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I was involved in a discussion about a week about cabinet doors and face frames.  I took some time and put together a slide show showing the steps in building a door.  It is a simple flat panel  door using a 1/4 inch red oak ply-core panel and some 13/16" thick red oak lumber.  It might be of interest to some of you who are not familiar with building a cabinet door.  The process is the same with a raised panel door  other that you are using solid wood to build the raised panel and the large 3" dia bit you will see in the slideshow.

I do have a slideshow  on my page of building a raised panel door.

http://youtu.be/fES6lAPHEG8

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Great presentation, Jay.

Jay ,very good presentation  on flat panel doors , great slide show and lot,s  of good info. on how to build a door , well done , thanks for sharing it withe community, JIM !!!

Thanks for the slide jay, as before, you provide a lot of info.   Question,  I have learned that quarter inch ply is not a true quarter inch.   Are the cope and stile bits you used adjustable for the thickness of the panel or is that why the use of space balls in the grooves?   

You are most welcome Rita,  In answer to your question about cope and stile bits being adjustable for panel thickness.  No they are not adjustable however you can still get full 1/4' thick plywood but it is not as plentiful as the stuff that is imported.  It costs more but is also a better quality having a thicker veneer on the faces.  It is normally something that is available from wood dealers that cater to cabinet makers and other specialty woodworkers.  You would also need a double sided plywood as a single ply side would not look so good in a project that is going into some ones home.

The other option you would have is to either cut shims for wedging into the back of the plywood and the stile-rail groove.  That would require a shim that is less that 1/16" thick and 7/16" wide to fill the void and push the ply panel towards the door front.  

The space balls is a method of holding the panel from rattling side to side and up and down in the door panel grooves.  It would not stop it from moving forward and backwards.  I use these in all doors and they are required to build a first class door if making raised panels or solid panel doors.  The reason is that the doors are made of five pieces and the solid wood panel will need to float within the door stiles and rails from moisture content causing the panels to contract and expand.  Some door builders choose to by pass this and then you will get panel rattle and movement where you will also see the "no stain lines" caused by the panels moving to a point where there was no stain applied.  A method to determine where or not there is a space ball or panel strips inserted in the door is to firmly grasp the panel on each side and see if you can move it easily.

To be clear on space balls that is a name given to then as they are small 1/4 Inch dia balls of which there function is to fill up the space needed for panel movement.  There are other methods used and one I have used in the past is called "panelaline strips" which are 1/4 inch strips of a foam material that keep the panel alined in the door frame and allows panel movement but not allowing the panel to rattle.  Although I do not recommend it, it can be as simple as using item like foam insulation strips such as found in pipe insulation.   

Like I have stated in the past the flat panel door is not my favorite and it I was going to have to build a high end cabinet or furniture piece that required flat panels I would glue up solid wood and not use plywood.  My other alternative would be to build the doors on the table saw cutting tendons and panel groves using the table saw blade.  That was by doing this in multiple passes you can cut the grove to fit the plywood panel as well as a short stub tendon.   These are not as strong as other doors joinery but will give you a joint that is much better looking that the use of a lap joint. 

Besides the stile rail bit joinery method I showed you if you wish I could show you the table saw method described above as well as the true tendon joinery.

Something I did not mention in the adjustments of the cope stile bit is that you can adjust them for tightness and position of he cut on the stock using shims.   I guess If a person  had to build the metric panel doors, then a person could most likely grind the bit thinner and adjust the mating bit to match.  As far as I know at present there are no bits made for metric thickness and if they were I still would not want them as the metric plywood simply does not have a quality veneer on their plywood.
 
Rita B. said:

Thanks for the slide jay, as before, you provide a lot of info.   Question,  I have learned that quarter inch ply is not a true quarter inch.   Are the cope and stile bits you used adjustable for the thickness of the panel or is that why the use of space balls in the grooves?   

Thanks Jay,   I am not aware as of yet of cabinet maker supply outlets in my area.   As a beginner,  I am sure it would be cost prohibitive for the amount of do overs that must be achieved.   I started with flat panel as my beginner project.  Hope to some day work my way up to raised panel but it will also need to include building my shop arsenal as well as skill levels.  Hope to get there some day but I also know that working with wood is a process.  One that I am enjoying!

Jay -- awesome as always but I do have to point out that some router bit sets ARE adjustable, others aren't.  Simple sets are usually not adjustable but better sets are.  For example, the Freud rail and stile bit sets are adjustable for panel thickness.  I use primarily the Freud 97-260 set for my doors and have adjusted the thickness of the panel groove from 1/4" up to 3/8", although I'm not sure of the min and max sizes for the panel groove.  Many of Freud's 2-piece rail and stile bit sets are likewise adjustable.

I also like the table saw method for doing these types of doors.  Even more so after I was lucky enough to attend the WWIA conference over the weekend and saw Frank Klauz's table saw jig for doing raised panels at the table saw.  It cuts a perfect 7-degree bevel to raise the panels and it took him about 45 seconds per door panel.  Wow.  


Hi Russ,  Thank you for your comments.   Yes I know that there are some rail stile bits that have came out with changeable groove thickness. I have avoided purchasing one so far so I do not have any direct knowledge about them.  The main reason is that I do not worry about having to change the stile and rail pattern groove thickness as I will only use the full 1/4 inch thick plywood.  I have access to it and it is stocked at the hardwood dealer that I buy from.  I will on occasion  make my own flat panels from glue ups but since it is not my favorite door I avoid making them as much as I can.  I feel that anything thinner than a 1/4 inch thickness is too thin for panels anyway.  The panels tend to flex in the centers when they are opened and closed and especially the tall and or wide doors.  Since I use 13/16" thick rail and stile stock increasing the rail stile groove makes the groove material too thin and break out is the normal thing to expect.  You and I both know that the  floating panels carry a lot of energy in the movement of the door being opened and closed and that energy will destroy a door that is not strong enough.  Because of this fact the panel groove size and placement in the stile rail plays an important part.

I have seen Frank Klauz's table sawn panels and his method and I do agree that it is a sweet system. He is truly a master at the craft and very ingenious at his work.  I do like to see videos of his work.

 I have cut several  panels on the table saw for special applications like in furniture however not too many seem to have an appeal for them for larger cabinets

Customers in my area tend to prefer the panels that have either ogee or some kind of curvature to the cuts.  The ones who do not will go for the "shaker" look and then I will cut the door stile and rails on the table saw making them a tendon joint and they will then often have a groove that is larger that 1/4 inch but not above a 3/8 inch groove.  Anything above that will require me to increase the rail stile stock to 7/8 inch thickness.  I try to avoid plywood panels in these doors and make my own using glue ups.

Again thanks for your input as I always enjoy talking cabinet making and is do value your knowledge.  
Russ Haynes said:

Jay -- awesome as always but I do have to point out that some router bit sets ARE adjustable, others aren't.  Simple sets are usually not adjustable but better sets are.  For example, the Freud rail and stile bit sets are adjustable for panel thickness.  I use primarily the Freud 97-260 set for my doors and have adjusted the thickness of the panel groove from 1/4" up to 3/8", although I'm not sure of the min and max sizes for the panel groove.  Many of Freud's 2-piece rail and stile bit sets are likewise adjustable.

I also like the table saw method for doing these types of doors.  Even more so after I was lucky enough to attend the WWIA conference over the weekend and saw Frank Klauz's table saw jig for doing raised panels at the table saw.  It cuts a perfect 7-degree bevel to raise the panels and it took him about 45 seconds per door panel.  Wow.  

Jay,

Can you repost your slideshow?  Hopefully you can.  I am trying to figure out/learn how to make flat panel cabinet doors.  Much appreciated.

Hi Stephanie, nice hearing from you.  So you are wanting to learn how to build cabinet doors.  I have a link both here on the Kreg Community and also on You Tube that shows a link to building arched raised panels doors.  All you have to do to make the flat panel doors is to disregard the parts about the raised panel and just cut all the rails and stiles to 2 and 7/16 " in width. Follow the remainder of the directions and photos.  Although the cutter cuts a 1/4" wide grove for the panel you can insert a ply wood panel however you should look for the full 1/4" thick plywood.    I would suggest that you glue up solid 1/4" thick panel as you will have a better door in the long run.  Here is my link:  http://youtu.be/DLcSp6JkSME

These are all made on a router table and bits from "CMT" sold by Marc Sommerfeld.  He has now a new set of bits that cut the pattern (long groove in the rails and stiles) that do not tear out the wood on the face side of the pattern requiring you to do a lot of sanding.  These are his own patented bits and are the best bits to use.   He did have some of the old CMT bits that he is offering on a clearance out of his inventory.

They are great bits of which I have many CMT brand bits.  They are priced at $59.90 regularly at $89.90.  This is for the cope bit and the pattern bit which cuts the groove and pattern on the stiles and rails.   He offers you free shipping on the set for an additional savings.  ( I sound like a salesman don't I ?  I just know of a good deal and will gladly pass on the information to you and others out there who might read the post.)  I have owned these bits for over 25 years and they still perform great however I up graded to the no chip out set that he has patented a couple years ago so I can tell you that these are great bits,

 You can reach the sales catalogue by internet at :  www.sommerfieldtools.com or toll free at: 1-888-228-9268.   If you call ask for Patricia and tell her that I referred  you and she will send you a free catalogue. 

In the catalogue both on line and in the catalogue, Marc has described how to build the arch raised panel door. Just change the figuring from using the 1/2" deep groove to 3/8" if you use the CMT bits (they cut 3/8 deep groove and the no tear out bits that he currently is selling cuts a 1/2" deep grove.  This makes a difference when figuring the door part sizes.  You can find this on page 30 in the catalogue both on line and in hard cover.

For more instruction go to You Tube and type in sommerfeld tool and look at all the video that Marc has added. You will find one showing you step by step how to build the door as well as other styles such as Shaker and even the mini doors.  I build using the same techniques as does Marc and is why I use his cabinet tools and can tell you that you can not go wrong with any of his tools. 

Let me know if I can be of any more help as I will gladly help you as well as any others whom might read this.

 



Jay Boutwell said:

Hi Stephanie, nice hearing from you.  So you are wanting to learn how to build cabinet doors.  I have a link both here on the Kreg Community and also on You Tube that shows a link to building arched raised panels doors.  All you have to do to make the flat panel doors is to disregard the parts about the raised panel and just cut all the rails and stiles to 2 and 7/16 " in width. Follow the remainder of the directions and photos.  Although the cutter cuts a 1/4" wide grove for the panel you can insert a ply wood panel however you should look for the full 1/4" thick plywood.    I would suggest that you glue up solid 1/4" thick panel as you will have a better door in the long run.  Here is my link:  http://youtu.be/DLcSp6JkSME

These are all made on a router table and bits from "CMT" sold by Marc Sommerfeld.  He has now a new set of bits that cut the pattern (long groove in the rails and stiles) that do not tear out the wood on the face side of the pattern requiring you to do a lot of sanding.  These are his own patented bits and are the best bits to use.   He did have some of the old CMT bits that he is offering on a clearance out of his inventory.

They are great bits of which I have many CMT brand bits.  They are priced at $59.90 regularly at $89.90.  This is for the cope bit and the pattern bit which cuts the groove and pattern on the stiles and rails.   He offers you free shipping on the set for an additional savings.  ( I sound like a salesman don't I ?  I just know of a good deal and will gladly pass on the information to you and others out there who might read the post.)  I have owned these bits for over 25 years and they still perform great however I up graded to the no chip out set that he has patented a couple years ago so I can tell you that these are great bits,

 You can reach the sales catalogue by internet at :  www.sommerfieldtools.com or toll free at: 1-888-228-9268.   If you call ask for Patricia and tell her that I referred  you and she will send you a free catalogue. 

In the catalogue both on line and in the catalogue, Marc has described how to build the arch raised panel door. Just change the figuring from using the 1/2" deep groove to 3/8" if you use the CMT bits (they cut 3/8 deep groove and the no tear out bits that he currently is selling cuts a 1/2" deep grove.  This makes a difference when figuring the door part sizes.  You can find this on page 30 in the catalogue both on line and in hard cover.

For more instruction go to You Tube and type in sommerfeld tool and look at all the video that Marc has added. You will find one showing you step by step how to build the door as well as other styles such as Shaker and even the mini doors.  I build using the same techniques as does Marc and is why I use his cabinet tools and can tell you that you can not go wrong with any of his tools. 

Let me know if I can be of any more help as I will gladly help you as well as any others whom might read this.

 

I guess I do not know all the correct terms.  Attached are what my kitchen cabinets look like.  They don't have stiles and rails.  I want to duplicate them to make more for the extension area of my kitchen.  They are made of Oak, but I don't really need to spend that kind of money.  I have heard that there are other species of wood that look close enough.  Anyway, I am looking to understand how to make this type of door and also how to figure out the dimensions of the pieces of boards I need to cut in order for everything to come together.  I hope I am making sense.

Attachments:

Hi Stephanie,  Not a problem what you have is what is known as "slab doors" which are flat 3/4" panels of wood.  What these look like are glued up pieces of lumber and they do look like they are red oak with a clear coat.  The hinges are European and appear to be 1/2" inch overlay meaning that they are 1/2" larger that he opening of your cabinets.  They are easy to build and can actually be made using 3/4" red oak plywood or other species of wood.  

To determine the size measure the openings both height and width and cut your panel one inch larger that the openings.  Example:  a opening that is 20 wide and 30 inches high you would cut the panel to be 21 inches wide and 31 inches high.

They have what looks to be a 3/8 bull nose around the edges. 

 You can get the exact same look by glue up of a panel using strips of red oak glued on edge to edge and then cut them down to size and then using a 3/8 bull nose bit in a router to cut the rounded edged on the front side only.  Sand and bore for the European Hinges, finish with your preference as to color and hang on the cabinet stiles.

 The closest look to red oak would be ash which I know that in your area is just as expensive as the oak.

If you use plywood then you will have to think about edge banding to hide the edge grain of the plywood.  Use this strips of red oak ripped at 1/4 inch think and or use the iron on tape that is red oak species.

I also have a large write up about European hinges on here too.  Type in European hinges in the search bar of the Kreg Jig community.     I also have a jig that I made that is easy to build and will help you add the Hinges.

In your area the best area for hinges is National builders hardware in Portland.  Lot less money that Rocklers or other places.  What you would be looking for is 1/2 over lay face frame hinges.  Pick a degree opening of at least 120 degrees.

Hope this helps you with your questions.  Contact me if it does not.  have a good weekend.

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