I am planning a sideboard that has 2 sets of doors on the outside and a pair of drawers in the middle. The desired appearance of the doors and fronts requires that the doors be as thick as 1.5 inches. Doors are overlay on the sides, inset on the top and bottom. I'm about to start prototyping, but I'm already thinking that the inner doors are going to strike the drawers in the center when they open, due to the thickness. Any advice on a type of hinge to use to avoid this binding, or an engineering idea to keep it from happening to begin with?

  • If the wood grain goes top to bottom, then the door width will also expand and contract seasonally across its width which you must allow for when fitting the doors to the opening.
    – Ashlar
    Commented Mar 13 at 17:28

1 Answer 1


Because the leading edge of a door travels in an arc instead of a straight line, in instances where the door fits tightly or a door is thicker than usual, you need to cut the leading edge of the door at a slight angle to clear the frame of the door and still allow it to close tightly.

The way to do this is with a plane (or even a table saw, if available) so that the angle of the leading edge of the door allows the door to swing in to/out of the opening as tightly as possible.

Image graciously stolen from: https://www.carpentry-tips-and-tricks.com/leading-edge.html

Depending on the specific dimensions of the door, the desired fit, etc. a good starting point would be somewhere like a 2-4 degree bevel on the edge of the door. You might want to practice this to find the best fit.

(I'm sure some "math guy" could provide a way to find the exact angle with an equation or calculation, but I am not that guy....)

More, better info. here: Carpentry Tips and Tricks.com ("How to apply a Leading Edge to doors so they close tighter and without binding")

  • A good way to find this angle would be to use an angle finder on the strike edge of any door in the house. They're all beveled at the factory to overcome this exact issue.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 13 at 16:49
  • @FreeMan I thought about that and consulted a couple doors around me to see what angle they might be cut at.... and they were all cut square. So... maybe in one of those fancy houses, but not my Mid-Century one with hollow-core doors....The cupboards, etc. are all built with face frames.
    – gnicko
    Commented Mar 13 at 23:19
  • Huh... Did you check your front door? Maybe the hollow core doors are just small enough in all dimensions that the leading corner won't catch.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 14 at 14:37
  • A relief of half arcsin(thickness of door / width of door) would be zero clearance. So for a 40mm/750mm door the theoretical angle would shave about half of 40*40/750 or 1.1mm off, which is about half the gap around of my house's internal doors. Commented Mar 21 at 0:14
  • @PeteKirkham - Well, yeah.... but what color paint you planning on using? ;)
    – gnicko
    Commented Mar 21 at 22:24

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