Curved Doors; Raised panel & Six light glass #3: Rails

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Blog entry by Les Hastings posted 08-09-2008 01:11 AM 11034 reads 3 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Getting started Part 3 of Curved Doors; Raised panel & Six light glass series Part 4: Finishing up the styles »

First off here’s a better picture of the radius jig for the styles and panel parts. It shows how I set it up with both the inside and the outside cradles attached to the tray and the router base’s. And if you look close you can see the 1/2 inch foam pad that I use to sand the styles with. Just a reminder you can click on the picture to see the whole thing.

Ok, lets get started on the rails for the doors and the the face frame for the cabinet case. I just make a 1/2” thick template out of some mdf or scrap maple fc. I take my time and try to get my template about a 1/32” over sized. In this case my doors are 1” thick so the template for the rails is 1 1/32” wide. I use the same template for the cabinet rails that I use for the doors, so that all parts are the same.

Here is the cabinet case with the rails and the rail template.

Here’s the door rails and the case rails, from the same template.

The rails for the doors in this case are 2 1/2” wide if I remember right. I didn’t have thick enough poplar for the rails so I just used two pieces of 8/4 and glued them together to make up the rails. These doors paint so I wasn’t two concerned about the glue line.

Here’s the door rails being glued up.

After all are glued then comes the sanding. Remember they are at least 1/32” to thick right now to allow for getting them sanded and cleaned up. This done all by hand. I make sanding blocks out of lumber for both the inside and the outside. Stick them in a vise and go at it. I use sticky back sand paper and just stick to the sanding pads. 80 grit then 120 grit. Final sanding to 180 grit is done after the doors are completely assembled.

Next up,,,,,,,, getting the panels glued up.

-- Les, Wichita, Ks. (I'd rather be covered in saw dust!)

5 comments so far

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3733 days

#1 posted 08-09-2008 05:00 AM

Your project is really starting to take form. I am anxious to follow the progress. Thanks for the update.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3235 posts in 3678 days

#2 posted 08-09-2008 07:06 AM


This is a great series. Thanks again for all your time putting this together. I’m a little slow at catching on though, so I have a couple of questions.

1. When you make your template for the rails, how do you get your 1-1/32” thickness perfectly uniform? I’m currently making a curve for an arched window covering. I cut the outside curve on the bandsaw and then made a jig to sand that edge uniformly curved. For the inside, I was thinking about making a router base (hand-held, not in a table since my table is heavy cast metal) with a peg or something attached in it that is the exact width that I want my final arch to be. My eyesight isn’t good enough to get the inside perfectly accurate just from sanding on the spindle sander. Is there a better way?

2. Do you just use a pattern bit to follow the template for the 8/4 rails?

Thanks again for sharing your expertise so freely.

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Les Hastings's profile

Les Hastings

1305 posts in 3739 days

#3 posted 08-10-2008 01:01 AM

lightweightladyleftie, I use a router with a radius template. I cut my templates out of a sheet using the same center point each time. Routing only a 1/4” deep or so, so the template stays attached to the sheet at all times. Then I band saw it out and use flush trim bit to finish cleaning it up. And yes I do use a pattern bit to flush trim the 8/4 to the template.

You can purchase a radius jig for a router for around thirty dollars or so. Or you can do what I do and use a piece 1/2” material and make a radius template to fit your router, about 5” wide or so and what ever length you need it to be. I make them that up to sixteen feet somtimes.

I hope this answers your questions, if it doesn’t let me know and I’ll post some pictures of the process the first chance I get.

-- Les, Wichita, Ks. (I'd rather be covered in saw dust!)

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3235 posts in 3678 days

#4 posted 08-11-2008 06:21 AM


Thanks so much for the clarification. That makes perfect sense to me. Why couldn’t I think of that? [Because I’m not as smart as you, that’s why ! :>) ]

I tried my router base idea with a ball-bearing guide attached to the base, but it wasn’t successful. It’s just too hard to keep the handles in the exact location while going around a curve. I then went to the bandsaw and made a curved pivot point to guide it. It worked reasonably well. After that I was able to hand sand the blade marks. But your idea is SO much better. Not routing through it is a brilliant solution. Thanks for the help. I’m too cheap to buy jigs so I’ll probably make it, (I have more time than money, but don’t have much of either! :<( ). I’ve made the radius jigs for the bandsaw and stationary sander.

I’m looking forward to your next installment. Thanks again!

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 3957 days

#5 posted 08-11-2008 03:18 PM

It’s all beginning to make sense :) Great stuff Les, thanks for the updates.

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

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