Kerfed Slab Doors

A cabinetmaker gets advice on an uncommon customer request: slab doors with kerfs on 3-inch centers.. May 15, 2012

I have a request for a slab door style with kerfs every 3" approximately 1/8" x 1/8". The doors are beech or maple veneer. I am curious how to create the kerfs and still have consistent color and grain matching in the kerfed areas? Does anyone have any thoughts?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor Y:
I have done this before. I used MDF and inlayed solid 1/4'' X 1/4'' then veneer and run kerfs with triple chip saw blade. I did both sides to eliminate any possible warping issues.

From the original questioner:
Sounds like we are on the same page... How did you run the kerfs? Seems like tall/skinny pantry doors (like 15" x 60") could be difficult to run smoothly? I have a slider, so maybe some kind of indexing jig for kerf spacing would come into play?

I think doing it seems like a lot of work, which is fine if I estimate the time correctly. There are a lot of doors and fronts. Good thought on balancing the panels, even though it doubles the work. My client is not married to this design, any thoughts on a different approach? Did you press the veneer or use a vac bag?

From contributor Y:
Yes I used a slider with a new triple chip blade. If your slider has an independent adjustable scoring blade that would be even better. Yes I used a bag press with Unibond. You can probably get away with doing one side on any drawer front but I would not risk it on the doors.

From the original questioner:
Any input on how many hours added on a medium sized kitchen for this detail? I could see spending a day running dadoes and milling/wide belt sanding 1/4 X 1/4 solid wood to fit. Another day cutting, gluing in the strips, sanding flush, and running the dadoes again. Not to mention the added time to bag all the pieces - assuming you could use factory veneered material without this detail.

Thanks for the input. Did you use the triple chip to reduce tearout or to soften the inside corners, or both? My slider scoring saw is not independent so I am assuming when the main blade is at 1/8" height the scoring blade will not go up that far. Is that the issue you had?

From contributor G:
Below is a tall pantry cabinet door. Plain sliced maple veneer on MDF. In this case the grain is oriented horizontally, leading to minimal tearout on kerfs. Tall doors were processed on the slider, with splitter adjustment. Short doors and drawers on table saw. No kerfs on reverse side. Expect some additional time to sand/finish raw mdf in kerfs.

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