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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-13-2005, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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Question Wood for Raised Panels

I am getting ready to remodel the kitchen over the winter and was wanting some insight. I have a home built in the 1950's when the base and wall cabinets were built on site in your home. The cabinets have been painted many times in their existance, and we have decided to keep them painted. The question comes to be: What lumber choices are recommended for the doors. Like I said, the cabinets are painted, so therefore the doors will be painted as well. We have explored the idea of making rails and stiles with a plywood insert, but have not really come to the conclusion that this is what we want. So, we are going to go with a traditional raised panel. Since they will be painted, thought about using MDF for the raised panel, but I know that it has considerable weight to it. Would pine be a suitable choice or would it be to soft for the rigors.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-13-2005, 11:34 PM
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Since you are going to paint the doors, you have several options. I don't think that I would use typical pine like you would find at Home Depot or Lowe's for the rails and stiles. That is provided you still are planning on using MDF for the panels. If you have your hands on a planer, the pine glued up and planed to 5/8 panels would really suffice. Most any type of hardwood could be used for the frames. Keep up posted- I am going to start a similar project without the painting.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-14-2005, 07:28 AM
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Good luck with your kitchen. Keep in mind that all wood will expand and contract with moisture or lack of moisture. I'd use a hardwood for the styles and rails because hardwood is more stable than softwood. I'd use MDF for the panels because that does not shift around with moisture. You need to be concerned about shifting because you will see a line around the edge of your panels when the frame shrinks. If the door was to be stained you'd stain the panel before inserting it in the frame and no lines would show. If you use pine for the styles and rails it may have more movement than a harder wood. If you don't plan on putting a profile on your panel then a good quality plywood may be your answer.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-14-2005, 01:11 PM
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Hi: I have redone a few kitchens, and I found the easiest wood to use if it's going to be painted, is Poplar, which is a hard wood but is easy to work with, and thakes paint really well. The raised panels may also be made out of Poplar. If you decide on flat plywood panels, I would suggest you use Birch plywood since it also takes paint very well. Hope this helps Woodnut65
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-18-2005, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
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I am going to look and see what I can get for a hard wood for the rail and stiles to minimize the movement of the frame for the painting. Poplar is a great choice for this application. Still thinking that I might go with MDF for the raised panel, since afterall, it will be painted and I like the look that the raised panel will give and the MDF is a very stable material. Have been discussing this option with the wife, and she is in on it as well. She is also now thinking to two tone the doors, ie rails and stiles on color and the panel another. We have explored the idea of using all wood rails, stiles, and raised panels, but out kitchen is small and we are wanting to make it look bigger. Had a buddy of mine a few years back that stripped all of his and stained all of the cabinets and doors and the kitchen looked a lot smaller than it was. His house is very similar to mine and we are learning from his mistakes.

Thanks all for the advice.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-25-2005, 10:53 PM
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Is the weight factor the only reason not to use MDF?

Vaughn "Brad" Bradley
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-26-2005, 09:51 AM
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If you rout mdf the dust is very very fine and goes everwhere. Even wearing a mask i would only cut mdf outside. While mdf is very stable the panels are quite small for kitchen cabinet doors and the expansion and contraction will be minimal and will be accounted for in the grooves milled for the panels.I have made hundreds of raised panels out of solid wood,using routers and shapers, and have had very few problems.The suggestion of poplar is what i would use, it takes paint very well. Try it you may be pleasantly surprized.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-26-2005, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
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The weight of the MDF is not so much of a factor.
Looking for options/alternatives that might be suggested. Since the entire door will be painted, I am leaning towards a harder wood to minimize the movement of all of the railes and stiles, but on the flip side do not want to give and arm and leg for wood that is going to get painted. Poplar is what I am leaning towards for the rail and stile assemblies.
Liking the idea of MDF for the raidsed panel. Since, after all, it is relatively flat straight off the sheet, machines easily, and it is a very stable surface that will minimize the expansion and contraction of the raised panel surface.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-03-2005, 06:43 PM
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I am a bit late coming in on this. Until very recently I had never worked with MDF, it simply was not available in my area. I recently bought 2 sheets of 1/2" and last week made two 9"X20 "cabinets to hold plastic hardware storage containers beside the windows in my shop.
It is a fine material for cabinets and takes paint well.

Jerry`s caution about the dust is reasonable and wise.
I only have shop vac collection and have been gagging on dust for a week.
The stuff is very reasonable in price and machines nicely(albeit hard on cutting edges I ubderstand).
But untill I can greatly improve dust control in my shop I don`t think I will buy more once what I have is used up.
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