The Best Way to Build a Simple 2-Door Wooden Cabinet

The Best Way to Build a Simple 2-Door Wooden Cabinet: One basic thing can make the difference between a cluttered-looking room: storage. Of course, getting rid of extra stuff also helps. But even after you’ve pared down your possessions, having an attractive place to stash essentials is key. Enter the two-door cabinet, a minimalist solution that has been around for centuries.

Our take on the classic fits almost anywhere, and its panels can be made from a variety of materials—metal mesh, glass, or wallpapered plywood, for example—to suit your decorative palette. Like many PM projects, this one is simple. A reasonably skilled woodworker with a small table saw, cordless drill, and pocket screw kit can make it in two weekends, max. Here’s how

Two-Door Cabinet Plans (PDF, 10.1 MB, Adobe Reader required)

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Step 1: Cut the plywood.

Start by cutting the birch plywood for the cabinet sides, top, bottom, shelves and cleats. I used a table saw, but a circular saw and a straight edge guide will also do the trick.

Next, join the two panels together for a wider surface and route the rabbet for the back and side panels. Cut the rabbets on the inside edges of the side panels with a router and a 3/8-inch rabbeting bit.

Step 2: Drill the holes.

When this is done, use a portable drill guide and drill holes for the shelf pins in the sides of the cabinet.

Step 3: Fasten the bottom.

Use a pocket hole jig to drill four pocket screw holes in the bottom, then drive the pocket screws from the bottom into the sides of the cabinet.

Step 4: Completing the case

Cut the cleats to fit between the cabinet sides, and drive a countersunk screw through the side to the ends of the cleats.

Complete the case box by cutting the back panel to size and nailing it in place.

Step 5: Nail the face frame.

Four pieces of wood form the face frame. Rip and cross-cut these pieces, then glue and nail them to the case using a pneumatic pin nailer and a 23-gauge headless pin.

Step 6: Attach the Top.

Attach the hardwood edging to the plywood top panel using the same method. Now place the top of the cabinet—made of materials such as maple-faced and trimmed plywood—into position, and drive screws through the cleats into the bottom.

Rip and cross-cut the pieces of the door frames and—again using a router and rabbeting bit—cut the panel rebate on the inside edges of the frame.

Drill a pair of pocket screw holes in the end of each door rail, then drive screws. Wipe some carpenter’s glue on the maple pocket screw plugs and insert one into each hole.

Step 7: Finishing Touches

Now it’s time to select the panels you will use. Cut metal mesh panels to size with aviation pieces, slide them into rabbets, and secure with screen molding nailed to the door frame.

  • (A) Solid: Set the panel into a rabbet on the back of the door and secure it with screws with Glass Door Retainer Clips (
  • (B) Metal Mesh: Secure the panel with 3/8″ x 3/8″ beaded screen trim. Drive wire braids or pneumatic headless pins through the side or front of the molding.

If, on the other hand, you use ¼-inch plywood covered with wallpaper (see intro), secure the panel with glass door retaining clips ( Regardless of the panel material, keep in mind that you may need to adjust the depth and width of the rabbet. For thin panels, we find that a rabbet that is 3/8 inch deep and ½ inch wide works very well.

Attach two self-closing cabinet door hinges to each door, then place the cabinet on its back and set the door to the face frame. Place the doors on the cabinet with 1/8?-inch space on center. Drill pilot holes in the face frame through the hinges and pull the hinges to the frame.

The Best Way to Build a Simple 2-Door Wooden Cabinet

The finishing touches

Place clothes on high (cotton), without steam, and apply iron-on maple veneer banding to the front of each shelf. Rub the veneer firmly with a block of wood to secure the bond. After the garment has cooled, use scissors and a sanding block, respectively, to cut and trim it to fit.

Fill the nail holes with wood putty, let dry, then lightly sand all surfaces with 120-grit sandpaper. Wipe off dust with a tack cloth, and apply two coats of satin polyurethane varnish. If you want to stain the cabinet, apply two coats, wait for them to dry, then apply varnish.

Press the metal shelf pegs into the holes in the cabinet sides, then set the shelves in place.

Is it cheaper to build your own cabinets?

Building your own kitchen cabinets is only a feasible plan if you have plenty of time, a shop full of tools, and intermediate woodworking skills. While building your own cabinets saves about 66%, the cost of tools and time eats into this significantly for someone who is not an experienced woodworker

What is the best plywood to use for cabinets?

The best plywood for cabinets is decorative plywood and can also be used to make furniture.

How thick should plywood be for cabinets?

Use 1/4-inch plywood for the cabinet back unless it will support the weight of the cabinet, in which case 1/2 inch is a better choice. Select 1/2-inch plywood for drawer sides, fronts and backs, but 1/4 inch is suitable for drawer bottoms. Plain front plywood doors are rare, but they can be made from 3/8-inch plywood


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