Making a cupboard door in the traditional shaker style without a router table

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27 Sep 2021
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Hi all,

Hoping for some advice on a project I'm planning. We want to cover up our gas + electric meters with a cupboard, but as the cables run up the wall behind it, we'd like to basically have the cupboard go floor to ceiling. I'm pretty happy with most of the cabinet construction I think, but at the moment I'm thinking about how I want to make the doors.

The doors will be pretty large, more like wardrobe doors I think, and they'll be shaker style to fit in with the rest of the house. They'll be made from MR MDF and painted. I had originally planned to use the mock shaker style, where you take a sheet of MDF at the correct size, and then stick rails and stiles on top. The great and wise Peter Millard has since convinced me that I should at least try to do it loose tenon if I can because of the benefits he's described in one of his videos (). The problem is I don't own a router table, nor am I really in a state where I can make one up. I do have a trim router though, is it possible to (safely) use that? I'm imagining some jig or other than might help me get the job done

I own a smattering of power tools and hand tools, including a tracksaw. No table saw though, and no desire to buy one.

Oh and if the above doesn't make it clear, I'm an absolute beginner.

EDIT: I didn't notice that there is basically the same thread here Safely cut shaker slot without a router table? please ignore this one! If I knew how I'd delete it.
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If you look at Peters latest video you'll also see that his router table is nothing more than a router bolted to some mdf. It doesn't need to be anything more fancy than that do do a job. A trim router can do it, but as he also mentions, it'll lunch itself eventually as its just not designed for that job.

If you needed an excuse to get a half inch router this is it. The Erbauer 2100 is like £90 new (mine was bought for £60 refurbished from screwfix) and it works fine for the job.

The triton Peter uses is nice because you can at least adjust from above the table if you want as you can with many others.
There's also a method described here at about 13 minutes in on how to do it safely(forget the Festool guff BTW). Can be done with any router and you certainly don't need a Domino.
I watched about half the Malliard video but then got bored and disagree with him. There's always several ways to approach a woodworking problem and making a mock frame door seems perfectly suitable. To deal with the problems of proportion and fixing you'll need a 15 or 18 mm sheet and use glue and lots of clamps. A framed door with a 4 or 6 mm panel will be lighter but not necessarily 'better' .
Regarding slotting with a router you can clamp your frame pieces together to get a wider bearing for the router or use a slotting cutter , possibly bearing guided ,with the router running on the face of the board.
Sounds like the perfect opportunity to upgrade your router situation and make a basic router table. Once youve got it, you'll find more uses for it, plus, the job will be better and you are saving the money by not getting a tradesman in.
The mrs wanted shaker style doors on the kitchen cabinets so that was my first major project as a hobbiest of 3 years, that was a couple of years ago. I followed Peter Ms video but believe me the two most important things when doing this for the first time is a router and a square that is square. Pls remember to do the flip test on whatever square you have and make sure it’s within an acceptable tolerance otherwise it’s a nightmare.

mid you don’t fancy making a router table I’m sure you can get one cheap off eBay

hope this helps