Calculating the stock dimensions for a stack of frame and panel doors isn’t brain surgery, but the sheer volume of pesky arithmetic involved has made many of us, at one time or another, feel like we need brain surgery.
None of it is very hard; it just seems to wear you down: The doors have to correspond to the dimensions cabinet openings, of course, and whether it’s an overlay or a reveal, it has to be factored in. With that done, and the overall dimensions of the doors recorded, you can move on to calculating the length of the rails. To do that, simply subtract twice the width of the stiles from the overall width of the door, but don’t forget that the twice the length of the overlapping stub tenon has to be added back in. Once that’s accomplished, you’re ready for the panels. In length, they need to equal the length of the stiles, minus twice the width of the rails, plus twice the depth of the panel groove, minus 1/16” or so for a mechanical margin of error. In width, they simply need to be the overall length of the rails, including the stub tenons, minus a 1/16” or so – unless it’s the middle of winter and the humidity in your shop is hovering around 20 percent, in which case you’d better take off a little more to allow for expansion – but just from the width… And so on.
It’s a dismal way to kill a couple of hours. And still, you’ll probably need to spend even more time calculating stock requirements before you can head to the lumberyard. The entire process can be an invitation to make a costly error, a great thing to never have to do again.
And for a modest investment in the Woodshop Calculator, you won’t. This straightforward software takes door opening sizes, overlay dimensions and stile widths, and spits out a complete cut list, in fractional or decimal form, for doors with up to doors four panels each. Even better, the program includes a handy board foot calculator to help you figure costs and buy the right amount of lumber. Even if you rarely make cabinet doors, we’ll bet the Woodshop Calculator will earn its keep in time saved and frustration averted. At least, that’s the impression we get from customer reviews like these:
"The Woodshop Calculator CD-ROM is an amazing product it makes figuring door sizes so easy! It also makes figuring the lumber cost very simple!"
"This software works wonderfully and accurately. All you have to do is measure the actual cabinet opening, tell the software your desired rail and stile width and door overhang and it calculates exactly the rail and stile length and panel size and prints out a cut list for each piece. I used it to make the first two doors in my kitchen remodel project (one opening, two doors) and they matched exactly. Now on to the rest of the doors. It sure saved a lot of measuring and guessing. I highly recommend it."
"Outstanding program! I've used it for some cabinet doors in my shop. The learning curve was short and the finished product was wonderful. I don't believe the program was intended for commercial use, but it certainly would be an asset to any cabinet shop."
"The Woodshop Calculator is one of the best tools I know of. I put in all entries and doors came out perfect. I highly recommend this CD."