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Floating Faneie

aised panel doors are beautiful. But if they're not built correctly, you're going to be faced with some surprises once the humidity changes in your house.

PROBLEMS. One problem that can occur is that the door frame joints can blow apart. This might happen if you built the door when the humidity was low (usually in the winter), and you cut the panel to fit tight into the grooves in the frame.

Once the humidity increases, a solid wood panel will expand — mostly across rattle around in the frames. This happens if you build the doors when (lie humidity is high. Then, once the humidity drops, the panels shrink.

solutions. There are a couple of things you can do to prevent these prob its width. And then the joint holding the door frame together might split apart from the pressure in the wood.

The other problem isn't as dramatic, but it may be a little more common. The panels can become uncentered and lems. First, cut the panel to fit a little loose in the frame. I allow at least a '/¡b" gap on each side (W overall).

Next, always assume that there will be movement in a solid wood panel. So never glue the panel into the grooves. The panel has to be allowed to expand and contract or it will crack as the humidity changes.

But if the panel is built "loose" and it isn't glued in, what keeps it centered in the frame? There are a couple of techniques shown below to "anchor" a floating panel. One more thing. Always apply finish to a solid wood panel before assembly. If you finish the whole project after assembling the frames and panels, and a panel shrinks, there will be a noticeable unfinished line around the panel.

One way to secure a solid wood panel in a frame is to pin the panel with brads (see drawing at right).

Before nailing, check that the panel is centered in the frame. Then drive a single brad centered at the top and bottom of each panel (not the sides). The brads should go through the tongue and into the rail on the other side of the groove (see detail).

With the panel nailed at the center of the frame, it can expand and contract in both directions from the center.

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