Making Raised Panel Doors On The Table Saw General Woodworking
Or, more correctly, cope and stick raised panel doors. I did this originally long ago, back when I couldn’t afford to buy the bit set (or the heavier router needed to use them) that is normally used to make these doors. I was redoing a kitchen at the time and made all of the doors this way.
Although it seems labour intensive, it may actually be faster than using the router bit set if you are doing a lot of doors. The biggest benefit with the router set is it cuts cleaner, but it does have the tendency to burn or tear-out the wood in places.
This method also has the added benefit of looking different – unique – where the bit sets produce fairly common and standard profiles.
To start off, here are some guideline measurements:
The angles and depths can be changed to suit your needs.
Here’s the bit set (a not very good one) I referred to above:
After cutting out my stock to width and planing it smooth to a consistent thickness, I tilted the blade to make the first cut at 20.5 degrees:
This is how it should look after, with the cut extending up to the face:
The next cut, this time with the blade at 90 degrees, removes the triangular piece and cleans up the shoulder:
The groove for the panel is cut next. I used the single blade making a series of cuts, but a dado set would be faster:
That completed the “stick” part of the joint, now on to the “cope”.
First, the rails (bottom, horizontal parts) need to be cut to length. It’s a good idea to have some scrap pieces the same thickness to do sample cuts in to test the fit:
The first angled cut matches the one in the stick and should be as accurate as possible.
With all of the parts cut, dry fitting the parts together shows how big the panel needs to be. Since solid wood expands and contracts with seasonal moisture changes, some space should be left between it and the stiles and rails:
I used my tenon jig to hold the panel securely while I made the cuts after changing the blade angle to 12 degrees:
I also rabbeted the back of the panel so that it would sit flush (see this in the build video).
I left a raised section in the middle of the panel to add character. There are other ways to cut a panel (coved, stepped), but I like this straight taper the best:
I cut pieces of rubber hose to act as crushable cushions to help keep the panel centered. There is a retail product you can buy, but this works just as well.
It’s important to put the glue only on the cope and stick joints, the panel needs to be free to float:
I trimmed the ends and did some light sanding on the face and edges after the glued dried:
Here’s how it looks with three coats of water based polyurethane:
Not bad at all, considering it was made using only the table saw.
Here’s a video showing how I did it: