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Building a Custom Door with Trapezoid Glass Accents

Building a Custom Door with Trapezoid Glass Accents

This project started out being a built-in bookshelf, but the client decided to move the bookshelf away from the wall to create a small room behind it to be used as a meditation and message area when taking a break from work.

rough cutting door parts to sizeAs with almost every project, I started out rough-cutting the parts to the general size, usually just a little bigger than needed, so I could let the wood move before milling and jointing to the final thickness and size.

Shop made tapering jigI used my shop-made tapering jig to cut the top and bottom rails to start the angle for the trapezoid-shaped glass accents.  I have been thinking about getting the micro jig version.  If anybody has one, please let me know what you think of it in the comments below.

Once I had the angle figured out and the space divided into three equal parts, I cut the middle rails to fit using my Incra HD1000.  

Domino XL for large floating tenonsI used the Domino XL with the largest tenons available for the joinery.  I know some purists will have a fit because I used a Domino instead of traditional mortise and tenons but on a project this size where I needed to build the built-in bookcase as well. I needed a fast and accurate way to finish the job and not hold up the rest of the site construction.

Chiseling out the corner on a rabbetI lost some footage and photos of routing out for the glass panels, but basically, I used a rabbeting bit from Rockler to create a rabbit for the glass to rest in.  I returned and chiseled out the round corners to match the trapezoid angle.  Then when I install the glass, it will be held in place with glass stop tacked with brad nails.

Cutting a dado on the top of a door jambThe jam is custom size to fit the structure of the bookcase.  However, I did plan it out to use a 1 3/8” standard-thickness door so I could use standard-size hinges and templates.

Porter Cable Butt and hinge Mortise I used a Porter cable hinge template #59381 to route out the mortises for the hinges on the jamb and door.  This template worked great to be sure everything lined up.    When I was deciding what jig to use for this project, there were several reviews stating that this jig was not accurate.  However, I found it to be accurate and worked great.  After using the jig, I think those reviews may be based on user error, not product quality, as there are some details to pay attention to when using this jig.

Cleaning up the corner of a mortise using a corner chisel The Porter Cable Hinge template came with a corner chisel for square hinges.

Porter cable strike plate templateTo rout out for the strike plate and mortise for the door latch, I used the Porter cable Strike and latch template #59375.  It was a good thing that this template was plastic, as do to my not paying attention, I routed into the plastic on more than one occasion.

Drilling hole for door knob using jigTo drill the hole for the door knob, I used the standard hole saw kit, which is available just about everywhere.

Shop made jig to hold the door vertical To hold the door on edge, I used a shop-made jig comprising of a 2×4 base and plywood triangle supports screwed to the 2×4.  It was surprisingly stable

Stapling the door jamb together Then when I finish the jamb, I build it around the door to be sure that the reveal was the same all the way around.

Custom door with trapezoid glass accents in a built in bookshelfAnd finally stained with the customer’s choice of color and installed on the bookshelf.

If you would like to see more completed picture, or order a custom bookshelf or door. Please check out my website for custom built-in bookcase with a trapezoid door


I’m the owner of Benham Design Concepts, a mixed media art studio where I design and build custom furniture and other works of art using wood, glass, stone, and various metals.
In this blog, I talk about the art I create, my journey, and the things I learn along the way.


  1. The trapezoid windows make the door far more interesting. I laughed out loud re potential grief for using dominoes. I’m curious as to why two TV screens?

    1. Thanks David, I think the two TV screens is so he can watch the stock market on one and the game on the other.

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