My cabinet doors are tired and have many coats of ugly paint. Rather than strip all the paint off, I'm considering just chucking the old doors and making new ones. I like the plain style of just a simple, painted rectangle of plywood. But how can I finish the edges of plywood doors to conceal the plies so they don't shout "I am made of plywood"?

  • Since you claim to want to paint the new doors you should be able to get by as follows: Presand all the edges very smooth. Fill any voids in the inner plys that are visible at the edge of the doors. Use a spackle, or wood filler that dries hard. Then sand the edges again to smooth the filler areas. You should now be ale to paint the doors, both surfaces and edges. I would not anticipate any "screaming plywood". – Michael Karas Jan 9 '13 at 21:55

Try iron-on edge banding. Iron it on (you will have excess probably) and then trim the excess. You can usually get it pretty close to the color of your stain that you choose.


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You could use MDF. Much cheaper than cabinet grade plywood, and will finish up just fine with paint.

  • Can I safely screw hinges into MDF? Can I use it around moisture in my kitchen? – ArgentoSapiens Jan 9 '13 at 22:59
  • You will want to predrill for screws. There are also specialty screws designed specifically for MDF if you want to go down that road. Moisture should not be an issue so long as you have a couple of coats of paint. – James Van Huis Jan 9 '13 at 23:20
  • MDF is commonly used for painted kitchen and bathroom doors (search 'custom cabinet doors' online). If you have a real lumberyard nearby you might be interested in ultralight MDF which is slightly more expensive but would be easier to handle when you are cutting the parts. – JayL Jan 10 '13 at 6:58

A standard approach on shelving (which works on doors as well) is to glue a solid strip of wood to the edge.

  1. Use a piece of clear pine (or other inexpensive wood) the same length as the door edge, about 1/4 inch (or more) thick, and a hair wider than the the thickness of the plywood. (You may need to trim down the plywood so the finished size, after edging, fits.)
  2. Position edge band so it extends a bit beyond each face of the plywood.
  3. Glue to the edge and either clamp or pin it with a brad gun.
  4. Once the glue dries, sand the edges flush with the face of the ply.
  5. "Break" (slightly round off) the outside edges of the solid wood to give it a finished look before painting.

What I have done in the past is routed the edges of the plywood with a round bit, then finish it with sandpaper and seal it with poly and/or stain. While it doesn't hide the layers, it ends up looking pretty good and it is safe. Sort of an industrial look. Just make sure you use a high RPM router with a sharp bit (and wear eye protection).

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