Painting Shaker style doors

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Forum topic by CatF posted 09-29-2014 08:15 AM 864 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 1577 days

09-29-2014 08:15 AM

Topic tags/keywords: cabinet doors painting panel doors

Please forgive my ignorance and and lack of terminology knowledge.

I am making shaker style cabinet doors. 1” x 2” stiles and rails with 1/4” plywood panels. These will replace the 3/4” plywood doors in a 1973 camper that we have been rebuilding. When it is damp they swell so much they won’t latch.

Back to the cabinet doors. I am using a lap join. Don’t have a dado blade so I cut the lap ends with the table saw and lots of passes. I made the center groove with my router. I plan to put 2 dowels through the lap corners for good measure. Lots of vibration in a camper.

I have read that this door build is less susceptible to swelling because the center panel floats, but I see many examples of this type of door being painted and sometimes with the panel glued into place. I would like to paint these doors but not at the risk of swelling. What is the deal? Can they be painted without effecting their ability to remain stable? If so, does the elasticity in the paint matter?

Thanks in advance,


-- Cat

3 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5149 posts in 4201 days

#1 posted 09-29-2014 01:06 PM

You’ll not have a swelling prob with a plywood panel. Plywood is pretty darned stable. Paint away. :)


View bigblockyeti's profile


5319 posts in 1961 days

#2 posted 09-29-2014 01:14 PM

There might be some differential movement between what the panel and what the rails and stiles will experience. The thinner the paint that’s applied, the less chance of the two being “glued” together. Using panel isolators can help too. They’re little rubber balls that are placed around the perimeter of the panel allowing it to float, while holding the panel so it can’t rattle. This might help explain it a bit better:

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View SuperCubber's profile


1048 posts in 2525 days

#3 posted 09-30-2014 02:56 AM

I would paint the panels first. That way, if they slide around at all inside the frame due to the camper’s vibrations, no raw wood will show.


-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

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