Panels

Now that you have the assembled frame, you can measure the span between the grooves for the panels. The panels will fill the space within the frame, riding freely in the grooves. By their free expansion and contraction within these grooves, the panels can respond to changes in humidity, without the entire door expanding or shrinking. The entire design is based on the panels changing their width, but what width do you begin with?

This causes much anxiety. What is worse than making a door and having a panel shrink so much it leaves a gap? Before you begin work on the frame, put the panel stock in the driest place you have to shrink the wood to its minimum width. Oak is notorious for shrinking again once a new surface is exposed, so even then, you can't be fully sure until the final planing. Aim for the middle width, fitting the well-seasoned panels so they have room to both swell and shrink. Wider panels need deeper grooves to move in, but even the foot-wide panels in wainscot around a fireplace pull back only about 1/4 inch in the dry heat generated by winter fires.

Panels are too wide for layout with a regular marking gauge. A panel gauge is not only longer in the beam, but wider in the fence as well. The fence also has a rabbet to fit around the face edge of the panel and keep it from rocking over. The panel gauge can also help you after you have sawn and planed the outer dimensions of the panel. Even if you are going to just taper the margins of the panels with a drawknife, you may want guidelines for your free hand wo rk.

Panels just need to fit in the grooves, and a drawknife can do that, but the classic form of the raised panel, with the margins sloping away from the rectangular flat, comes from planes. The planes have to work well across the grain and flush to a shoulder, but that's all. Panel-raising planes come in varied forms, but generally they have a broad, skewed iron bedded at 50 degrees, shaped to cut both the canted margins and the flat tongue to fit into the grooves.

Dedicated panel-raising planes may also have fences, nickers, and depth stops, but other tools can do these jobs as well. A cutting gauge can score the cross-grain, as can a knife guided by a batten clamped across the panel. This batten can then guide your rabbet plane as you first cut down and then cant over to plane the bevels. Whatever planes you use, finish both cross-grained ends first so that any break-out at the end of the strokes will be removed by the long grain planing that follows.

Panel-raising planes are among the aristocracy of bench planes, but they are governed by a humble scrap called the mullet. When this grooved stub, cut off one of the ends of a stile, tells you that the panels will fit in the grooves, you

Lay out the width of the panel with a panel gauge.
Work the cross-grain ends of the panels before you plane the long-grain sides.
The scribed end of the ovolo cups over the ovolo on the stile.

Sash making is a special skill within the joiner's trade.

stop planing. As best I can tell, the name, "mullet," has a Latin derivation from a word for shoe. This makes sense in the way you try the mullet on for size. If the mullet fits — don't plane it.

The 1734 Builder's Dictionary warned joiners never to glue or nail their panels: "This will give Liberty to the Board to shrink, and swell without tearing; wheras Moldings that are nailed round the Edge, as the common Way is, do so restrain the Motion of the Wood, that it cannot shrink without tearing." Don't forget the panels, and don't forget to leave them free 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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