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This is the raised panel for the bar front in the kitchen I'm building. This is red oak and will be finished with clear coat satin lacquer over a light stain

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Comment by Jay Boutwell on March 14, 2012 at 4:31pm

Steve these were done using CMT brand of bits which I have used for years.  There are many on the market yet they do not competed well with CMT in my opinion.  I have used freud, whiteside, and several others from the woodworker supplies and have yet to beat the performance of the CMT bits.  When you do woodworking as a profession you can not afford to use the cheap ones that cause you troubles with breakage or chipping and dulling quickly.  I recently did a bit test comparison testing a new bit against a cmt.  If interested send me an e-mail at my personal e-mail  and I will send you the testing results.

Comment by steven michaud on March 14, 2012 at 12:42pm

jay, what brand of bits do you think, are the best to use, for your wood working ??

Comment by Jay Boutwell on March 14, 2012 at 10:13am


Continued from part one:
Now we need to determine the number of stiles and panels we need.  We are working with a total of 44 inches between the outside stiles.  This give us 22 inches to the center.  Keeping in mind the skinny vs the fat panels it is best to use four raised panels and three inter stiles.  We have discussed how to make the inter stiles so make a total of three.  Attach the end stiles to the bottom rail and hold with a clamp.  Do not glue up yet.
Place a mark at the 22 inch mark and another one at 11 inches towards the outer stile. (for the middle mark between the center of the rail and the outside stile.)  Do the same for the other side
To determine the panel widths the easy method is to set one inter stile dead center on the 22 inch middle of the lower rail.  This should leave you 1 and 7/16 on each side of the middle mark.    Now center another inter stile at the 11 inch mark so that there is a 1 and 7/16  on each side of the mark.   Do the same on the other side of the middle stile.  Since the panel pattern groove bit will cut 7/16 deep you can see the debt of the cut by looking at the pattern it made on the top edge of the stile.  To get the panel width measure across the stile  pattern to the opposite pattern mark.  Cut the panel 1/4 smaller is width.   See the photo examples
Cut and raise all the panels in this case four. For length use the same as for the width however only cut about 1/8 off the length just aid in assembly.
Begin assembly  starting with the lower rail , glue and attach the outside stiles and stand the panel upright holding it with a clamp.  Add glue and place each of the three inter stiles centered over the predetermined marks.  Tap everything tight.  In the grooves of the stiles place 1/4 " rubber space balls in the groove using about three per each side  then add the panel.  Do not get any glue in the panel grooves or on the panel. Continue with the same procedure until all the panels and inter stiles are in place.  The apply glue to each inter stile upper end cope cuts and gently spread the outer stiles apart enough to slip the upper rail, with glue, into place and clamp tight until dry.  The panel will float in the frame yet are tight due to the 1/4" space balls being compressed by 1/8 of an inch on each side.  They stay tight but still are able to move with the wood movement thus stop the ratteling panels.
Comment by Jay Boutwell on March 14, 2012 at 10:02am

Leslee and a few have expressed and interest in building large raised panels so I have takes some time to explain my method.

The most common method to build a raised panel is using a router table and cope and stick bits and a panel raising bit. Sure you can build them on a table saw but then you do not have the looks of the detail in the stiles, rails and panels. These method I use is cutting the total panel size all at one time and assembling it at the same time.

Building a long raised panel begins with the figuring of the sizes. The height if pretty straight forward. You need to cut the two end stiles the height that you want the finished panel to be.

To figure the length you must use some math and figure out how many and how wide the components must be. The first being pretty simple as it is cutting the top and bottom rails. Usually I cut the top rail about 4 inches wide and the lower one 6 inches wide. The reason mainly is that it just looks good as the top and the bottom ratio look well together. To cut these you must know the debt of the tenon cut made by your bits. You figure the width of the stiles on both ends and add this up to determine the length you need need in the rails to make your total width, Then you add the debt of the tenon cut made by the bit and add this x 2 to the length and cut the rails.

Example my end stiles are 4 inches wide and I need a panel that is 52 inches. Procedure is: 4" plus 4" is 8 inches. So subtract 8 inches from 56 inches and you have 44 inches needed. But you have to add to this, the amount the debt of the tenon cut by the cope bit. My bits cut 7/16" deep so add this two times ( each end cut) 7/16" plus 7/16" is 7/8" so you cut the top and bottom rail at 44 & 7/8 inches long. You now must cut the 7/16 inch deep cope on each end of the top and bottom rails. Then cut the 7/16 inch panel pattern and groove on one edge of the top and bottom rails.

Now for the tricky part. You need to determine the width and number of inter stiles and panels you need. I do this by division of the inside measurement. Here you have 44 inches inside stile to inside stile. The middle would be 22 inches. Now looking at the size of the frame, determine what is best an equal number of panels or an odd number of panels. In doing so remember this: " A tall skinny panel looks better than that of a short fat panel."

In this example we will say that the panel is to be 34 and 1/2 inches tall. (common size for a cabinet) This is the length you cut the two outside stiles.

Since the bit cuts 7/16 deep I usually will cut the inter stiles at 2 and 7/8 "wide. The reason is that you will be cutting a pattern panel groove 7/16 inch wide on each side of the stile. This leaves a nice 2 inch wide flat area of the stile which also looks good with the outside 4 inch wide stiles. To get the length of the inter stiles you measure the distance between the upper rail and bottom rail. The top rail is 4 inches wide and the bottom rail is 6 inches wide. The total of the two is 10 inches. Subtract the 10 inches from the determined height, as in this case it was 34 &1/2 inches. The results is 24 and 1/2 inches. Now add the 7/16 plus 7/16 inch to the 24 and 1/2 inch inter stile length. The results is to cut the inter stiles at 25 and 3/8" long by 2 and 7/8 inches wide. Cope both ends of the inter stiles and then cut the pattern panel groove on both sides.  Continued:

Comment by Jay Boutwell on March 13, 2012 at 10:14am

Well Robert  I thank you for your good thoughts.  I guess a cabinet is a cabinet until you dress it up somewhat with things like raised panels.  I do them on all the custom units I build as when I look at a cabinet back I see a whole acre of area just begging for some attention. 

It does take some time and practice to build large panels and yes I have wasted some material too but always save it and evenutally used it for other project pieces.  I have read alot on panels as well but you don't really understand it until you practice it.  I am a firm believer that if you don't make a mistake you never learn anything.  Along with that also I believe that if a person never attempts it because he or she believes it is too complicated or is in fear of not being able to accomplish it, has already defeated them self.

Comment by Robert Brennan on March 13, 2012 at 7:45am

Well Jay,

I was going to comment, however all the complementary words I see have already been said.

boo hiss !!

The panel is most impressive and there is no doubt that's what has attracted the various comments.

( Info for Leslee)

I have only just started making Raised panels and see there is a comment by Leslee requesting some guidance, for what its worth I read lots of articles on Raised Panels studied the many profile bits available, including the matched sets similar to yours, then used some odd pieces of timber to perfect what I was doing, mind you I made some impressive bits of scrap first up getting the profiles right.


Robert Brennan

Comment by Ken Darga on March 13, 2012 at 6:48am

Thanks Jay.

Comment by Jay Boutwell on March 12, 2012 at 11:01pm

ken, here a photo of the bits I used to do the raised panel.

Comment by Jay Boutwell on March 12, 2012 at 10:11pm

Tony, Thank you for the comment on my project.

Comment by Jay Boutwell on March 12, 2012 at 10:04pm

Leslee, I would enjoy teaching you.  The Hardest part is to line up all the parts and clamp them before the glue dries.  The rest is just math and some router table work.   It is one thing that makes you wish you had more hands and or someone to assist you with assembly.

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