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Making Shaker-Style Cabinet Doors with Infinity Tools Router Bits

Four Shaker-Style cabinet doors "Shaker" style can mean different things to different people. Here are four samples that are reminiscent of the Shaker design elements.

A while back we took a look at the Infinity tongue and groove router bit sets for making Mission-style and Shaker-style doors.  What you may not know is that we also have a Shaker rail and stile router bit set (91-505) and Shaker-style raised-panel bit (91-506). Both of these are sold as one of our money-saving 3-pc. Cabinet Door Router Bit Sets (00-203).

Lets take a look at the doors you can make with these different bits and why you might choose one over the other.

Lets start at the beginning. The Shakers were known for making high-quality furniture that was plain-looking and more about function rather than form. A lot could be said about the Shakers' beliefs but, in short, they felt it best not to brag by adding unnecessary adornment. They focused on pragmatism and practicality. This led to a distinct style of furniture that is timeless, allowing a single piece of Shaker furniture to blend into almost any decor without looking out of place. It should be noted that while the Shakers downplayed decoration, they did pay great attention to proportions and material selection in their pieces.

The Shaker door is very popular for kitchen cabinets to the degree that it has spurred the development of what I like to call the modern Shaker door. Lets take a look at a few of the different doors that are referred to as "Shaker" so you can choose the perfect profile for your next project.

The first door we will look at is what many would call a true Shaker-style door. It has a simple tongue and groove frame paired with a standard-profile raised panel that stands proud of the frame: A true "raised panel."

Raised panel cabinet door Traditional raised-panel Shaker-style cabinet doors are easy to make with Infinity router bits. We used our Tongue & Groove router bit set, item 61-502 and Standard Raised Panel router bit, item 90-502.

What makes this door a true Shaker style is that it's intended to be mounted with the raised portion of the panel facing the inside of the cabinet. This gives the door the appearance of a flat panel from the outside but maintains the strength and durability of a raised-panel door. This door also requires that all the material be milled to the same thickness which simplifies production. As a side note, it's interesting to remember the Shakers are credited with inventions like the circular saw blade and the flat whisk broom. They were definitely focused on efficiency.

Traditional Shaker door A traditional Shaker-style cabinet door places the raised panel facing to the inside of the cabinet.

The second door style is a great budget-minded door because it replaces the raised panel with a plywood panel (photo below). The Shakers didn't have access to modern sheet goods, but there's a good chance they would have used it had it been available. We offer a plywood tongue-and-groove rail-and-stile router bit set, item 61-507, that is designed specifically to allow the use of plywood. These bits are available to create slots for nominal 1/4"-thick plywood, including 5.5mm and 5.9mm thicknesses. A plywood panel is a great choice if you plan to paint your cabinets. This style of door is also very commonly referred to as a Mission-style door, especially when made from quartersawn white oak.

Plywood panel in cabinet door Using a plywood panel is an economical choice to get the look and design elements of a traditional Shaker-style cabinet door. We made this beautiful door with our Plywood Tongue & Groove Router Bit Set, item 61-507.

The third door is made with a flat panel like above however, it uses the Infinity "modern" Shaker rail-and-stile set (Item 91-505). You can see this in the photo below. The difference here is the profile is a 15° chamfer rather than the hard 90° corner of the tongue and groove on a traditional Shaker door. This is a subtle difference that I find makes the door feel more at home with modern designs. This profile is a bit more subtle while maintaining clean lines. I also find it much easier to dust.

Modern-style Shaker cabinet door This modern take on the Shaker style utilizes a 15° chamfer profile, made with R/S set 91-505.

The final door (below) pairs the "Modern" Shaker rail and stile with and equally modernized Shaker Raised Panel (Item 90-506). This combination strays the furthest from a true Shaker door because the raised panel is displayed outward. I find this door feels right at home in a modern, mid-modern or post-modern decor. The strong lines of this door can fit into the clean simplicity of an industrial design. It pairs well with the strong angles and sweeping lines of mid-modern furniture which, in my opinion, draws heavily from the Shaker aesthetic.

3-piece router bit sets with cabinet door Infinity Tools offers this 3-piece router bit sets for creating Shaker-style cabinet doors, item 00-203.

Hopefully, I've shed some light on the deceptively simple Shaker door so you'll be ready to add the perfect design element to your next cabinet project.

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