How to Make a Raised Panel Cabinet Door Part 1 How to Make a Raised Panel Cabinet Door Part 1

What You'll Need
3/4 by 2 inch boards cut to length for stiles and rails
3/4-inch wood stock for door panel
Table saw with dado head
Drill with 5/16-inch bit
Measuring tape
Wood glue
Bar clamps
Handles and door hinges
Safety glasses/goggles

When your kitchen needs a face lift, the easiest and most inexpensive way is to give your kitchen raised panel cabinet doors. These doors can be usually created by using any type of wood, depending on the type of look you desire for your kitchen cabinets. The easier way to go about making these doors is to use a panel raising router bit, but the job can also be easily done with a table saw with a dado head. This article is the first part of a series that will give you step-by-step instructions on how to make a raised panel cabinet door.

Step 1 – Measure and Cut Rails 

Cut the door rails (the wood pieces that will form the top and bottom of the door) equal to the door width. Measure the door bit using measuring tape. To cut the rails, use a dado head in a table saw. Adjust the height of the dado head to a third of the thickness of the wood that you are using to make the rails. Cut the rails by feeding them face down into the table saw on both sides. 

Step 2 – Make Tenon Cheeks on Rails 

After you’re done cutting the rails by running them through the dado head face down, turn them onto their sides and run them through the dado head. Do this after you have adjusted the height of the head to ½ inch. This will give you a tenon head at the end of each rail. Repeat for all rails. You can check if the tenon cheeks are right by trying to dry fit the rails into each other right now. It should be an accurate, flawless fit. 

Step 3 – Cut the Grooves 

After you’ve done cutting tenon cheeks into the rails, you have to cut the grooves in them for the panel cabinet doors to come out like you want them to. Do this by taking a rail and placing its side by the edge of the table on which your table saw and dado head are placed. Run the rail through the blade and a groove will be formed. Now, flip the rail to the other side and run it through the blade again. This will ensure that the groove that is formed is accurate and is in the exact center of the rail. Repeat the process with all the other rails. 

If you are willing perform these steps using a router bit, make sure you get the panel raising router bits and a heavy-duty rotary tool made specifically for big surfaces for an accurate finish. To make the stiles and to cut the panel, refer to part 2 of this 3-part series on how to make a raised panel cabinet door.

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