather the outer plywood edges with wood filler and let it dry. Sand everything smooth. Now you're ready to apply stain and urethane finish or to paint your doors!

Installing the insert:

In my doors I used punched aluminum panels in the center of my door, but you can do as you please. My aluminum panels were cut to size with tin snips and held in place by clothes line cord that has been stapled into the back of the frame at a 45-degree angle. This would work with any very thin material. Wood panel inserts I'd just glue into place. Photos or artwork, I'd sandwich between two thin layers of clear satin-finish acrylic and hold in place with some angles spanning the corners of the back opening and the outer corners of the acrylic.

Graphics and other content 2008 by Peter John Harrison. All rights reserved. Copies may be made for personal use only.
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