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How to Make New Cabinet Doors From Old Shutters

Search your local salvage yard for vintage shutters. They can tidy up more than the view

Some of us can't afford a display-worthy flat-screen TV. And even if we could, there'd still be the wires, the DVD player, and audio equipment to contend with. Better to keep it all under wraps. After building her media-storage shelves, This Old House multimedia editor Alex Bandon simply got tired of looking at all that equipment when it wasn't in use. Rather than make a custom door, she bought two mahogany shutters at a salvage yard for $75. Hinged together as a bifold, they were a perfect fit. She also knew that if she integrated vintage finds into her upgrade project, I would pitch in with the labor. Clever girl.

Step 1

Fill Old Hinge Mortises

Photo by Kristine Larsen

Fill old hinge mortises in both shutters with an epoxy filler. Let dry, and use a rasp to smooth the buildup. To turn two single shutters into a bifold, you must also remove the rabbets (light-blocking strips where opposing pairs of shutters come together). Cut these off with a jigsaw to create smooth edges.

Step 2

Cut New Mortises

Photo by Kristine Larsen

Cut new mortises in the shutter that will attach to the shelving unit, spacing them about 3 inches from the top and bottom. Score around the hinge with a utility knife; chisel out the wood to the depth of the metal. To open the door a full 180 degrees, use wraparound hinges (about $5 a pair; Rockler Woodworking and Hardware). These have a fixed center and two leaves—one that screws into the shutter and one that secures it to the unit.

Step 3

Prime Both Shutters

Photo by Kristine Larsen

Prime both shutters, let dry, and sand. Brush on two coats of latex paint, sanding between coats.

Step 4

Fit the Hinges

Photo by Kristine Larsen

Fit the hinges in the shutter mortises. Predrill holes for their screws, and drive in the fasteners.

Step 5

Steady the Shutter in the Opening

Photo by Kristine Larsen

Steady the shutter in the opening, and trace the outline of the hinges where they'll attach to the shelving unit. Score and chisel out the mortises.

Step 6

Create the Bifold

Photo by Kristine Larsen

Stand both shutters back to back, their sides facing up. At 6 inches from their tops and bottoms, place a no-mortise hinge (about $3.75 a pair; Rockler Wodworking and Hardware) so the barrel is between the two shutters. Predrill holes, and drive in the hinge screws.

Step 7

Attach the Shutters to the Unit

Photo by Kristine Larsen

Attach the shutters to the unit, fit hinges in the mortises, predrill holes, and drive in the screws.

Step 8

Center the Knob on the Shutter

Photo by Kristine Larson

Center the knob on the shutter and predrill a hole. Insert the knob post from the back, and twist on the pull. Now you're ready to swing open your new media cabinet door, flip on the tube, and veg out.