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Frame and panel doors by the inexperienced?

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johnbb99

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I am currently making my first attempt at frame and panel doors.
They will be used on the front of built-in cupboards, there will be 4, all the same.
I have solid oak stiles and cross pieces being 90 mm and 110 mm respectively, and 19mm thick.
I am making up the panels from thinner pieces of oak of the same width either 90 or 110 and about either 6 or 10 mm thick.
I know it is conventional to tongue and groove the panel pieces so they hold together and to fit them into a groove in the frame; however I am keen to avoid any work that requires skills beyond my limited ones and wonder if it would be a good idea to do a simplified version.

What if I joined the strips in the panel with overlapping rebates (kind of tongue and 2/3 groove) and laid the finished pieces of the panel in a rebate in the back of the frame which I can then hold in place using cross straps (say 15mm square) that press the panel into the rebate and are screwed into the back of the mainframe , with slotted holes to allow for movement.
I guess it is best to glue the individual strips together at their overlapping rebate and I will be allowing space at both sides for expansion.
What does anyone think?
I do have an ancient trend craftsman router table available and also a wood rat but I am concerned that I will not be able to rout grooves accurately and successfully without ruining half my carefully made frames and panel pieces.
Is there an overriding reason why I should stick to the conventional method of making such a door.
Overall height is 850mm and width is 650.
Many thanks,
John.
 

custard

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johnbb99":33e70yon said:
I know it is conventional to tongue and groove the panel pieces so they hold together and to fit them into a groove in the frame; however I am keen to avoid any work that requires skills beyond my limited ones and wonder if it would be a good idea to do a simplified version.
John, I don't think it is "conventional" to T&G panel pieces together. It's not wrong as such, but the vast majority of panels are simply made up from straightforward, edge jointed pieces. And the grooves in the frame are a well proven method that saves time in the long run, especially if you run the grooves straight through (rather than having stopped grooves on the stiles) and fill the exposed stile grooves with haunched tenons.

However, let's go back a stage. It sounds like you're making a common woodworking mistake, you're jumping in to a project that's some way beyond your skills. It's easy to get overly enthusiastic and tackle a challenging project, but if it's too challenging then the results will almost certainly disappoint and you risk becoming frustrated and packing in the hobby entirely.

Why not get some scrap or cheap pine and run up a smaller sized test piece first? That's the way to build skills and master equipment without destroying your timber stocks. Cabinet scale frame and panel doors aren't rocket science, but they still need to be done right and there are literally dozens of ways of cocking it up. Unfortunately you probably don't yet know what most of these secret traps actually are, so it makes sense to discover them while using scrap wood.
 

AndyT

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You can make panelled doors in easier ways which will be ok.
Here's an example. It's DIY, not fine woodworking, and is from nearly 30 years ago when I had little experience and few tools - nothing to cut a groove with. I don't offer it as an example of good work, just as evidence of what you can get away with using simple techniques.

It's a pine cabinet to support a washbasin in a bedroom.



It's not what I would build now but it has been in daily use and has not fallen apart. The sides and the door are frame and panel, with the door sitting inside a face frame. All the square edged wood was PAR from a DIY shop. First, the outer frames of the panels were put together, using dowels. To make a rebate inside each panel, I pinned strips of ogee moulding to the edges of the frames. I then glued T&G cladding onto the backs of the moulding strips.





It's worked because the wood was all very dry before I made it, it doesn't get extremes of temperature and because the scale is quite small.

I've also made small doors where I have used the same technique of adding a moulding to a square frame but used plywood for the infill panel. (The big advantage of plywood for the panel is that you can disregard wood movement and glue it all round the edge. This can help make a lightweight panel more rigid. Done this way I have even used biscuits on the corners instead of dowels or mortice and tenon. )

I think you are suggesting making up the frames, cutting a square rebate at the back, dropping the panel in and finishing off with a (square) beading strip all round. This is a standard technique for a glazed panel where it might be necessary to replace the glass, so it will work fine for a wooden panel. You can glue the beads to the inside edges of the frames or pin them, whatever you prefer.

As Custard says, you only want T&G on the panel parts if that's going to be a decorative feature. For a flat panel wider than your stock, butt joints are perfect and less fiddly than making perfectly straight overlapping rebates.
 

AJB Temple

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You've got a router table, so definitely cut slots with that. Very quick and easy. I agree with Custard, do a test piece first on softwood.

Making doors is easy enough, but it does take practice to get them dead square and not twisted. So your mortice and tenon joints need to be spot on.
 

johnbb99

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OK, thanks for all that.
So if I butt join the panel parts, I can just glue them together, sounds good.
 

custard

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So if I butt join the panel parts, I can just glue them together
If you do it right, yes you can.

Here's how I edge joint 8mm thick drawer bottoms, a similar thickness to your panels.

Start by shooting the edges, setting the plane's lateral adjustment lever to get a dead 90 degree edge, or doubling up the boards so that any slight inaccuracy is compensated,

Dovetailing-94.jpg


There are lots of ways of applying cramping pressure for thin components. On of the simplest is to use the elasticity of masking tape. Start by taping one side,
Dovetailing-95.jpg

Dovetailing-96.jpg


Then open it out like a book and apply the glue,
Dovetailing-97.jpg


Then tape the other side and weight it down on a flat surface (make sure any glue squeeze out won't adhere to that surface),
Dovetailing-98.jpg


However, I'd park this question of the panel for a moment. Building on some of the other advice offered I'd suggest your first step is to decide on how you'll joint the frame and panel together. Traditional mortice & tenons or something simpler like dowels? That decision will in turn guide many of your subsequent decisions.
 

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Mike Jordan

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The photo shows the doors beneath a writing bureau. The grooves and therefor the small tenons are made the same thickness as the panels. Stop chamfers are a nice easy way of decorating the front face as shown, they can be easily cut with a router.
The main drawback to using solid panels is movement caused by seasonal changes to moisture content. In the panels shown the allowance needs to be a gap in the groove of about 6mm either side to allow the panel to expand.
image.jpg
image.jpg

As an inexperienced maker you may find it much easier to use oak veneered mpanels 6 or 9mm thick in ply or MDF. This avoids the movement problem and, if you wish, the panels can be glued in place to give extra strength. Best of luck with the project.
Mike.
 

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johnbb99

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Thanks Custard for the how to on gluing panels, I take it you stretch the tape before sticking down on the second piece /other side of the join?
Also, I had made a decision to dowel the frames together, and I'm rather committed to that as I've cut the cross pieces to suit.

So that means stopped grooves to accommodate teh panels, which I think I may turn to my 'Rat (Woodrat 600) to do. (How 'scary' is it starting a stopped groove on a router table?)

Yes, Mike I did consider using veneered panels, but decided not when I realised they might not match the oak of the frames.

Thanks all.
 

dzj

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"Also, I had made a decision to dowel the frames together..."


Oh dear.
 

johnbb99

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dzj":1bbvze6m said:
"Also, I had made a decision to dowel the frames together..."


Oh dear.
Apart from the fact I will waste that timber if I decide to do M&T after all, why 'Oh dear' ?
 

dzj

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johnbb99":1oeafokp said:
dzj":1oeafokp said:
"Also, I had made a decision to dowel the frames together..."


Oh dear.
Apart from the fact I will waste that timber if I decide to do M&T after all, why 'Oh dear' ?
edited:
Sorry about the previous comment, I thought you were the chap making a front door for himself.
Mixup. :oops:
 

sammy.se

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Maybe checkout peter Millard's youtube videos on panel doors - you'll see that using loose tenon is vitually the same complexity as the effort of putting in a panel...

Just allow space for the panel's expansion, and dont glue around the panel / in the rebate - leave it loose in the frame...

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
 

custard

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johnbb99":3s3qjdqq said:
Thanks Custard for the how to on gluing panels, I take it you stretch the tape before sticking down on the second piece /other side of the join?
Also, I had made a decision to dowel the frames together, and I'm rather committed to that as I've cut the cross pieces to suit.

So that means stopped grooves to accommodate teh panels, which I think I may turn to my 'Rat (Woodrat 600) to do. (How 'scary' is it starting a stopped groove on a router table?)
That's right, stretch the tape.

Personally, when using a outer table, I find it slightly trickier stopping a "stopped groove rather than starting it! But your Woodrat is absolutely ideal for stopped grooves, being able to plunge at a pre-set position is the perfect solution.
 

will1983

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sammy.se":1m75z6sv said:
Maybe checkout peter Millard's youtube videos on panel doors - you'll see that using loose tenon is vitually the same complexity as the effort of putting in a panel...

Just allow space for the panel's expansion, and dont glue around the panel / in the rebate - leave it loose in the frame...

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
I saw Peter's video using the loose tenons cut from the same material as the panel, as I'd not used it before I gave it a try for these doors.

They are just a pair of doors for my garage paint cupboard so a bit of an experiment that didn't matter if it went a bit pear shaped. 18mm OSB3 styles and rails with 9mm OSB3 panels and loose tenons, all fully glued together and given a coat of white primer or two.

Turned out pretty good and quick to make with just the table saw. I even decided to make my own handles out of nice close grained pine offcuts.
IMG_0652.JPG
 

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