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Raised Panel Bottom

I've done a couple of raised panels now using hand planes. There are a couple of videos if you google raised panel with hand planes. One form Paul Sellers and one from Stumpy and basically they describe the same process.

Unfortunately, I have discovered a couple of issues with this process that I did not care for.

1. The raised panel itself is not cleanly defined.
2. The rabbet used to go into the sides of a frame or box are more wedge shaped and the panel does not seat claenly in the groove.

Here's an example from my prototype.
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So I decided to try some additional steps and fix these issues.

To start with I laid out the raised panel and scored the lines. I scored the lines with marking knife (Thanks TerryR) and colored in with a pencil so they would show better.
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Next, I scored the height of the rabbet edge that will fit into the groove.
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Using my Stanley 45 with 1/8 cutter set to 1/16 depth
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I broadened and deepened the score lines on the raised panel. Remember to start with the end grain sections first!
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Now the raised panel is clearly defined.
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The next step is to start raising the panel. For this I'm using my 60 1/2 (My Number 3 sucks and I felt that my larger smooth plane would be too large for this operation.) Cut a steep bevel on the end grain side eventually working down to the Rabbet score line
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Now to make sure that the raised panel stays defined I used my skewed MF 07 (Stanley 140 equivalent) with the side removed. You could also use a shoulder plane, or some other rabbet plane just as well here. This allows the point of the blade to ride right up against the raised section while planing away the waste material. Eventually you work the to bevels into each other.
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Repeat for the other end grain side. and the 2 long sides. Raised panel mostly complete. It still needs some clean up before finishing, but the hard part is mostly done.
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All that remains is to clearly define the rabbet that will slot into the grooves on the box sides.
Back to the 45 I adjusted the fence and depth to approximate a 1/8×1/8 rabbet all around the panel.
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Here is the completed panel with the planes used.
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In the next entry I'll use my 45 again to cut the grooves for the box top.
That second panel looks a thousand times better than the first! Nice job on finding the info on how to do the raised panels with hand planes.


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A little more on the mitered dovetails

When I left off I had completed the first of four for this box.

I thought I would share a little more on the process of the mitered dovetails and update the progress on this project.

Something I have learned about dovetails in general is to clearly mark the waste sections to be cut away. It only takes a few seconds and really makes the difference when clearing the waste. I can't tell you how many times I have cut on the wrong side of the line. Marking them clearly is the answer.

Additional tips for successful dovetails.

A sharp true saw is a must.
Sharp chisels with a really flat back are an absolute must. Take the time to strop often and don't resist going back to the stone for a touch up.

Be aware of the hardness and grain properties of your wood. Poplar tools really easily compared to this plum which is very hard, brittle, and wears the tools much faster.

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On the mitered dovetails DON'T cut all the way through like a standard dovetail cut on the waste side of the line at a 45 degree angle.

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With the cuts complete you can resume excavating and paring the joints as described in the previous blog entry.

With all four dovetails cut I found I had to re-size the top and bottom panels. Nothing a few minutes on a shoot board could not handle.

The reddish curlies are from the plum top panel, the lighter curlies are from the poplar bottom. You can see the top panel in this photo.
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Another tip. Leave any precise router table setups in place until you know the project is complete or you no longer need it. I had to re route the grooves on the trimmed side of the top and had to reshape the raised bottom panel. I used the very same router setup to cut the rebate on the bottom panel. Having the setup in place saved me a ton of time.

Now all of the joints are cut, and I'm dry fitting.

Sides, Back Top and Bottom are complete. I need to finish dry fitting the front (It's still a little too tight)

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I need to patch these joints as they aren't as precise as I would have liked. Each one gets better though.

Once that is done, I can do the initial finishing (Finish the inside pieces BEFORE glue up!) and then proceed to glue up.
Looks like she's coming along great!


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Clean up and First Look at what finish will be.

Previously I completed the glue up.

After the glue cured, I removed the clamps and got started cleaning everything up.

I trimmed off the excess material on the pins using my 60 1/2 LA Block Plane which worked great.

I did notice a small crack in the top panel (Which I already knew about before the glue up. And with the pins cleared off, gaps from poor fitting began to show. I experimented with a couple of adhesives and saw dust as gap fillers. I tried the hide glue with saw dust and felt the result would be too dark. So I went with Sawdust and CA Glue to fill the gaps.

First fill the crack on the top panel. I'm using straight CA for this. Starting with this as it will take a couple of applications to fill completely and it needs time to cure in between applications.

Lets look at what we have to work with so far.

Front Panel Gaps on the dove tails and some tear out from the plane.

right Panel (Looking pretty good)

Back Panel Even larger gaps a knot and some tear out.

Left panel some small gaps around a previous repair where I accidentally cut all the way through instead of mitering around the pins. Visible lower left.

Bottom Panel

Top Panel

The next day I sanded the CA from the crack on the top.

And then applied a second coat of CA to the crack

Now for those Gaps around the Dovetails on the back panel

Helpful hint: Make sure to trap and save some of the saw dust or sanding dust from the same wood you're working with. I just took it off my miter saw after cutting the panels and put it in a dixie cup.

I smashed and tamped sawdust into the crack using my finger and small stick.

Then applied some CA Glue

Did this to all of the cracks and gaps yu can see the first one on the bottom right is already starting to lighten up.

Let sit over night.


After: I Hit it with 120 sand paper to remove all of the proud material and excess CA.

After all of the gaps are filled.

Before I left for work this morning, I hit it with some dexawed shellac

After initial drying and just before I left.


Rear Oblique Left side of Box

Front Oblique Right side of box

More finish to come. This is just a first coat and will mostly get sanded off. I was just impatient to get an idea of how the finish would look and how the filled gaps would look.

It's looking much better now than I was originally dreading.
You're very right about the learning experience! Every mistake you make you'll learn from, and that's how you get better. You did an excellent job filling in the gaps in the dovetails. That CA glue/sawdust technique worked really well, as you can't see the gaps even with the shellac on.

Keep learn'n and keep up the good work!


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