Outsourced Cabinet Door Squareness and Size Tolerances & sizing

Should you have to trim outsourced cab doors to make them square and right-sized? January 28, 2009

I buy almost 100% of my doors from a reputable supplier. For the most part they are fine for face frame jobs but I have been getting a lot of full overlay, framless and beaded face frame jobs lately. For these the doors must be perfectly square and to an exact size. I find myself now ordering to doors over size and cutting them down myself which is a lot of time when I feel they should be correct when shipped. I recently sent an entire order back to the supplier and they told me that every door was within their tolerance.

So my question to you is, how square is square and how accurate is accurate when sizing cabinet doors? Thanks in advance for any feedback.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor S:
We do mostly inset face frame and build our doors in house. When we did order doors I had to order over size and cut down. Our gaps are 3/32 on perimeter and 1/16 between doors. The door companies said + or - 1/16 on doors sizes but that was not good enough. I'd say we typically produce better than 1/32 tolerance with most being within 64th. If it's off 1/16 it looks bad.

As far as square that's the easiest part being cut on all four sides on the Altendorf following assembly. I think anyone doing inset cabinets should probably accept that they must do the final sizing themselves.

From contributor P:
The supplier should publish their tolerances. My Walzcraft catalog, for instance, says size can vary +/- 1mm. I didn't see one for squareness though.

From contributor J:

I buy my doors from Cabinet Door Service out of Salem, Oregon. On the last inset job I did I ordered them slightly oversized, and did some minor trimming to size on my slider. I prefer to do the last bit of trimming so I can get a good reveal. They were dead on square.

From contributor R:
I think every cabinet shop has had this issue. Walzcraft does tend to be higher quality, but you pay for it. If you don't need to rework the doors, the higher price is well worth it -especially if you don't have a sliding table saw.

This might be a good time for you to carefully review your shop capabilities and costs. Making your own doors might well be cost effective, or it might not, but a review of all the factors may provide options to you.

From contributor A:
Individual trimming of doors is standard practice of Inset cabinets. It's pretty difficult to build them exactly square, so cut the door exactly square and cut the door within 3/32". No matter how well you set up the face frames they are rarely perfect. Definitely set them up with beaded inset. I usually order or make them to the rough opening size and add an 1/8" to the typical style/rail width. The major problem is that it eliminates the possibility of prefinished doors.

From contributor Y:
When I switched to frameless cabinetry, I also switched door suppliers. I only use door suppliers that CNC size their doors.

From contributor T:
We crank out doors within 1/32" for size and square (diagonal). You need an accurate crosscut system, tight dimension tolerance on the stiles, and a square door clamp.