PAGE ONE OF A TWO PART DISCUSSION BUILDING CABINET DOORS AND HANGING DOORS:
Attention Andy Harris
Andy, in answer to your question about using cope and stile bits, is a pretty straight forward process. It is, with one exception, a two router bit procedure to make the frame. In the process of making a cope and stile joint if you are going to make only the arched frame then you will need 3 bits and a set of templates. If you desire to build the raised panel it will require four bits if you use the panel raising bit that has a back cutter.
Since this can be a difficult process for the beginning cabinet builder I feel that it is good to know the full process of at least the basics of building and hanging a simple over lay cabinet door.
It begins with determining your door size and what style of door are you wanting to use. There are two types of cabinets of which is, 1. Those with the traditional face frame or, 2. The ones that are frame less , known as the European cabinet. The face framed cabinet is easy to figure for either the inset or the overlay door as you have more hinge room to work with. The European frame less is more difficult depending on where or not these are going to be an inset or an overlay door. The main reason is the you are working with what is usually a 3/4 inch thick panel. The overlay door is the easiest of the two doors to build as it is a simple overlay of the door over the opening. The inset door is one of which must fit into the opening. The difficulty of this is the fitting of the door within the opening of which close tolerance cuts must be made. To look good the tolerance should be no bigger than 1/8 of an inch and should be equal around all sides. I prefer to make my tolerance even closer but this can be difficult and is why the inset door is known as the "hall mark of cabinet making" The fitting of the door is time consuming and difficult. Drawers fronts are also normally inset if the doors are inset.
Because you will be dealing with metric sizes when you deal with European hinges and any thing pertaining to diagrams and cabinet parts you might like to know some history on the European cabinet and how it came to be. The cabinet was developed after the wars in Europe due to the large amount of destruction caused by bombing and combat fighting destroyed large amounts of building. In order to rebuilt the European cabinet became the standard method of building cabinets of which were mass produced. Machinery were designed and built to handle this big demand to supply cabinets for the fast pace of rebuilding. Along with the development was the European hinge of which was exclusive to Europe until it became introduced to other countries including the United States through the trade acts.
Since European countries use the metric system this is why everything pertaining to the European cabinet is metric. You will be dealing with metric sizing when you begin to want to use the concealed European hinge. In this system the hinge is built in one piece as well as multiple pieces with the main body of the hinge separate from the mounting method. Like the hinge the mounting called mounting plates come in different configurations and method of mounting from simple two screws to multiple screws to mount the plate to the cabinet member. To mount the hinge body to the mounting plate they come in simple screw together mounting to the clip on mounting allowing you to easily remove the doors with just the tip of your fingers. ( A good method that helps cleaning out cabinets much easier as the door can be removed.) To confuse you further in your choice you find the hinges adjustable with a screwdriver by turning screws that move the door up and down and in and out from the face frame as well as tipping the doors. Now that is a lot to have to contend with and until you understand the process you will most likely be over whelmed with decisions and questions.
One of the most common things about the hinge to the door mounting they use a 35mm hole bored for the body of the hinge which is know as the "hinge Cup: but like every bit of the complex things with European hinging a door they also produced a mini hinge that is smaller and has a
25 mm bore but I think is is also known as a 28mm when talking about the hinge cup size. Now they come in the screw on hinge as well as the dowel style and now there a cam lock. The cheapest and most universal is the screw on as you do not have to bore for the hinge dowels. The cam lock is expensive and not yet a proven mounting system for most applications.
Now the confusion becomes even more complex as you will have choices of what door swing do you want or known as the degree that the door will open in relationship to the face frame. These are measured in degrees and can be anything from opening it to almost a 90 degrees which is common to be a t 110 degrees and they can be had all the way up to allowing your door to fold flat against the adjoining cabinets.
We are still not done with the hinges as now the amount of overlay is determined by the mounting plates which are thick plates and thin plates and which aid in determining the amount of overlay. Also the amount of over lay is determined by the hinge arm which is configured in different shapes from being straight to curved which changes the amount the the door will over lay the face frame of door opening. You will have to determine how much do you want to overlay the door and then pick the combination that serves the purpose. In this mix you will have what is known as full crank and half crank and normally useful is multiple door swinging from a single cabinet panel. Example swinging a door in each directions from a single 3/4" thick panel of a cabinet.
All this before you can begin building the door for the cabinet opening.
Once your have the cope and rail bits that match one another as they come in sets, you will begin by CONTINUED NEXT PAGE OF DISCUSSION.