How to build panel doors

Written by michael straessle
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How to build panel doors
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Whether it is a cabinet door, entry door or shutters on a house, panel doors always bring out the quality of the wood and the craftsmanship that went into making them. One of the more common places for panel doors is kitchen cabinets. The panels can be raised or flat and still increase the overall quality of the cabinets.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Two pieces of lumber, 1-by-2-by-22-inches
  • Two pieces of lumber, 1-by-2-by-16-inches
  • One piece of lumber, 18½-by-16½-by-¾-inches
  • Router table
  • One set of router bits for panel doors
  • Wood glue
  • Two 36-inch bar clamps
  • Safety glasses

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Set the first router bit up to cut the inside edge of the 1-by-2-inch material. Adjust the fence of the router table to the depth needed for the bit used. Run all four of the 2-inch boards through the router only on one long edge.

    How to build panel doors
    Cut the Inside Edge
  2. 2

    Set the router bit up to cut the edge of the 18½-by-16½-inch material. Adjust the fence on the router table to the depth needed for the profile. Run the material on all four edges.

    How to build panel doors
    Cutting the Panel
  3. 3

    Set up the bit for the ends of the 16-inch pieces. Adjust the fence of the router table to the depth needed for the profile. Place the mitre guide in the slot of the router table and make sure it is set on 90 degrees. Set one of the 16-inch pieces against it and run it through the router. Repeat this for ends of all the 16-inch pieces.

    How to build panel doors
    Cut the Ends of the Rails
  4. 4

    Fit the pieces together to check the cuts. Adjust if needed by readjusting the bits or the fence on the router table. Be certain to check the fit of the panel as well.

  5. 5

    Apply glue to one of the edges of the 16-inch pieces and slip them into the groove cut on the 22-inch pieces. Next, slide the panel in and apply glue to the other end of the 16-inch pieces and slip the other 22-inch piece in place. Secure them with the two bar clamps and leave them overnight. Clean up excess glue with a damp cloth.

Tips and warnings

  • Measure the openings in the cabinet face frames to determine the overall size of the panel doors. Add 1 inch to the width and height and use the instructions above to create each door.
  • The rails (horizontal) pieces of a panel door always go between the ends.
  • Always wear safety glasses.
  • Do not freehand the cuts with the router, always use a router table.
  • Do not leave power tools unattended in the presence of children.

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