Shape the Panel

Dry-asscmblc the frame to make sure everything's OK. Then measure for the panel by adding 1/4 in. to the opening size all around. Because the grooves arc 5/16-in.-deep, this gives the panel a little room to expand.

Mill the panel stock to 5/8-in. thick. Because wide boards can cup, I try to assemble the panels into the door on the same day I plane them. Using your full-size drawing of the top rail, set a compass to the radius of the top rail curve, plus 1/4 in. for the tongue on the panel. Lay out the curve and shoulders of the arch on the panel (Photo 6) and cut to shape (Photo 7). Smooth the cut sur faces to fair the curve, but don't sand the edge—it will be housed in the groove.

Raise the Panel

I use a shaper and a cutter with guide bearings to raise the beveled edges on the panel (Photo 8). You could also use a large router in a sturdy router table. To control the mass of chips and to keep my fingers safe, I built two jigs: one for the curved edges (Photo 8) and another for the straight edges (Photo 9). An acrylic shield on the top of each jig (hard to sec in photo) keeps the chips contained, I plug a dust collection hose into the back of the jig.

ROUTE THE MOLDED EDGE on all frame parts, using a roundover bit in a router table. A pin helps start the cut on the curved rail. Use a fence on the straight parts.

CUT A GROOVE FOR THE PANEL in all the frame parts, using a ball-bearing piloted-slot cutter in the router table. Again, use a fence for straight edges, and start the curved edges against a pin.

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