Calculating expansion on a floating panel-clearance needed?

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Forum topic by SG6578 posted 05-17-2015 04:04 PM 753 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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42 posts in 1233 days

05-17-2015 04:04 PM

I am currently making a coffee table with a thru drawer design and the ends are going to have a floating panel. I routed a groove in the corner posts and frame pieces approx 3/16” from the face. 1/4” slot width. 1/2” deep. Height is 14 3/4” from bottom of the slot to bottom of the slot.

I’m looking for values a, b, and c. If you could help me out. I don’t want to run into problems with expansion and cracking. Also, because it’s a floating panel how do you keep it centered?

Panel will be solid walnut biscuited together and the frame is solid black ash.

5 replies so far

View RogerM's profile


792 posts in 2420 days

#1 posted 05-17-2015 05:40 PM

b should be at least 1/8 inch and a should be a little more than b. The dimension c is not very critical, somewhere around 1/4 inch should work.

For centering try spaceballs –

An even cheaper way is to use short lengths of plastic soda straws in the slots.

Hope this helps. Send me a message if you would like more information.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View SG6578's profile


42 posts in 1233 days

#2 posted 05-17-2015 05:46 PM

Thank you very much. I’m going to go with those dimensions and I’lll post pics of the progress in the next few days or so.

View bondogaposis's profile


4753 posts in 2373 days

#3 posted 05-17-2015 05:48 PM

Make C the same width as the grooves in the rails., they should be snug. To keep the panel centered put a dab of glue on the top and bottom center of the panels during assembly. I concur w/ Roger’s advice for A & B.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 1446 days

#4 posted 05-17-2015 11:03 PM

Just to be clear. B) should be slightly less than the diameter of the centering object you are using. Prevents rattling but still leaves plenty of room for expansion.

C). What Bondo said.

A) should be the dimension of the centering object or a hair more.

-- Brad, Texas,

View skipj's profile


97 posts in 2294 days

#5 posted 05-18-2015 02:37 PM

I use 1/4 in space balls with 3/16 clearance rasied panel doors.

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