How to make coved raised panel doors on your TS

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Blog entry by Jake posted 11-17-2014 02:29 PM 2300 reads 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hey all. First, thanks a lot to oluf who gave me a tip on how to use silicone instead of spaceballs to keep the panels form rattling. Secondly, this is going to be a long one, so bare with me if interested, if not, no big deal. :)

Raised panel doors are very rare in Europe, so I will have a very posh kitchen when it’s all said and done, so I am very glad. The door with flat inset panels (as classic Euro doors are) looks plain crap when compared to the raised panel one, I know that, since when I turn my raised panel door over, the back side looks very unappealing.

So let’s talk about how to make classy raised panel doors. By the way, I am by no means an expert, so if you see I have done something wrong, feel free to let me know, I am just explaining what I did, not saying it is perfect.

You first start off with your hardwood panels, mine were roughly 5/8” thick.

Then you set up your TS, this is how: you cover your first half of the blade with your fence, making sure your fence’s leading edge is at the dead center of the blade when the blade is raised up to full height. Some people recommend putting your fence at 90 degrees with the blade, but it seemed like a lot more stress than I would like to put on my blade, so I put my “fence” at some kind of angle, probably like 40 degrees or whatever.

Also, it is very important to have a featherboard at the dead center of your blade, so 50% covers the infeed and 50% covers the outfeed side, the reason for that is, that you can’t hold the piece down with exactly the same pressure on all 4 sides, so the featherboard keeps your edges looking crisp. I tried the first by holding down with my hand – the edges varied quite a bit. Also, when you cobble up a fence like I did, plane the edge flat and oil it up with BLO, tung oil or whatever, makes the movement of the panels a lot easier.

Then start going over the edges, first to the endgrain, then do the long grain sides, do all sides on all panels, then raise the blade, rinse and repeat until you are done. I raised my blade up in 1/16-1/8 increments, no real system, just kind of winged it, but make sure that your very final pass will be very shallow like 1/32 or so, that cleans the edges up a bit better.

This is what it looks like when all is said and done. By the way, my panels are maple, and no burns what so ever, which is kind of a success I guess.

After doing all that potentially dangerous shaping on your TS, it is time for safe but boring hand sanding, which oddly enough is when I popped open a cold one + a few later on. On this picture you can see where the hand sanding comes in – everything has been sanded, except the left, long grain side on the right panel. I won’t lie, sanding is a pain, I guess I could have eliminated some of the marks when i used like a 60 tooth blade or something, but I think mine had like 24 or 32 max, but I don’t mind, sanding was OK in the end, sanded it up through 80-100-120 and then ended it there, got bored. :)

Now time for glue up:

Afterwards I sanded the rails and stiles to 180 and the panel to 240, then put BLO on. The BLO is still curing, will lacquer the doors tomorrow. The pictures really don’t do it justice, the grain popped beautifully, after I get them installed I will get a better camera and make some pictures for the last part. Close ups and such.

In the end, for a first test it turned out well, my wife is happy, so that’s what matters. :) If you have any questions I’ll try to answer them the best I can.

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

10 comments so far

View MadJester's profile


2065 posts in 3514 days

#1 posted 11-17-2014 02:36 PM

Very nice…are you going to put a rabbet along the edges so they will fit into a frame?

-- Sue~ Mad Jester Woodworks, "Not what I have, but what I do is my kingdom" Thomas Carlyle

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30615 posts in 3422 days

#2 posted 11-17-2014 02:47 PM

Excellent tutorial. Should help some of us figure these out.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Jake's profile


850 posts in 2715 days

#3 posted 11-17-2014 03:15 PM

Hey Sue – no rabbet, per se. Centering the fence on the blade at the maximum height should ensure a semi flat ending to the cove. I did however plane maybe a 1/64th rabbet on the back side to ensure a good fit.

If the panels should ever expand a lot due to humidity I’ll see if I fit them too snug – the grooves on the stiles should explode! :) , but since we are pretty stable around here, I don’t expect to have any problems.

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

View CFrye's profile


11253 posts in 2924 days

#4 posted 11-17-2014 04:09 PM

Hopefully no explosions in the future, Jake! Thanks for walking us through. Looking forward to the finished kitchen!

-- God bless, Candy

View a1Jim's profile


118162 posts in 4661 days

#5 posted 11-17-2014 04:21 PM

Usually, I would make coved panels on a router table ,but your table saw approach works fine. Nice work Jake,fine looking panel doors.


View Fiddy's profile


230 posts in 2395 days

#6 posted 11-17-2014 07:29 PM

Nice work, Jake! Question for you, did you find that the (not sure how to reference it) centerline or high point at the corners of the coves lined up nicely to the corner? Hopefully that made sense. Reason I ask is because this past weekend I had attempted this same method after seeing it done online. It was far from perfect attempt as I was just seeing how it worked in general, although it seemed my corners were off.

View Jake's profile


850 posts in 2715 days

#7 posted 11-17-2014 09:46 PM

Yeah they lined up perfectly for me, I think it only comes down to one thing and the most important – the featherboard to keep equal pressure on the part that you are passing over your blade and IMHO that is the only thing that matters. When I did it without for the first few passes i got less than prefect results.

So I would definitely suggest to try it again with a featherboard, those you tube videos make it look a bit too easy if you ask me. :)

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

View DIYaholic's profile


19921 posts in 3759 days

#8 posted 11-17-2014 11:39 PM

Nice tutorial.
Thanks for taking the time to put this out there.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Fiddy's profile


230 posts in 2395 days

#9 posted 11-18-2014 03:06 AM

Thanks Jake! And you’re right, they make it look sooo easy. I’ll set up with the feather board next time around and see how that treats me.

View MadJester's profile


2065 posts in 3514 days

#10 posted 11-22-2014 04:26 PM

Cool beans Jake!!

-- Sue~ Mad Jester Woodworks, "Not what I have, but what I do is my kingdom" Thomas Carlyle

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