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Raised panel doors

4805 Views 20 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  MAFoElffen
Ok, well some of you showed a lot of knowledge and interest when I was asking about an external speed controller, lets see how you do on panels LOL

I made my first raised panel door last night. I made the rails and stiles from poplar. The raised panels are 3/4" MDF. I routed the panel down until it fit in the groove.

Here is the question, how tight or loose should the panel be between the rails and stiles?

As it sits right now, the panel just fits in the groove. I've read a lot of articles that state not to glue the panel in as it's suppose to "float" between the rails and stiles for expansion and contraction from weather. I don't see how it's suppose to float if I had a hard time pushing it in there in the first place.

Any thoughts?

Thank You
1 - 3 of 21 Posts
They should defiantly "float"in the rail an stile.i like to add "barrels",little rubber items you put in the groove before the panel goes in to keep the panel from shifting.Lee valley has a couple sizes.
You may also want to consider pre finishing the panel before assembly
Note that with a mdf panel expansion and contraction is not the issue it would be with a solid wood panel
Interesting idea with the spackling.i have used white shellac ,sealing all cut or machined surfaces ,then sanding the exposed details,applying anouther coat of shellack,sanding again and repeating until smooth.
Takes several coats,your method should speed things up.
I would still consider a coat of the shellack,a coat of primer and one finish coat before assembly.
What ever spacer you use,the idea is not to compress them,just very lightly if so,just enough to keep the panel from shifting.if expansion takes place they will compress instead of cracking or buckling your door
You have to compress it some or they will all fall down to the bottom. Friction is all that holds them in place.
I thought you used spacers all around ,both top,bottom and sides to prevent just that
I may be wrong,have been many times.
I do believe this is all more important in solid wood.
I have built all pine,all maple,maple and poplar and maple and mdf doors and did the same with all
Seemed to work,the pine are the oldest, now being replaced with the maple/ mdf,not because of issues with the doors but she wants a updated look
Sure everyone knows what that is
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