Raised Panel Cabinet Doors

Newest Video! I love creating, here's what I'm up to!

Submitted by Ana White on Wed, 05/04/2011 - 09:24
Difficulty
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An easy technique to create beautiful, strong raised panel doors, without fancy tools, using easy techniques, and on the tiniest of budgets.

So I got a new shirt with no paint on it, and even a new Mother's Day Apron, (thanks Gracie!) so I thought I would try something new - a video post! 

In one of my recent posts, I constructed a raised panel cabinet door for this tilt out wood trash can/recycling center.  But I thought a video post would be much more effective in showing you how to build raised panel doors.
 If you've ever wanted to make beautiful strong raised panel cabinet doors, but never thought it possible without special tools and advanced techniques, think again!

Dimensions to fit door openings

Preparation

Shopping List

1x12 for the raised panel, cut down to size
1x3 boards for the cabinet door frame

Cut List

Cut your doors to fit your project.

Tools
Tape Measure
Pencil
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Drill
Table Saw
Power Sander
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!

The techniques shown in this video could be dangerous. Use at your own risk.

Instructions

Step 1

To cut your raised panel doors, you will need to set your saw blade so that the minimum thickness of the cut will be 1/2".  This is shown in the video above.
After creating the cut, you will need to adjust the saw blade for the bevel.  I choose a 15 degree angle and was quite pleased with the results.  Also make sure that you have raised the saw blade high enough (test on your wood piece).

Step 2

After you have set your fence on your tablesaw, measure the width of your fence and construct a saddle jig as shown in the video. Attach the panel to the saddle jig with either clamps or screws, and run the panel through the tablesaw. Repeat for all four sides.

More details on the jig are shown in step 3.

Step 3

The above diagram shows how I built my saddle jig for the tablesaw. My fence is 1" thick and 2 1/2" high at it's highest point. My jig is about 20" long.

Step 4

In this step, we sand the edges of the raised panel.  The tablesaw does not create the smoothest edge cut, so this step is very necessary, and once you start creating the door panels, you won't be able to get a sander in there.

Step 5

And this is the easy step - drive your screws!

Step 6

Easy jig ideas - just wanted to also post a diagram of how I would make a jig to help me run the raised panel through the tablesaw. You will still want to be very cautions and make sure that you leave a wide enough gap between the boards for your tablesaw blade. If your tablesaw has a fence that is smooth on both sides, you could actually create a jig that straddles the fence.

Safety safety first. It's taken me many years to get comfortable with using a table saw, but still, I'm super cautious.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.

Comments

Ms in NC (not verified)

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 09:38

Mr. Scott in NC, It looks like you have a lot of experience in know-how and woodworking, and with safety. As a newbie, I am a little (well, more than a little) daunted by using power tools, especially a table saw due to safety issues. I wanted to find out how to locate someone in NC to get hands-on lessons, so that I would be safe using my power tools that I newly acquire. I have looked far and wide for classes, but my internet search has come up with very few. Do you think you could point me in the right direction? Ana has such fabulous plans that I want to try and do! Thanks!

dalsquared

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 10:06

Hello Ana,

I just stumbled across your site, having discovered Pinterest only recently, and seeing a whole TON of woodworking projects by a woman (!!!) I thought I needed to peruse what you had to say.  And I have to say, I was very impressed.  I am (or rather, was, before I lost my mind and returned to grad school) a high-end cabinet maker, working in cabinet shops for ~20 years, doing both residential and commercial (banks, corporate, etc.) woodwork, so I had, I will admit, a little bit of skepticism when I began to peruse your 'advanced' projects.  Well, shame on me.  What I saw was a very talented amateur woodworker (and I mean nothing bad or denigrating by 'amateur' you strike me as not unlike good old Norm Abram when he first started out on his show, his background being as a carpenter, and carpenters and cabinetmakers are NOT the same thing. Yes, I am old enough to have watched, with interest, his evolution into the fine cabinetmaker he is today), but what was most impressive to me was your fearlessness in the face of big, loud, dangerous tools.  A fearlessness not shared, for whatever reason, by many women these days, at least not women sharing their experiences in woodworking publicly.  Kudos to you!  What your videos showed us was a woman solving the very same problems that face a professional woodworker, and in the same sort of manner that a professional would do!  Excellent example, especially to any women out there, you can do this too!  Now, I do have a few minor quibbles, and one rather major mistake that I saw, but the quibbles, being minor, I can't really complain about, since they are a matter of style, and for the most part, don't really matter in the end, but the "major" mistake will appear for anyone who follows your directions slavishly, and I will have a suggestion when I get to that part. 

On the quibbles: The first on is on your cover photo of a "tilt out wood trash can/recycling center" that you built at some time in the past, you know, the inspiration for your attempting to build a raised panel door in the first place.  Well, you have the stiles and rails backwards in the photos of the door, since "traditionally" the stiles are always vertical members running the entire height of the door and the rails are horizontal running between the stiles.  There is actually a physical reason for this, which I will get to in a minute, but as you built it here, its just a matter of style, i.e. taste, and I can't argue with your taste, although it does look a little funny (maybe that's just my old-fashioned taste showing through).  Another quibble, since you got away with it, is on the saw insert you used.  Now I, too, have only a cheap little table saw that I am forced to use (borrowed from my brother in law) and it, too has the huge gap between the blade and the edge of the insert, but your audience should know that this is terribly unsafe (because of the possibility of stuff falling into the cumberland gap in the midst of a cut) and is not really necessary (even though that's how the saws are sold) so they should investigate the possibility of investing in (or even building from scrap) a 'zero clearance' insert and junking the 'stock' one as the ~useless, borderline dangerous, thing it is.  The fact is you got away with it because of the jig you built, which I was very happy to see, that is the way a pro would solve that problem, too (although with a few modifications to the jig).

Now, on the major mistake:  Sorry I need to do this, but there are other people out there who will want to build these raised panels, and I do feel obliged to say something.  In your door, you take no account of seasonal wood movement, as mirwin wondered about above, and he is completely correct in his wondering: Kreg jigs are wonderful tools, I have one myself, but they don't solve everything, and an entire door held together by nothing other than screws WILL TEAR ITSELF APART WITHIN A FEW YEARS OF SEASONAL MOVEMENT!  There is no getting around this fact, it is central to working with wood.  And, in fact, is why panel doors (and frame and panel anythings) were invented in the middle ages in the first place; to take this movement into account while (in pre-plywood days) allowing large, stable wooden structures to be built (see for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frame_and_panel).  So, to my suggestion; to anyone else out there hoping to use these instructions to build a raised panel, frame and panel door.  Use the kreg jig and screws to join the frames together, but use a router (with a 1/4" wide x 1/2" deep bit) to cut a slot all the way around in the frame (probably after assembling the frame, then cut slots, disassemble the frame, insert the panel, then reassemble the frame, aint screws grand!).  Letting the panel 'float' in the frame (or use Ana's suggestion above, of either the foam balls/barrels inside the slots) or else just a pin, a small ½” nail,  in the center of the panel and through both sides of the slotted frames to hold the panel still, if you wish.  As long as it is just the one pin, the panel will be free to move on either side into and out of the slots, and (most importantly) will not be able to tear itself apart.

Ok, so that's the major mistake I saw in your videos, but that doesn't change the fact that I am still VERY impressed with them, and would recommend them and your site to any budding (especially female) woodworkers I happen across.  Keep up the good work!  I, for one, will keep an eye on what you build next.

 

dalsquared

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 10:29

Hello Ana,

I just stumbled across your site, having discovered Pinterest only recently, and seeing a whole TON of woodworking projects by a woman (!!!) I thought I needed to peruse what you had to say.  And I have to say, I was very impressed.  I am (or rather, was, before I lost my mind and returned to grad school) a high-end cabinet maker, working in cabinet shops for ~20 years, doing both residential and commercial (banks, corporate, etc.) woodwork, so I had, I will admit, a little bit of skepticism when I began to peruse your 'advanced' projects.  Well, shame on me.  What I saw was a very talented amateur woodworker (and I mean nothing bad or denigrating by 'amateur' you strike me as not unlike good old Norm Abram when he first started out on his show, his background being as a carpenter, and carpenters and cabinetmakers are NOT the same thing. Yes, I am old enough to have watched, with interest, his evolution into the fine cabinetmaker he is today), but what was most impressive to me was your fearlessness in the face of big, loud, dangerous tools.  A fearlessness not shared, for whatever reason, by many women these days, at least not women sharing their experiences in woodworking publicly.  Kudos to you!  What your videos showed us was a woman solving the very same problems that face a professional woodworker, and in the same sort of manner that a professional would do!  Excellent example, especially to any women out there, you can do this too!  Now, I do have a few minor quibbles, and one rather major mistake that I saw, but the quibbles, being minor, I can't really complain about, since they are a matter of style, and for the most part, don't really matter in the end, but the "major" mistake will appear for anyone who follows your directions slavishly, and I will have a suggestion when I get to that part. 

On the quibbles: The first one is on your cover photo of a "tilt out wood trash can/recycling center" that you built at some time in the past, you know, the inspiration for your attempting to build a raised panel door in the first place.  Well, you have the stiles and rails backwards in the photos of the door, since "traditionally" the stiles are always vertical members running the entire height of the door and the rails are horizontal running between the stiles.  There is actually a physical reason for this, which I will get to in a minute, but as you built it here, its just a matter of style, i.e. taste, and I can't argue with your taste, although it does look a little funny (maybe that's just my old-fashioned taste showing through).  Another quibble, since you got away with it, is on the saw insert you used.  Now I, too, have only a cheap little table saw that I am forced to use (borrowed from my brother in law) and it, too has the huge gap between the blade and the edge of the insert, but your audience should know that this is terribly unsafe (because of the possibility, or really probablitiy, of stuff falling into the cumberland gap in the midst of a cut) and is not really necessary (even though that's how the saws are sold) so they should investigate the possibility of investing in (or even building from scrap) a 'zero clearance' insert and junking the 'stock' one as the ~useless, borderline dangerous, thing it is.  The fact is you got away with it because of the jig you built, which I was very happy to see, that is the way a pro would solve that problem, too (although with a few modifications to the jig).

Now, on the major mistake:  Sorry I need to do this, but there are other people out there who will want to build these raised panels, and I do feel obliged to say something.  In your door, you take no account of seasonal wood movement, as mirwin wondered about above, and he is completely correct in his wondering: Kreg jigs are wonderful tools, I have one myself, but they don't solve everything, and an entire door held together by nothing other than screws WILL TEAR ITSELF APART WITHIN A FEW YEARS OF SEASONAL MOVEMENT!  There is no getting around this fact, it is central to working with wood.  And, in fact, is why panel doors (and frame and panel anythings) were invented in the middle ages in the first place; to take this movement into account while (in pre-plywood days) allowing large, stable wooden structures to be built (see for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frame_and_panel).  So, to my suggestion; to anyone else out there hoping to use these instructions to build a raised panel, frame and panel door.  Use the kreg jig and screws to join the frames together, but use a router (with a 1/4" wide x 1/2" deep bit) to cut a slot all the way around in the frame (probably after assembling the frame, then cut slots, disassemble the frame, insert the panel, then reassemble the frame, aint screws grand!).  Letting the panel 'float' in the frame (or use Ana's suggestion above, of either the foam balls/barrels inside the slots) or else just a pin, a small ½” nail,  in the center of the panel and through both sides of the slotted frames to hold the panel still, if you wish.  As long as it is just the one pin, the panel will be free to move on either side into and out of the slots, and (most importantly) will not be able to tear itself apart.

Ok, so that's the major mistake I saw in your videos, but that doesn't change the fact that I am still VERY impressed with them, and would recommend them and your site to any budding (especially female) woodworkers I happen across.  Keep up the good work!  I, for one, will keep an eye on what you build next.

 

P.S. Oops, I almost forgot.  As to the 'physical reason' for runnig the stiles and rails in the traditional manner, first, taking into account that wood moves, always, but not only that, it moves more (much more) in a direction across the grain than parallel to the grain, so we (or rather, the inventors of the technique) need to account for this as well.  So what they did was to 'trap' the verticle movement of the frame by running the rails between the stiles, while allowing as much horizontal motion in the panel (where most of the expansion/contraction will appear) as possible, all keeping the frame and its dimensions ~constant.  Of course, eventually some big brain invented plywood, and all earlier bets were off.

 

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