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For those of you that make raised panel doors, do you use spacers to allow for expansion or do you let the panel free float?  I've heard they make a rubber spacer that you put in the slot and would like to hear what everyone else prefers doing?

Also, if you use 1/4" plywood verses a raised panel, do you use a spacer?

Thanks ahead of time for your input.
John

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Hi Phillip,

Is that what you use, the gray foam pipe insulation or how do you make your spacers?
I do make door for customers,most of which require being custom made.I agree with Phillip,use the spacers.I get mine from suppliers to insure consistency and high quality. I letthe door "float",rather than make inset doors.Too much expansion & contraction,otherwise.No one wants call backs,no matter who's fault it is. On a side note,stain the panel first,before you insert it.If you don't,you will eventually see first hand,what's ment by expasion&contraction.You will end up with a white line,wher the panel shrunk. Hope this helps. Dave
Thanks Guys!

This is my first go around with raised panel doors and I've just finished the door frame using the Freud three piece cabinet bit set. The frame came out great and now I'm about to start the panel. I thought that I could use 1/4" oak plywood in the door slots, but the fit is too loose. Trying to avoid the high cost of oak 1 x's at Home Depot & Lowes. After seeing the plywood wouldn't work, I went ahead broke the pocket book on 1x4's and about to glue them together. I heard about these spacers and decided to ask to see what's been the common practice amongst the group here. Of course, Home Depot didn't sell these spacers in the store either. I'm surprised I haven't heard many comments on this.

Yea David, I agree with you and had plan to stain the door ahead of assembly for that very same reason. In the past, I've seen this happen on doors others had made. Not a pretty site.




John
Hi Phillip,

I would of loved to use 1/4", it would of been much easier and less expensive. But again today, I went to both Home Depot and Lowes with a piece of the rail to check the fit. I spoke to an experienced cabinet builder there and we both checked the fit against their plywood. There was way too much free play and the panel would of rattled in the groves. I don't know if that was a standard 1/4" or again the overseas metric version. I used the Freud 3 piece cabinet bits and they did a great job. These were one piece bits that don't get adjusted, so the cuts were made correctly.

I might need to find a better supplier of material down here.



Phillip said:
I learned about the paint or stain first the hard way. I built a medicine cabinet and inserted the mirror in the cope and stick frame. What I did not realize is the mirror picks up the unfinished parts below the vision line, and it looks ugly! Amplified unfinished line around the mirror. Looks like I am a sloppy painter. Which is not true. I am an ignorant framed mirror painter. If it did not cost so much I would rebuild it.

John: why not use plywood? I would. If you can get some to fit the groove. If not ???

Phillip
If you're looking for a faucet,or potted plant......go to a home center. If you're looking for custom made plywood,go to a custom wood supplier,like a cabinet maker would do.
Hey David, I would suppose this it true, but I need to find one of these suppliers in my area. I'm still very new to Atlanta and trying to find my way around. Originally from Pennsylvania and could get about anything there, especially in the Amish community. Here, I'm still limited and looking for that special supplier.
Hi David, I think the spacers are probably a good thing, but I have built quite a few doors and as long as the panel is a good fit I dont think they are a must. You want a snug fit, not tight but not loose you, you will be able to tell as you test fit your doors before assembly. Good luck!
Hi John,

I've been told that I need to have an 1/8" gap on each side for a total of 1/4" for the top and sides. Would this be true without spacers? Have you had any problems without the spacers?

John

John Magee said:
Hi David, I think the spacers are probably a good thing, but I have built quite a few doors and as long as the panel is a good fit I dont think they are a must. You want a snug fit, not tight but not loose you, you will be able to tell as you test fit your doors before assembly. Good luck!
Hello again,John, Here's a supplier in Atlanta,that i use: Peachtree woodworking supply 6684 Jimmy Carter Blvd.Suite100 Norcross,Ga 30071 1-700-458-5539 Toll Free: 1-888-512-9069 on line :ptreeusa.com I've used this supplier for years with good results,even tho I live in Illinois. They are a great source for woodworking supplies,advice,and they offer classes and seminars. Dave,the owner,will be able to advise you,where to find a good wood supplier in your area. Tell him,Dave from Illinois,sent you. #2 Yes,you need the gap,even if the spacers aren't used,so the center panel can "float". If you don't,something may crack r break apart. I use spacers to keep the panel centered in the frame,while it expands and moves around,but that's just my touch. Also,John Magee's advise is also correct,as is witnessed by his excellant raised panel doors in his kitchen.His photos are on this site....check them out.His work is fantastic! Hope my advise prooves helpful to you. Good luck to you, Dave
No spacers for me. I want the gooves clean.
Hi David,

I was just at Peachtree woodworking suppy last week and heading there this morning. Their line of bar clamps looks like the Bessey clamps at a very good price. I plan to pick up more today. Also heading to Atlanta Woodworking, they tell me that's a good place to buy wood. Should be an enjoyable day.



DAVID CZUPRYN said:
Hello again,John, Here's a supplier in Atlanta,that i use: Peachtree woodworking supply 6684 Jimmy Carter Blvd.Suite100 Norcross,Ga 30071 1-700-458-5539 Toll Free: 1-888-512-9069 on line :ptreeusa.com I've used this supplier for years with good results,even tho I live in Illinois. They are a great source for woodworking supplies,advice,and they offer classes and seminars. Dave,the owner,will be able to advise you,where to find a good wood supplier in your area. Tell him,Dave from Illinois,sent you. #2 Yes,you need the gap,even if the spacers aren't used,so the center panel can "float". If you don't,something may crack r break apart. I use spacers to keep the panel centered in the frame,while it expands and moves around,but that's just my touch. Also,John Magee's advise is also correct,as is witnessed by his excellant raised panel doors in his kitchen.His photos are on this site....check them out.His work is fantastic! Hope my advise prooves helpful to you. Good luck to you, Dave
Make sure you do not exceed that 1/4" if you do not use the spacers. On a Freud Stile and Rail set, The depth of the channel is 3/8" and if you exceed that 3/8 you will go beyond the edge and you will have a gap. Also the shorter the panel, the more it will rattle. Without the spacers you do not need more than 3/16" shorter.

John said:
Hi John,

I've been told that I need to have an 1/8" gap on each side for a total of 1/4" for the top and sides. Would this be true without spacers? Have you had any problems without the spacers?

John

John Magee said:
Hi David, I think the spacers are probably a good thing, but I have built quite a few doors and as long as the panel is a good fit I dont think they are a must. You want a snug fit, not tight but not loose you, you will be able to tell as you test fit your doors before assembly. Good luck!

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