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Replacing panels in a door

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guineafowl21

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I’ve been asked to replace the top two panels in this door, because they’re cracked:

5D42B42F-B3E9-4BAB-9724-0D19179A6CF0.jpeg
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The door will be painted, so plywood panels will be ok. What is the best way to go about this? As far as I can see, options are:

1. Knock the stiles off and replace the panels from the side.
2. Rout the panel openings (groove is about 15mm deep) and replace the panels from the front. Repair with a strip of wood.
3. Leave the panels in place, V groove the cracks and fill.
 

Cabinetman

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You have already removed one of the bolection mouldings, these are used to keep the panel in the door and if done properly with just a dab of glue in the centre of the ends of the panel to locate it, the panels should not split. If it was me I would experiment taking the other three off and the panel should knock out, it wasn’t normal for the panel to be in a groove in the frame as well.
If for some inexplicable reason the panel is in a groove in the doorframe and then the mouldings have been applied purely as decoration I think I would remove all the mouldings and then use a multitool to cut the panel out flush with the frame, and then build it back up as it should’ve been done to start with. Ian
 

Jacob

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If they are to be repainted I'd just fill the cracks. Can't see them in your photo so they must be fine. I 'd just rub putty in - leave it proud and sand back after a few days.
All your other options look really fiddly and you'd have a job to cover your tracks - they could end up looking worse.
The panels should drop out of you remove the mouldings, I doubt they are in slots. That's you next option and you could repair the panels on the bench.
 
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Doug71

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I'm presuming the panel is in a groove and the beads are just decorative?

Remove the beads

Cut the middle out of the panel to within about maybe 15mm of the stiles and rails.

Replace beads on one side.

Drop in new panel.

Replace beads on other side.

Panel 3.jpg
 
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guineafowl21

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Thanks for the comments. Interesting that two of you have said there should be no groove for the panel - I thought (very much an amateur) that all doors are made with grooves for the panels.

In this case the panels are in grooves. It looks like the mouldings have been off before, and whoever did that used very long pins to reattach them at an angle, which firmly joined the mouldings, panels and rails/stiles. Seasonal movement has then caused the trapped panels to split. The original pin holes (filled) would have joined the mouldings to the rails/stiles only. Does that sound right?

I’ll pull off all the mouldings so they can be re-pinned properly, hopefully preventing any more splitting, and have a chat with the owner to see what he wants to do.
 

Jacob

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Thanks for the comments. Interesting that two of you have said there should be no groove for the panel - I thought (very much an amateur) that all doors are made with grooves for the panels.
Usually rebated on one side with a planted loose moulding holding it on the other. The rebated side may be moulded to match i.e. moulding "stuck" or "struck", not loose
.....The original pin holes (filled) would have joined the mouldings to the rails/stiles only. Does that sound right?........
Yes. The panel needs to be free to move with differential movement. Often accumulated paint doesn't help and keeps them stuck in.
 
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cowtown_eric

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three suggestions....

First get some cheapo suction cups and attach them to either side of the panels. Use a Spanish windlass (twisted cord) to see if you can get enuf grip to close the gap, , if possible, then glue and let dry

second option, instead of knocking the door apart, and if the mouldings are not removable, (you can use a magnet to see if they are nailed in place) if nailed, all you gotta use is time and patience to remove them, but if no nails found, an oscillating saw like a multimaster can, also with time and patience, be used to cut through the mouldings to remove the panel, and repair.

With paint grade, a slight application of wood filler and sanding will make the cut disappear.

Or if it is too complicated, just fill the gap with tenacious autobody putty, scrape when half set and sand smooth. After all it will apparently be painted!

Eric
 

TheUnicorn

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As others have said, I'd just fill, sand and paint. Seems like opening up the door would open a can of worms
 

guineafowl21

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The ‘customer’ has gone for @Doug71 ’s suggestion of cutting out the panel, leaving a margin for supporting the beading.

I’ve removed all the beading ready for painting (which, hopefully, someone else will do), only breaking one bit slightly, which was a surprise as it was stuck in pretty well with many layers of paint.
 

Jacob

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Coincidence but I've just sawn up a similar door. Same details with panels going into a slot and the mouldings skew nailed. Mystery of the nailing solved - they go from moulding to panel without hitting the stiles so the panels are free to move but with the mouldings attached. The slot is perhaps because the door is thin - stiles dead on 1" even though it's a big wide door with a 10" lock rail.
 

toolsntat

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Surprised to see a reference to doors with applied mouldings not having grooves for the panels .
I cannot see this being a very satisfactory technique, both in assembly method and durability of the finished door.
For clarification are we talking of references to seeing previously made doors, teachings by someone or written methods?
Cheers Andy
 

Jacob

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Surprised to see a reference to doors with applied mouldings not having grooves for the panels .
I cannot see this being a very satisfactory technique, both in assembly method and durability of the finished door.
For clarification are we talking of references to seeing previously made doors, teachings by someone or written methods?
Cheers Andy
I assumed OPs door was rebated back and mouldings planted front, with panels not in slots. This is quite common.
There are all sorts of combinations, panels in slots with no decoration at all, panels in rebates with moulding planted on the other side, rebate side also moulded, bolection mouldings for external doors, flush panels rebated to drop in slots, mixtures of panels, glazed panels. etc.
The door I just cut up was same as our OPs above. It had one split panel and tenons coming out of mortices. The reason why was dead obvious - caustic soda dipping. You could see it had been dipped and repainted from the perfect modern paint finish.
Dipping and soaking expands the panels and they may force the stiles away from rails, as had happened with mine in one corner. Then they shrink as they dry but the panel in the slot stays a tight fit and dries last - so the shrinking middle of the panel pulls and can cause a crack, especially if there is a weakness there already e.g. due to split started by the nails.
 

Doug71

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Maybe it's a regional thing but all the old doors in the style of the OPs that I come across have the panel in a groove.

These days on external doors I often put the panel in a rebate and fix it in with beads or beads both sides. The panels are normally Tricoya so won't move much and a groove in the bottom rail is a great way to shorten the life of a door because water just sits in it and can't get out.
 
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