Making panels

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The panel used in framc-and-panel construction ordinarily is a wood that matches the frame, but it can be a contrasting wood. The most simple panel would be a hardwood plywood matching the frame. Most familiar, however, maybe the so-called raised panel, a natural wood panel with a beveled or shouldered band around its edge.

Whatever panel you choose can be set flush with either the front or back surface of the frame, or elevated so that it projects beyond the frame. (Of course, to fit flush with cither the front or the back frame surface, the panel has to be rabbeted.)

If you arc using a natural wood for the panel, it's not unlikely that you'll have to glue up narrow boards to form the wider panels that arc neccssairy. Even if you do have lx>ards wide enough, it may be advantageous to rip the boards into narrow strips, then glue them back together. This is a good way to minimize cupping. Sec the chapter "Edge Joints" for a variety of router techniques that can improve the strength and quality of your edge joints.

The router is the best tool in your shop to use for raising panels, unless you have a shaper. A lot of woodworkers use the table saw or radial arm saw to raise panels in a straight bevel, but there are some distinct shortcomings to this.

First, you can get the straight bevel only at some angle dictated by the width of the cut area and the thickness of the stock. Also, the saw blade will probably leave fairly prominent marks that take a lot of time, elbow grease, and sandpaper to eradicate. Finally, you can't get the '/♦-inch-thick by Ve-inch-long tongue around the panel that's necessary to properly fit it into the frame's groove.

All panel-raising router bits (and shaper cutters, too) are designed to product* a tongue of the appropriate width. They'll leave a far smoother finish to the cut. You'll have to sand it, of course, but not nearly as much. And finally, you have a pretty interesting assortment of profiles from which to choose. (See "Bit Drawer" on page 210).

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FITTING PANEL TO FRtlKE-

HOW YOU CUT IT AFFECTS THE FIT

FITTING PANEL TO FRtlKE-

HOW YOU CUT IT AFFECTS THE FIT

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