Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Making a Raised Panel door

Rails and Stiles
We are building a solid oak door to match an existing door. Our original door was damaged, came unglued and could not be saved. We first cut our rail and stile boards, all 2 1/4 inches wide.
Our raised panel will be made up of several pieces of oak edge glued. We try to match the grains as best we can when deciding which boards are glued next to each other.
Panel Glue Up
Our planner is only 12 inches wide, so we can't run our full panel through it. Instead, we make two glue ups, each less than 12 inches.
Smooth Panel
Each section of our panel is then run through our planner to make them super smooth.
Final Panel
After edge glueing our two panels, we now have the final panel and we only have 1 glue joint to sand out since the other joints were smoothed out on the planner.
Cutting The Rails
Rails are always cut before stiles. To cut our rails, we set up our bit on our router table and use a sled to both hold and pass the wood through the bit.
The Finished Rail
The bit has cut our rail pattern. We selected a rail and stile bit set that closely matches the raised panel door we are trying to copy.
The Stiles
To cut the stiles, we switch to our stile bit and pass our wood through it on the router table. When cutting our rails and stiles, we always use a scrap piece of 3/4 inch wood to test our fit and then adjust our bit up or down as needed. Get the joint as smooth as possible to eliminate extra sanding.
Stile Cuts
We now have our stiles cut, which will fit into our rail cuts.
The Frame
We can now test fit our rails and stiles and start to see our door come to life.
Panel Raising
To raise our panel, we install our panel raising bit into our router table. We are using a vertical raising bit.
The Final Panel
After several passes through the bit, we have the raised panel that we want. Never try to cut the full profile in the first pass. Set the bit to cut less than the full pattern and make your passes, adjust the bit, make more passes. Cutting too deep will probably end up splitting your panel and then you will be starting over.
Final Glue Up
We can now glue up our door. We also never want our panel to fit too tightly into the frames. If it's too tight, do some sanding to make it float easier. Forcing a panel into the rails and stiles by clamping is going to result in a warped door.
Edge Detail
The door we are copying has an edge detail. We use a Roman Ogee bit to cut this. It is basically just a roundover type detail.
Edge Detail On Door
Our door now has a nice edge detail on it. We cut this edge detail after the final door is glued up so that we get a nice continuous edge all the way around.
The Finish
The door is ready for finish. We sand both sides and all edges with 150 grit, then 180, then 220. Several coat of poly with light hand sanding between each coat gives us a glass finish.
We flip the panel over and drill for our hinges. We are using some hidden adjustable european hinges that you can get at the big hardware stores or online. I always place my hinges the same distance from the top and bottom, usually 4 inches.
The Hardware
We use our existing door to help line up the hardware.
Final Installation
We can now install our new door. The new one is on the right and while it is not exact, it is very close and works well in this bathroom.

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