Step-back Cupboard Build #16: Making the door

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Blog entry by rwyoung posted 07-04-2009 12:36 AM 2139 reads 1 time favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 15: Attaching the molding... Part 16 of Step-back Cupboard Build series Part 17: Been busy with other things but finally have some time to work on the cupboard! »

I didn’t take a lot of pictures of the process of assembling the door. It is really just the repetition of the same sort of panel glue-up steps and router work illustrated before. A good video podcast of frame and panel door making can be found at

1) Compute final panel size based on door. I know that my rail and stile set creates a 3/8” deep panel groove.
2 x StileWidth + Rail[email protected] + 3/4” = 13-7/8”
StileLength – 2 x RailWidth + 3/4” = 26-3/4”

2) Allow for panel expansion because it is a solid wood panel. Most of the movement will be in the width so allow 1/8” to have a finished panel width of 13-3/4”. In length, only about 1/16” is necessary so the length will be 26-11/16”

3) Cut stock, mill to 1/2” thick and glue up for the panel, over sized in length and width of course. Note this is 1/2” thick while the door frame is 3/4”. So the panel will be more or less flush on the front but recessed about 1/8” on the back side. I’m using 1/2” because I wanted to minimize the door’s weight. Using 5/8” I could have the front and back flush but I’m too big to fit inside the cupboard and see the back of the door so…

4) Cut out panel blank.

5) Setup up router with panel raising bit. This is a bevel profile.

6) Cut a test piece. Also seen in this test piece is an experiment at cutting a back rabbet so that the panel will can seat all the way into the groove. In this test piece, the rabbet is about 2/3 too deep. The finished panel has just a whisper of a rabbet cut in the back.

If you use a cutter like the one I show above that does not have a second part to make the back rabbet, it is a simple matter to use a dado bit or even the stack-dado cutter on a table saw or a rabbeting plane. I opted for a 3/4” bit in the router table with a little more than 3/8” cutting width exposed and maybe a shy 1/16” cutting depth.

So here is the finished door front and back.

Some other notes about the door. Yes, I realize the grain is going two different directions on the boards. Ideally, it all goes the same way but at the last minute during glue-up I decided to flip boards to make sure the end grain is alternating. I should have also turned them end-for-end. Painted panel, so no big deal. A giant no-no for a clear finish!

The last step is to fit the door. I mentioned before that my case had racked. I checked it again today and it seems better. I think it is a humidity issue as my AC was down for a few days last week so the house got pretty funky (96F + 40% humidity inside!). I still need to do a little trimming on the door and maybe a little in the face frame. There is maybe 1/16” of material that needs to disappear for the door to slip in. So if do the dime-trick to space it I need to loose maybe 1/8” of material. I’ll split that up between the two sides of the door and the two face frame stiles. That should hide any unmatched dimensions pretty well.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

1 comment so far

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 5003 days

#1 posted 03-12-2010 08:02 PM

Nice raise panel door.

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