Curved Doors, Part 5

This month, we continue our "Curved Doors Tutorial" with this "Part 4" by Les Hastings. - See more at:

Les Hastings

Les Hastings

Making and Applying the Lip Mold

Ok lets finish these  bad boys up!

The lip mold I’m using is 3/8” of an inch proud of the  of the face of the door frame. We will need to make a template for the shaper to cut these . To get the arch I just placed the door on the piece of I’ thick poplar and marked  out from the face 3/8”.  I just  cut this out on the band saw and sanded to the line on an edge sander or you could set up a router and rout the correct radius.

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After the template is made mill a couple boards long enough to make the lip mold.  The thickness of these should match the width of your lip mold. In this case 1’ thick. Mark the radius on the boards and band saw them out. I made my boards wide enough to cut one on both sides. The template gets screwed to the board to hold it in place. Set up the shaper  and use a guide board or bearing if you have one that is the right size.  Now run the molding.

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My template here is kind a small. If you are not used to doing this you might want to make one that is larger for safety. It needs to be longer than the material you running so you can start the feed with the template against the guide block before the shaper cutter starts its cut. After they have been run (make extra)  mark them to match the same thickness as your straight molding and band saw close to your line. I just sand them to the line on a drum sander, but you could make a routing template and trim them that way if you are making a bunch.

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Now you need to rabbit the back of the molding to match the straight molding.

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Now you can start fitting the molding to the door. I always cut the curved molding first. Take a piece of the straight mold and place it on the door and mark the outside edge of the molding on the door frame.

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With a square extend the line to the outside edge of the door frame on both sides. This will give you the length of the curved molding.

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Make a set up block for the miter saw to hold the molding at the right angle. These will need to be cut upside down on the miter saw.  The highest part of the molding should be as close to 90 degrees to the blade as you can get it with it down on the table. I cut one end of all my pieces first, then the set up will change to make the next cut,

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After one side has been cut go back to the door and mark the length of the molding.

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Change the set up on the saw mark and cut all your pieces to length.

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Ok now back to the door. 

Place the molding on the door and check the miters with a short piece of the straight molding. They probably won’t fit tight at this point. I just use a small sanding block and sand the curved piece until it fit’s the straight piece as tight as possible.

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After you are happy with the fit on all the curved pieces cut and fit the straight molding. These should  miter like normal and fit just fine.

I glue the molding frames together at this point. I use the door frame as a glue up block so to speak. I will cover the corner of the door with tape and glue the frame together right on the door.  I just glue one corner at a time and let it set before going on to the next one.

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Ok almost there!   Most of the time there will slight differences in the moldings. You’ll have to let them dry and then sand them in by hand. You might even have to do a little carving in to make them right. Use a chisel and trim from an 1 ½” back or so at a taper and then finish sand.

Now you can clean up the door frame and the molding can be glued in place. 


I like to leave the molding and panel out of the door until I have fit and hung the door into the cabinet. It’s easier trim the door down sometimes without the lip mold glued in place.  Since its proud  of the door frame. Remember the stiles are still to wide at this point and need to be trimmed and fit to the cabinet.

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And there you have your first curved door!

When you get this process down and you have the need for something a little more challenging you could always try this kind door.

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I leave you with one final note. In woodworking always be sure that what you are about to do is as safe as you can possibly make it. If you don’t feel comfortable with what you are about to do then find another way.

There is always another way.

Stay safe my friends!

Les Hastings

Wichita, Kansas