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First of all let me say that I am a struggling, fledgling cabinet maker who is new to this router game.
I am making a large walk-in cedar closet. It will have four 6' wide wardrobes along the walls with raised panel doors. The first door that I made was very satisfactory. Most of the second one's thin strips on the backside, created by the routing, cracked and shattered when I put the thing together. I know that ceder is bad about splitting but is there anything I can do to make the panels less likely to split and crack. The wood is planed down to 3/4". Would it help if I used 7/8" wood? I might be better off to make them out of oak and line them with cedar. But the cedar raised panels are so beautiful.
The wood that I used was cut on my TimberKing bandmill. It was air-dried indoors for 3 years. :confused:
I would appreciate any advice and suggestions. The Puking Polecat
 

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Yes, It was just snap crackle and pop as I lifted the dry assembled piece. The doors are 18" x 44". I have ten more doors to do. So you can see my concern. I'm gonna try using 7/8" stock and adjust the router to allow a thicker lip on the backside of the framework. The puking Polecat
 

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Can you show me a photo of the door panel? Not sure thicker material is going to help or change the results.
 

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fred m deolick said:
Yes, It was just snap crackle and pop as I lifted the dry assembled piece. The doors are 18" x 44". I have ten more doors to do. So you can see my concern. I'm gonna try using 7/8" stock and adjust the router to allow a thicker lip on the backside of the framework. The puking Polecat
This is what I'm picturing, this correct? See attachment
 

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Yes, thats exactly what is happening. The thinner strip on the back side seems to crack with little pressure on it. I've noticed that the white colored wood seems to be more likely to splinter.
 

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I have taken pictures of the wardrobe and could take a closeup of the panel; but I do not know how to attach it to a message to your forum. In addition to not being too knowledgeable about router work, I am computer illiterate.
 

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backside of cedar raised panel door.

Hope this helps. I mounted the pitiful door on my wardrobe because I am pressed for time. It will be replaced when I find an answer to the problem.
When I retired from the military I promised my wife that I would build her a house in two years. I retired in the year 2000. We Had it framed up and dried in by bonifide carpenters. Then we took over. If you are still interested I'll give you a full rundown on our progress. The puking Polecat
 

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fred m deolick said:
Yes, thats exactly what is happening. The thinner strip on the back side seems to crack with little pressure on it. I've noticed that the white colored wood seems to be more likely to splinter.
Let me list a couple of things that come to mind about why that might have happened. These are in order of my best guess to just a guess.



Were all the pieces flat? If the rails/stiles/panels/ were warped or cupped things would be very difficult to line up and fit. Even dry wood has stresses, sometimes when cutting or doing other operations the board that was flat will twist. Sometimes this happens even as you are working on the piece sometimes it takes a couple of days to notice.



When you did a dry fit of the panel to a rail/stiles was the panel free to move about or very snug? The panels need to be free to move and if that was not the case either the panel needs to be smaller or the “groove” wider.



Did you take a piece of sand paper and easy the sharp edges? The panel ends are going to be hidden anyway so take a little more off on them.


If you were using clamps to pull the dry fit together they may have buckled or arched the door. Some clamps are not designed to tighten a frame together so it requires more time and extra effort to make sure everything remain flat. Light tapping helps, if you have to really hit it then something is wrong so stop.



What you might be able to do to save the work you have done is to remove the back strips altogether. Drop in the panels and use a filler strip in place of that removed strip, more like you would do if the panels were glass. That strip could be glued then tacked with a brad push nailer to the rail/stile. Make sure no glue gets on the panels they will need to move.



If you don't have one of those brad push nailers get one, they are less then $10 and work great on this sort of project.

Ed
 

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Get a copy of American Woodworker December 1998 #70 there is a raised panel doors done on tablesaw. Really interesting topic by Ian Kirby.Also in his book THE ACCURATE TABLESAW.203-426-6481 is a phone # for the press comp.
 

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Fred,
Ed has given you some very valuable advice on raised panel construction. The panels need to be able to move in a dry fit. To keep the panels from rattling when opened and closed, there are several options you have to "snug" the door to keep it from rattling and not still split the back of the rails and styles.

In the old days, they used newspaper. But I wouldn't recommend that because it drys out over time and the door will rattle. These days, either weatherstip foam or "space balls" are put in the channel of the rails and styles to fix the panel in place. The foam or balls allow the panel to expand and contract to keep the panel from rattling without splitting the back of the rail and style.

I've tried both and prefer the foam type to the balls. It's more flexible and cheaper. Sommerfeld's tools for wood sells 200 for $5.50 at last look in their catelog. They are called panalign strips. Check them out at www.sommerfeldtools.com if you like. I don't have any affiliation with them. But, they work for me.

The key on the strips is that the panel width extends only 3/16th's to 1/4 of an inch inside the channel of the rails and styles. For CMT bits that I use, the the channel depth is 7/16th's of an inch deep. So, it seems to me that your problem might be that you are squeezing the panel and rail/styles too tightly together to prevent movement. It's like bone joints on bone joints with out any lubricating or expanding/ contracting surface between them. The joints gotta move or they crack.

I've had to learn the hard way too. Since using the stirps and allowing room for the panels to move, I haven't has any problems.

The other problem you are have is using cedat that has been dried for three years. Cedar can to dry out too much and become brittle when unfinished and kept indoors. This is especially a problem with the sap (light) colored wood. You might want to just lightly wet the back of your rails and styles before a dry fit to keep them a little more plyable during your test fit. Not too much, just enough for the cedar to "swell" slightly. I do mean SLIGHTLY! Test out the amount of water to use on a scrap piece. Do you know how a freshly sharpened pencil smells? That's the smell you are looking for after adiing some water. Water activates the natural oils in cedar that makes the wood stronger and more resistant to problems. Hopefully, the back of the style and rail won't split with this method.

Anyway, good luck with these techniques. Giving the panels room to move is really important. The Egytians invented panel doors B.C. to allow for wood movement. It still works now with the right techniques.

Clay
 

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fred m deolick said:
Thanks Ed, You have made some good comments. It is now midnite. I'll respond to your message tomorrow. The puking Polecat
Any progress on the doors?

Ed
 

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reible said:
Any progress on the doors?

Ed
Yes Ed, I got the wardrobe out of my workshop and onto the front porch where I will have plenty of room to correct the problem.
Thanks for your concern. There were several good suggestions and commentsfrom you and several others. My last door went well. Only nine more to go. 3 on each of four wardrobes.The Puking Polecat.
 

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fred m deolick said:
Yes Ed, I got the wardrobe out of my workshop and onto the front porch where I will have plenty of room to correct the problem.
Thanks for your concern. There were several good suggestions and commentsfrom you and several others. My last door went well. Only nine more to go. 3 on each of four wardrobes.The Puking Polecat.
Maybe cutting the grooves with that strange looking router was the whole problem....... Nice picture.

Anyway I hope the rest of the project goes as well as the last door.

Ed
 
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