Curved doors and panels add elegance
to any project, especially
kitchen cabinets. Making these
complicated parts requires careful planning
and building. The task can be made much easier
by using a flexible panel product called
Kerfkore (see photo, right, top). It follows the
same principle that cabinetmakers use when
they saw multiple kerfs on the back of a piece
of plywood to make it flexible. A disadvantage
to this saw-kerfing method is the risk of the
face veneer cracking or kinking at the kerfs,
spoiling the curve’s smooth surface. Kerfcore’s
advantage is that that the kerfing is done for
you. Its flexible paper backing
provides a smooth
surface to attach
There are several important tricks and techniques
to working with Kerfkore but it’s a surprisingly
easy material to work with. I’ll walk
you through the main steps of making a curved
door with Kerfkore from layout to final trimming.
Information on using Kerfkore in other
applications can be found at the Web site
What is Kerfkore?
Kerfkore is a very
ribs spaced 1/8
in. apart on a
paper backer sheet.
The spaces between
the ribs allows the board to flex. The flexible backer sheet
provides a smooth surface for veneering. The ribs in different
Kerfkore products are made of particleboard, luan
plywood, poplar plywood, MDF, fire-rated treated particleboard
or lightweight styrene foam. These different cores
have different weights, strengths and screw-holding characteristics.
The particleboard core works well for generalpurpose
doors, such as those for kitchen cabinets.
Kerfkore with paper backer on both sides is also
available. This makes the material more rigid and
somewhat easier to handle and enables you to create a
curve that turns into a straight run. To make the twosided
variety bend, you cut the backer on one side with
a utility knife where you need the bend to occur.
Kerfkore comes in 4-ft. by 8-ft. sheets in 1/4-in., 3/8-in.,
1/2-in., 5/8-in. and 3/4-in. thicknesses and costs
between $40 and $125 per sheet (see Sources, below).
Click any image to view a larger version.
easily in both
Doors made with Kerfkore have
a smooth, even curve.