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Stacking Doors That Open Together

Suggestions for dowels, pins, and other methods to connect stacked cabinet doors so they will swing as a unit. June 15, 2014

We used to use a white painted metal mending plate to join doors, but our customers and designers thought it looked cheap. Now we are struggling to make doors which line up with various sizes of adjacent doors and panels and the topic is back. What have you found as a "sexy" way to join stacked doors?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor H:
Make them as one piece instead of two doors. I never understood why you would put one door over another and then fasten them with a mending plate.

From the original questioner:
That is what we do now, but there are is the issue of sizing the panels asymmetrically to have the middle rail(s) line up with adjacent doors. This mostly occurs with a pantry next to a fridge where we want the lower rail to align with the adjacent base cabinet and the upper pantry door to align with the fridge upper adjacent to the other side. We have been making the long door with custom placement of the middle rail but it is a lot of work to lay out and subject to error.

From contributor X:
If you are stuck on the idea of joining two doors together you may want to consider using Domino's. They would be plenty strong and invisible.

From contributor N:
I've used a plastic shelf pin for a 5mm hole before and it works extremely well - you can always pull them out easily. I guess a smooth dowel would work too.

From contributor P:
I抦 dealing with the same problem myself right now. I remember some company made a 5 mm dowel just for that purpose. It had a collar so it wouldn't just fall into a hole drilled too deep. The current job needs rtf doors on MDF and I don't trust the pin. The pin worked well for wood doors but I haven't used any for decades and can't find them.

From contributor D:
Hafele has barbed connector pins and spacers - 267.23.900/267.23.093. They work, but it抯 not a very solid/rigid connection - spacing them a few inches apart might help with that.

From contributor Z:
We use dowels and an edge boring jig. It抯 stronger than a biscuit and quick and accurate (3/8" dowel 2" long). We usually stain it the same color as the doors when there is an intentional door reveal. We will also use a spline that is continuous and stained as well. We use a biscuit machine to cut the spline slot in each door, join together, leaving the appropriate reveal.