Reply by JBrow

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Posted on Finish Raised Panel Doors Before Assembly?

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1368 posts in 2163 days

#1 posted 09-24-2016 12:45 PM

Matt Przybylski,

I finish door panels and assemble the rails and stiles while these are unfinished. When it comes time to finish the rails and stiles, some finish does get on the door panel. Therefore I keep a clean paper towel at the ready. As soon as the finish is on the rails and stiles I give the door a wipe to remove any finish that made its way onto the panel. This avoids the build-up of a bead of finish on the door panel. I am sure I am removing a bit of finish from edges of the stiles and rails, but it seems that enough finish remains to do its job.

The reason I do not finish the rails and stiles before gluing the frame together is that I often find that the corner joints are not flush. Some sanding and/or scraping is required to make the joints flush. If the rails and stiles were finished before the joints are flush, the previously applied finish would have to be removed and then after the joints are flushed, the finish would have to be feathered into the finish that was not removed when the joints were made flush.

On the other hand it is probably not a bad idea to pre-finish the edges of the rails and stiles where the panel slips into the groove but leave the remainder of the stiles and rails raw, to be finished after the joints are flushed. As you mentioned, staying away from where the shoulders on the rails and stiles are glued would make a much better joint.

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