Wednesday, July 11, 2012


 Have you ever wondered how your cabinets are made?  Well, I thought I'd use this entry to show you the process we use at Goodwin Mill And Cabinet to build the doors and drawer fronts for your cabinets.  They're the most difficult part of the cabinet process and the most time consuming.  It all starts with raw lumber boards like the ones in this photo.  It's hard to believe something like that can become a beautiful door.  The first step in the process is milling the material.
 The boards are run through this saw with a laser guide.  Each board is cut on one side giving it a straight edge.  The board is then flipped and the straight edge is run through against a guard to give you a board that has parallel sides.  What happens next depends on what the wood is going to become.  
This diagram shows the parts of a door.  The panel is the center piece and it's framed by the stiles and the rails.  The stiles are usually longer and the grain of the wood runs the same direction as the panel.  The rails are grooved to hold the panel and the stiles.  They are often shorter and the wood grain runs opposite direction of the panel.
 If the boards are going to be stiles or rails, they are put through a plainer to reach the desired thickness.  In this pic you can see some pieces that will be cut down into stiles or rails going through the plainer.  As the pieces go through, the edges are smoothed down and evened out.
 If the wood is going to be a panel, they are cut down to a rough size of the intended door and glued together.  Here is a panel just glued together in our big clamp.  After the glued boards dry, they are taken out and run through the plainer like the stiles and rail pieces.  They are also cut down to their exact panel size.
 The next step in the process is cutting the tongue and groove joints into the panels, stiles and rails.  This process is also one of the ways the design of the door is created.  In this pic, the panel is be edged.  So far, two of the four sides has been cut.  This particular panel style is known as a "pillowtop".
 Here's a closer view of the edge.  See how the wood on the panel pillows up from the edge?  Part of that edge will be seen once the door is put together, but most of it will be hidden by the stile and rail.
 This machine is like the panel edger.  It helps create the style of the door and also cuts the groove the panel fits into.  First the boards are cut to length and then put through this edger.
 In this pic, you can see a close up of the stile.  It has a groove for that "pillowtop" panel.  It also has a simple design along the edge going into the edge of the door.  The side will also be routed to give a similar edge for the outside of the door.

 Now, the panels and the stiles/rails are put together.  We use wood glue to hold the pieces together, but we also use a nail gun once the door is assembled.  In this pic, you can see this door has the stiles on the panels.  The lower rail is also on, but you can't see it.  All that's left for this door to be complete is the top rail.  In the next pic, the top rail is being attached.  The groove is glued and then the piece is pushed into place by hand as much as possible.  Sometimes you have to use a rubber mallet to get the tongue and groove together tightly.  This door went together rather easily and no mallet was needed.
 Once the door is together, it's clamped in order to let the glue dry and to help the door keep its shape.  While in the clamp, we use a nail gun along the joints to secure the stiles to the rails.
 Even though the wood has been through a plainer, it can still be rough.  There can be patches that have some glue exposure where the panel was glued together.  The next step is the big band sander.  We run the doors through until they reach the desired thickness.  At this point, there's no more give in the thickness of the piece.  Any additional work must occur superficially to refine the parts without compromising the width.
 The doors are then sanded by hand.  We use air sanders and electric vibrating sanders to finish the sanding.  These tools create a smooth to the touch surface all over the door.  They also give the wood a shine of sorts.
 And now the doors are ready for finish work.  This is the part of the process that is really exciting.  You get to watch the door change right before your eyes.  In this pic, stain is being applied to the wood using a sponge.  The sponge lets you get stain into every nook and cranny of the door.  Rags are used afterward to remove the excess stain and leave the wood looking like the color you've just applied.
 The stained doors are then taken into a spray room where they are sealed and sprayed with a protective coat.  This process gives the doors their glossy look and makes them feel slick to the touch.  Here we see two drawer fronts being sprayed with sealer.  After the final coat has been sprayed on, the doors must sit until they dry.
 Now the door is ready to be put on the cabinet.  The assembly crew uses a machine like the one you see pictured here to bore into the door and put a hinge in place. 
 Once that hinge is on, you can go ahead and attach the door to the cabinet.  We use adjustable hinges on our doors.  These hinges allow us to shift the door once the cabinet is installed.  Usually, when we measure an area for cabinets, the walls aren't finished.  Everything from drywall to texture can change the way a cabinet sits in the space it was built for.  As we anchor the cabinet in place, the doors can sometimes shift out of alignment.  That's where the adjustable hinges come into play.  We can use them to put the doors even again.
The end result is something like this piece.  A glossy, beautiful cabinet that looks incredible almost entirely because of the detail in the doors and drawer fronts.  Yeah, the process can take some time and as you can see, there's a lot of work that goes into making your custom cabinetry...  But at Goodwin Mill And Cabinet, we think you want something special in your home.  After all, it can be your greatest investment.  
Although they are used everyday and become something we take for granted, cabinetry can define the beauty of a space in a way unlike anything else.  Exceptional cabinetry can also bring value to your home.  Goodwin Mill And Cabinet is a company who puts in the work to create amazing custom cabinetry.  You can see how much we do to bring your dream kitchen to life.  Call today to set up your appointment with a design specialist and get the door process started for your doors today.  We're ready to order the lumber!

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