Panel and Frame

George Eliot's 1859 novel Adam Bede begins in a joiners' shop, where a distracted young worker calls out, "There! I've finished my door today, anyhow." To his embarrassment, and to his coworkers' amusement, he is holding up an empty frame for approval, having forgotten to make and fit the panels. Eliot may have been a decent novelist, but this scene is beyond silly. Panel-in-frame construction is the soul of the joiner's trade.

Defining the perimeter of a door, cabinet, or wainscot with the stable long grain of the wood ensures that it will not swell or shrink in its outer dimensions. The broad panels, freely moving in grooves plowed within this frame can then expand and contract harmlessly. The design enables a dynamic material to retain a set outer form. The result is a door that does its job; it opens and closes at your command, never sticking in the summer, and never opening up cracks in the dry winter.

In the days of the village joiner's shop, making a basic, four-panel door was considered a good day's work. This meant ripping, planing, and grooving the stiles and rails of the frame, laying out and cutting the ten mortise and tenon joints, planing and molding the four panels to fit into the grooves of the frame, and then fitting the whole together. I am also told that just because this was considered a good day's work, it doesn't mean that anyone ever did it.

Panel-in-frame construction allows the wood to move.
Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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