The Fourpanel Doors

There's no way to get around it, building these four-panel doors is a real challenge. But then, it's really just like anything else in woodworking — if it's done with patience (and a few trial cuts along the way), it's very rewarding work.

the door frames. The door frames are assembled with a special version of a mortise and tenon joint that has a molded edge. We're showing the step-by-step details of cutting this joint on page 12.

The basic procedure is to cut the outside stiles (I) to the full height of the door opening. Then cut the outside rails (H), middle rails (J), and middle stiles (K) to rough length. The inside edges of all these pieces is routed with a Va" corner round bit. Then a W'-wide groove is cut for the panels.

Next, part of the molding is trimmed off so the mortises can be cut, and measurements are taken so the outside rails (H) can be trimmed to final length.

I found that it helps to work on the four outside pieces first. Then dry-assemble these pieces, and mark the position of the mortises for the middle rail (J), and join it to the frame. Finally cut the two short stiles (K) to fit.

the panels. Once the whole frame is dry-assembled, the panels are cut to size. Then I used a new carbide-tipped router bit from Sears (Catalog No. 9 GT 25465, $21.99) to rout the raised-panel profile. This bit works as smooth as silk, cutting the profile on these small panels so they need very little (if any) sanding.

  1. When the doors are assembled, don't glue in the panels — just let them rest in the grooves. Then trim the outside dimensions of the door frame to fit the opening. And finally, cut the hinge mortise to mount the doors.
  2. Since there are so many little nooks and crannies on this cabinet, I wanted to use a finish that didn't cause any "drip and run" problems. 1 chose Hope's Tung Oil Varnish. This is an oil finish that's very easy to apply, yet leaves a protective coat of vamish and a nice sheen.






1 6va"


1 Va



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