first raised panel doors - table saw approach

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Project by jamsomito posted 02-17-2018 03:24 PM 1294 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Technically not “finished”, but finished by me. A friend asked if I could make some doors to turn this bookshelf into a pantry. They are going to paint the whole thing white, but that’s in their court so my part is done. It doesn’t look like much but I’m really proud of how these turned out. I designed them to match the existing doors on the bottom of the cabinet. The existing doors were your typical cope and stick raised panels, but had some semblance of quality construction – the raised panels were proud of the rails and stiles and the whole thing was made from solid wood, albeit pine. So I ran and got some select pine and got to work.

Here’s the original

Cut the rails and stiles to length on the miter saw – left the stiles long so I could trim them back square and at the exact length when it was all assembled. Then I cut the tenons on my makeshift tenoning jig and the rest was all dadoes.

I only have a combination blade so I had to chisel flat the bottoms of the housing dadoes.

Next were the raised panels. Pretty straightforward for the first part. Glued up a big panel, ripped and cross-cut to the panel sizes. Needed 2 glue-ups, but allowed for continuous grain from top to bottom. Unfortunately it will be painted, but still cool.

Now for the fun part, cutting the raised bits. I have a right-tilt saw so I moved the fence to the left and just reversed my iffy tenoning jig to hold the panels upright as I pushed them through. For the bigger panels it worked like a charm – really nice crisp edges. The smaller top panels, however, were too small to clamp to the jig, and I don’t have a zero-clearance insert plate, so it actually fell down into the blade and got stuck on the back end of the insert plate when trying to push it through. Not only was it terrifying, especially when most angles were cut and there wasn’t much to grab onto, but it got some pretty bad burning on these little ones where that happened. A little sanding made it go away but I realized right quick that this really messed with the panel shape, the shadow lines, and the corners where the angles meet the corners of the raised portion. A little finesse and I called it short of eliminating all burning since they would be painted – just got rid of any saw marks to the touch. In the end though it all worked out and I’m pretty happy with them. After the angles were cut it was a really shallow cut to get the vertical face on the center raised rectangle. Took a bit to get the blade exactly right, but tried on a few pieces of plywood first to make sure. Worked great.

Time for glue-up. Learned about and used SpaceBalls for the first time. These things are the bees knees, and hilarious to boot!

The joints came out a little more loosely than I liked so I just got some long-set epoxy to glue it all up with instead of wood glue. Filled any gaps and it worked great. I was surprised how easily it sanded off after it set too – was a little worried about that and and soft pine.

I also had a little boo-boo on the overlap between the doors, so I had to add an off-cut to lengthen the flap on the front-most door.

And all together and tops and bottoms trimmed up.

Now the only other piece to be built was the quarter-round trim to match the profile of the existing doors. It needed to be 3/8 inch, which I couldn’t find anywhere. I bought some 1/2” stuff thinking I could use it with a slightly bigger radius, but it needed to be cut vertical on one face and at an angle of 20degrees on the other to match the angle of the raised panels (the original could be cut with a flat “tenon” on the edges of all the panels, but I couldn’t physically do that with the table saw). So I ended up making my own. I used the scraps from the panel glue-ups and a 3/8” roundover bit on the router to round all 4 sides. Then I resawed down the middle on the bandsaw for my 90deg side. Finally I tiled the table to 20deg for my final cut which gave me my weird-angle quarter-round with the right radius. Then it was just mitering to fit around the panels.

I applied these with 3 dabs of CA glue to hold the piece and 3 long stripes of wood glue to keep them there long-term. Worked like a charm.

Then I chiseled out the pockets for the hinges on either side, drilled and installed the pulls, and I also sunk some 3/8” neodymium magnets in the overlapped sections and the backs of the “back” door so they would all snap into place. These work great to give a little positive tactile feedback when the doors are closed and keep them there, and they can be painted over so you’ll never know they’re there.

Really happy with how these turned out. Lessons learned – always find a way to clamp the panels in your jig before pushing through the table saw blade without a zero-clearance insert! Also, use hard wood instead of pine! And maybe buy the router bit set, it would be way easier! Haha. Kudos if you read the whole thing. As always, comments and critiques welcome.

5 comments so far

View woodworm1962's profile


145 posts in 908 days

#1 posted 02-17-2018 05:50 PM

Nice choice of wood. many hardcore woodworkers don’t like pine but I do. ALSO nice touch using the panel rubber balls.

I think once you get a router set up with a nice set of Raised panel bits you will wonder how you ever got away with not using them before

-- No one likes the truth...

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1455 days

#2 posted 02-17-2018 06:03 PM

Good work! Nice profile and I especially like the faux beading. Kudos!

View woodworm1962's profile


145 posts in 908 days

#3 posted 02-17-2018 10:13 PM

Very clean honest work!

-- No one likes the truth...

View BFamous's profile


344 posts in 928 days

#4 posted 02-18-2018 01:44 AM

Great job. And thank you for the detailed step by step.

-- Brian Famous :: Charlotte, NC ::

View OG51's profile


157 posts in 918 days

#5 posted 02-18-2018 03:18 PM

Beautiful work. As has been mentioned, very clean. Great job matching the existing design. Not always easy.

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