Dumb Question about Raised-Panel Cabinet Doors

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Forum topic by mculik5 posted 09-30-2016 09:31 PM 842 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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20 posts in 1804 days

09-30-2016 09:31 PM

I would like to make raised-panel cabinets doors. I have never done this before. The stile and rail parts of the process make sense to me. So does making the raised panel. My question is regarding the raw panels itself…

How do you make it? Is the only way to do this to joint and plane “strips” of wood? Do they sell “blanks?”

Looking for a simple way to get started. Thanks.

5 replies so far

View BurlyBob's profile


5919 posts in 2415 days

#1 posted 09-30-2016 11:46 PM

I started with solid pieces and moved on to glued pieces. Glued pieces can lend themselves to very attractive grain patterns.

View pontic's profile


634 posts in 758 days

#2 posted 09-30-2016 11:57 PM

Google them There should be some panel blanks around somewhere. Glued pieces are more stable as well.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

View Greg's profile


332 posts in 3022 days

#3 posted 10-01-2016 12:03 AM

A more modern-day paneled door, in my humble opinion, would be no raised panel at all. That said, you can build a “Shaker Style Door” using plywood or by lamination your own veneers to plywood or MDF.

-- You don't have a custom made heirloom fly fishing Net?

View Texcaster's profile


1287 posts in 1823 days

#4 posted 10-01-2016 11:00 PM

A more modern-day paneled door, in my humble opinion, would be no raised panel at all. That said, you can build a “Shaker Style Door” using plywood or by lamination your own veneers to plywood or MDF.

- Greg

Depending on the door size you might have to glue a panel to suit. I always try for a single board panel.

Re: a more contemporary panel door look.

James Krenov and George Nakashima both used square shoulders and a simple rebate for the raised panel. This is a look I like for contemporary work.

Nakashima made a four piece door as opposed to the five piece door.

Five piece door, square shoulders, rebate raise, very close to stiles and rails.


-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1069 days

#5 posted 10-02-2016 02:54 PM


How do you make it?

Once you have the door blank (panel cut to the correct size for the frame in which it will set), there are several ways to create the raised panel.

The table saw blade is be tilted to whatever bevel angle you would like on the door. A tall auxiliary fence is attached to the table saw fence. The fence is set so that after the bevel edge cut is made, the door is thick enough to slip into the grooves in the door frame. All four edges of the panel are then cut with the edge resting on the table and the face that will be inside the cabinet held against the auxiliary fence. If the raised panel is a little too thick to slip into the groove of the frame, relief cuts (rabbets) can be made on the back side of the panel.

The router mounted in a router table can also be used to raise a panel. The advantage of the router in a router table is that raised panel router bits that will introduce curves to the raised area of the panel can be used (an ogee profile for example). There are vertical and horizontal styles of router bits. The vertical style raised panel bit offer a smaller diameter and can turn at a higher speed than the much larger diameter horizontal panel raising bits. The panel is raised with the vertical router bits in a manner similar to the table saw method; the panel is placed against a tall auxiliary fence and all four edges are routed, routing the panel ends first. The router bit must be positioned between the panel and the fence to avoid trapping the work piece.

The horizontal router bit allows the panel to rest face down on the router table when the cuts made. These larger bits must turn more slowly than a nominal, smaller diameter router bit. This method is my personal preference.

Is the only way to do this to joint and plane “strips” of wood?

If the cabinet is painted, the MDF could be used for the panel. If the cabinets will be finished with a varnish, then usually a panel first must be glued together. If the doors are narrow enough, then a single wide board can be used. The width of a single board seems to depend on the species of wood; some woods lumbered in wide boards are rare.

The best results in raising a solid glued-up wood panel are achieved when the final panel is flat. A flat panel starts with individual work pieces that are at a moisture content of about 10% and are themselves milled flat with parallel faces and edges. The edges that receive glue must also be straight for good glue joints. Cauls keep the face aligned when the panel is in the clamps waiting for the glue to cure. After the panel is glued, then the unevenness in the panel must be sanded or planed away. Tools that make preparation for the panel glue-up much easier are a jointer, planer, and table saw.

Do they sell “blanks?”

I have seen glued-up hardwood lumber available at the home center. The species of available wood is limited and the width is rarely wider than 12”. The hard wood lumber dealer may offer gluing up panels as a service or could perhaps offer the names and phone number of shops that would glue-up the panels for you.

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