Reply by sawdustdad

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Posted on Painted Cabinet Door Rail and Stile grain directions

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379 posts in 1741 days

#1 posted 02-16-2017 03:15 PM

The purpose for using Frame and Panel door construction is to reduce wood movement that would be seen in a large slab of wood. The panel moves within the frame, while the frame does not expand and contract because it is all long grain, where wood movement is minimal.

Your idea to use short grain rails or stiles would negate the entire purpose of a frame and panel door, resulting in larger expansion and contraction of the short grain members. Not to mention the short grain members would be very fragile and potentially come apart when you create the cope and stick joints.

Overall, a bad idea.

You are correct that hairline cracks in the rail to stile joints may appear. My advice is to not worry about it. It is the nature of wood and is evidence of the fact that your doors are REAL wood. It’s a feature of the door construction, not a defect!

OK, if the idea of those cracks really, really, REALLY bothers you, make your frames from a single sheet of plywood, MDO or MDF. Cut the frame out, remove the interior, route a rabbet on the backside, and install a panel. Or, even more radical, use MDF or MDO and create a faux frame and panel door by template routing details to make a single panel look like a frame a panel door—as is done with Thermofoil cabinets.

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Half of all boards cut to a specific length will be too short.

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