Ask WWGOA: Cutting a Small Access Door

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I have a finished piece of furniture that I need to cut a rectangular access door into and I would like to hinge the piece I cut out. The size would be roughly 4″ x 6″ for the access. I need to cut 4, very thin cuts through the wood face to make the rectangle, and add small hinges for it to open. The face of the wood is perpendicular to the floor and the furniture can not be moved, so it needs to be cut in place.

Submitted by DWehr


The best way to do this is with a jigsaw. I’ve done this in the past and found that a metal cutting blade works best. It has extremely fine teeth, and provides a narrower kerf than woodcutting blades. Since you’ll be using the cut out as a door, the narrow kerf is important. You’ll need to cut very slowly, but the better quality cut is worth it. If your jigsaw provides an orbital action, don’t use it.

Carefully lay out the door. You’ll need to start the cut on each of the four sides by rocking the running blade into the material. Do this gently. I find that rocking down and moving forward slightly at the same time is the easiest way to penetrate the stock. Practice on waste wood. Cut to the inside corners, then repeat the process for each of the other sides.

Once you’ve got the door cut out, you can add the hinges of your choice.


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One Response to “Ask WWGOA: Cutting a Small Access Door”

  1. Russell

    Alternative to a jigsaw is a multicutter (like the Fein Multimaster). They have extremely fine blades, much finer than a jigsaw. Unfortunately, they have a reputation for being very inaccurate. This needn't be the case. I've made extremely accurate cuts with mine, you just need to plan and take your time. Using a wooden block clamped to the work piece as a guide will allow you to cut at right angles to the face of the work. Alternatively, as I small opening is required, the angle of cut can be adjusted so that the door doesn't jam and leave an almost invisible line.