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Thread: Question about building cabinet doors

  1. #1

    Question about building cabinet doors

    Hello,

    I’ve been doing basic “homeowner” woodworking for several years, and I’d like to try my hand at cabinet building, so please be patient with my inexperienced questions.

    I’ve never built cabinet doors, but I want to learn how to do this. I have a couple of very elementary questions which are probably so basic to most of you that you probably don’t think twice about them, but I don’t know the answers, so I need to ask.

    If I want to build a cabinet door using a router table setup with rail and stile construction and rail and stile bits, is the normal procedure to have the door panel “inserted” into grooves in the four sides, or is the normal procedure to have the panel sitting in a rabbet behind the four sides.

    And if the answer is that you should “insert” the panel into grooves in the four sides, what do you cut those grooves with, a slot cutting bit?

    Thanks,
    Louis

  2. #2
    The grooves are created with the stile and rail bits. It's part of the profile.

  3. #3
    Ok, thanks. Now I understand.

    Louis

  4. #4
    A very good question. Thanks for asking because I am sure there are a number of people who will benefit from the answer. Gerry is correct with his answer. Thanks again for asking

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Louis, I think the best way to understand how these sets work is to buy one that makes the basic profile you like, chuck them up in the router table, and shove some wood into them. Once you have a test piece in your hands it all becomes exceedingly clear. One bit makes the profile and groove on the edge of the rails and stiles, the other makes the negative of the profile (cope) and tongue, or stub tenon, on the ends of the rails. The two fit nearly perfectly when well machine using a quality set, with just enough room for glue. It is a relatively strong glue joint, though some still like to reinforce with dowels or loose tenons for larger doors.

    The panel raiser will create a profile and a sort of tongue. This tongue will slide into the groove created by the profile bit of the cope and stick set. Typically with solid stock, the panels are cut to match the groove. With flat plywood panels, the groove may be sized to match the plywood with sets like those from amana (in-stile) and others. There is no question too obvious when you are starting from zero, so don't be afraid to ask as many as you need. And also don't be afraid to just shove some wood into a router and see what happens!

  6. #6
    Thanks to all. That makes it a lot clearer. I have the Bosch 1617EVSPK 2 1/4 HP router combo and a router table. But from reading posts over a period of time, I think that I've learned that to spin the big bits, you need a router with a little more power, so I'm probably going to wait until I get a 3 HP unit before I start on this. In the meantime, I appreciate all of your help, because it helps me to understand the process.
    Louis

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    If you are in a hurry to play, you can look into a vertical raised panel bit. Lower power routers should handle them just fine if you make a few passes (I just started using one on my DeWalt 2.25HP router). Only drawback is that the panel gets fed in vertically, so you need a tall fence and maybe a guide opposite the fence to keep the wood steady. You end up with the same raised panel, and can then use a dado to make rails and stiles for it.
    The worst part about mistakes is that you have to make them before you can learn from them.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Long Island, NY
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    Wood Whiperer episode

    Louis,
    Google "Wood whisperer Raising Arizona" and watch the video; it will clear things up visually.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Louis Brandt View Post
    ...I have the Bosch 1617EVSPK 2 1/4 HP router combo and a router table. But from reading posts over a period of time, I think that I've learned that to spin the big bits, you need a router with a little more power, so I'm probably going to wait until I get a 3 HP unit before I start on this...Louis
    Louis you don't need a 3HP router to raise panels, although it might help. Just take off a little at a time.

    If you are just getting started get a matched tongue and groove set and build doors with it. It's one of my users for everything from shallow rabbets to full doors. You can use 1/4" ply for the panel.
    -Brian

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Berkovsky View Post
    Louis,
    Google "Wood whisperer Raising Arizona" and watch the video; it will clear things up visually.
    Thanks. That video helped a lot.

    Let me ask a follow-up question. Does anyone see any problem in using rail and stile construction to build a cabinet door that's to be "inset" instead of overlay? I realize that the measurements and hinges will come out differently, but I'd like to build some inset doors, and I'm wondering whether there would be any problems that I'm overlooking.

    Thanks,
    Louis

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
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    There is no problem using rail and stile construction for an inset door. The only thing is that you need to be a little more careful because an overlay door can cover up a certain amount of inaccuracy that will show with an inset door. Also, use the straightest grain you can find for the rails and stiles, to keep the door stable. You can use more interesting grain for the panels.

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    I agree with Brian. I have made doors with the Bosch 1617, you don't need 3HP router to raise panels, you are going to have to take multiple light passes even with 3HP, and 3HP is no advantage with cope and stick bits, its just over head IMO. What you really need to raise panels and make doors easily is a 5HP sliding table shaper with coping disks for integral tenons and......sorry...tool addict personality took over.....you don't NEED any of that. Just a decent 2HP+ router in a basic table and some square stock of proper thickness. Beyond that adds to convenience and maybe speed but the product remains the same.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Kincaid View Post
    Louis you don't need a 3HP router to raise panels, although it might help. Just take off a little at a time.

    If you are just getting started get a matched tongue and groove set and build doors with it. It's one of my users for everything from shallow rabbets to full doors. You can use 1/4" ply for the panel.
    -Brian
    Brian, Thanks for the info, but when you say that I can use 1/4" ply for the panels, I assume that you mean if I DON'T create "raised" panels, right? Because with 1/4" ply, I'd have no way to raise the panel without cutting through the veneer layer of plywood.
    Louis

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    New Haven County, CT
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Quinn View Post
    I agree with Brian. I have made doors with the Bosch 1617, you don't need 3HP router to raise panels, you are going to have to take multiple light passes even with 3HP, and 3HP is no advantage with cope and stick bits, its just over head IMO. What you really need to raise panels and make doors easily is a 5HP sliding table shaper with coping disks for integral tenons and......sorry...tool addict personality took over.....you don't NEED any of that. Just a decent 2HP+ router in a basic table and some square stock of proper thickness. Beyond that adds to convenience and maybe speed but the product remains the same.
    What would you guys suggest for my situation:

    I have a DeWalt 618 router (2.25HP), and wanted to get into building cabinets. I have a CMT raised panel set that I wanted to use, and was assuming the DeWalt router wouldnt be able to handle it. Power-wise, maybe it could with multiple passes....but accuracy in height-wise, Im not so sure.

    I was thinking of getting one of the larger routers with above the table features built in and relegating the DeWalt to handheld use only.

    Would that be a better option than something to make the DeWalt height adjustment more accurate (i.e. a lift or router raizer)?
    The worst part about mistakes is that you have to make them before you can learn from them.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Southern Minnesota
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    1,442
    I have raised lots of panels with my bosch 1617 evs router. I am currently building a door to replace a closet door in our common bathroom. I have cut the whole cove and under cut in one pass with the router but that is not good for it. That was when I was younger and less experienced, spinning a 3 1/2 bit at full speed. The bosch will raise 5/8" panels in soft wood, pine, in one pass and wont blink an eye. But in hard wood it will need mulitple passes to lessen the impact on the router. Unless you will be doing many, many raised panel doors you wont need a 3hp router. That said when my bosch dies I will buy a 3hp milwaukee for router table duties. And use my assortment of other routers for hand duty.

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