Building tambour doors

I  researched different types of tambour doors and where to buy them. Unfortunately, Tambour doors are difficult to find locally and would most likely need to be purchased online. When it comes to restoration, I try to stay away from buying anything online. It’s hard to imagine what the doors would look like without seeing it first hand. Another problem was the price. Tambour doors are expensive. The only thing to do now is find out what it would take to build them myself. After doing research I found that it’s a very simple process given you have the right tools. I used the advice from online forums and also devised my own techniques that proved to be very useful. The interior of my airstream will be made of African mahogany. I start with 4x8 sheets and cover them with two layers of polyurethane. I found that the polyurethane alone was more effective than a cherry stain. My plan was to build the tambour doors out of the same wood I would be using throughout the airstream. This would give it a consistent custom look. The end result was Beautiful, custom tambour doors that took less then 6 hours to build.

First step was to cut the width of the door. In this case, the door is 8.25inches wide

Here you can see a line I drew from one corner of the uncut piece to the other corner. This is helpful when arranging the piece together after they are cut. You can either arrange them in the same order to form what looks like a solid piece of wood or rearrange them to get a really nice pattern. I rearranged them and the line helped identify whether similar pieces were to close together.

Each piece is individual cut

Make sure the canvas is nice and wrinkle free.

The trick to applying the canvas is pretty simple. I used Gorilla Glue and applied it to both the canvas and the back side of the tambour door using a foam roller. With all the pieces arranged, I used a have duty tape to hold all the pieces together during this process. After applying the canvas, I let it set for about 5mins. After 5min I flipped it over with the canvas side up and used an iron on a med heat setting. This really helped bond the two surfaces together.


This is showing the old tambour dooor

Setting up the router bit using the old tambour as a guide

Finished piece

front side

rear side

With the tambour doors complete, the next step is to rebuild the box. The original box (scene in the picture) is made of aluminum. There is really nothing wrong with it, but I would rather have the outer face made of the same wood as the tambour doors.
One important step I encountered when building the tambour doors was the alignment of the tambour door pieces. If the pieces are not exactly vertical to each other, the two doors will not line up when closed. Make sure before you tape the pieces together that they are perfectly straight.  


  1. This is an excellent tutorial on building tambours, thanks for sharing!

  2. A supervous tutorial, thanks for sharing

  3. Excellent article all the ideas/information I needed and more !.
    Great job