Raised panel cabinet door dimension

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Forum topic by blackivory69 posted 08-05-2011 05:26 PM 5143 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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84 posts in 3494 days

08-05-2011 05:26 PM

Hi everybody. I am doing a built in cabinet in our bedroom and I have a question about the maximum width and height of raised panel door. The size of my stiles and rails is 2 1/4”. The final size of the door that I need to make is around 21” x 46”. My plan was to make this with just one big panel (around 17 1/2” x 42”). But I’m worried that my rails and stiles will not be strong enough to hold that. My joinery will be mitered with spline. Should I just divide the panel into four smaller panels? I know this will make the door stronger because I will add a cross stiles and rails. But I kinda like the clean look of just one big panel instead of four small ones. You suggestions and comment will be highly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Added: The door will be made with solid soft maple (some people call it silver).

-- blackivory69

6 replies so far

View cabmaker's profile


1745 posts in 3286 days

#1 posted 08-05-2011 10:49 PM

You should not have a structural integrity problem with that size assuming your mitre door frame joints are up to speed. You may think about adding a third hinge however. I almost exclusively use 2 1/2 inch sticking and dont recall a failure.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3764 days

#2 posted 08-05-2011 10:58 PM

I don’t like to make a door over 20” wide, or 36” tall with a single panel, but some projects call for it.
In my door shop (we make hundreds a week) we will not guarantee anything over those limits.
I worry more about warping and other wood movement more so than joints coming apart. My feeling is, if the customer wants to take a chance that’s fine, but I won’t stand behind it.

I understand wanting the look of one panel, but four will be stronger and more stable.
Since it is for you, it’s not the same as a door shop having to deal with the problems. The type of wood will also play a part.


View blackivory69's profile


84 posts in 3494 days

#3 posted 08-06-2011 01:21 AM

Cab & Kent – thanks for the reply.

Kent – the door will be made of solid soft (some call it silver) maple.

-- blackivory69

View drewnahant's profile


222 posts in 3566 days

#4 posted 08-06-2011 01:35 AM

In this size, it shouldnt really be an issue, but here’s a little trick for large panel doors.
though you do need to allow your panel to float for expansion and contraction, you can secure it to one side without issue. you can glue the hinge side rail to the panel so it all behaves as one larger panel ( grain is the same direction, so you dont have to worry. Just let the other three sides float, and the panel will be able to expand and contract, and the panel will actually support the frame. the only common issue with this is that you will have uneven movement because the one side is fixed, prefinish your floating edges before assembly so that when it shrinks and reveals more, it doesnt reveal raw wood.

View blackivory69's profile


84 posts in 3494 days

#5 posted 08-06-2011 02:32 AM

drew – that’s a really nice trick. I never thought of that. I sometimes glue an inch or so the middle part of the panel. You’re right it will hold the entire frame since it was glued to the stile (you mentioned RAIL, but I know you meant STILE, right?) where the hinges are.

Ok, by doing this I’ll have a 1/2” expansion gap on one side because I’m planning 1/4” gap on the each side. So I have to make the raised part of the panel to be off centered (1/2”) nearer to the floating stile so that it will be centered, correct? Is 1/2” gap too big?

-- blackivory69

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 3132 days

#6 posted 08-06-2011 04:01 AM

The width of 17.5” shouldn’t be a problem. I would put a center rail in to it to divide that large panel in to 2 smaller panels. You will also need to mount 3 hinges and not 2.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

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