With the cabinets finished and built, it was time to turn our attention towards the door panels. Each box had to raised panel doors on the bottom and to fabric paneled doors above.
Things were pretty straight forward. I needed 16 stiles (vertical pieces) at two different lengths and 16 rails (horizontal pieces) all the same length.
Here are all 32 pieces milled to 3″ wide and 3/4″ thick.
After milling them it was time to send them through the shaper. Initially I was going to show you a picture of all the parts milled and awaiting the glue-up process, but it was a super boring picture, so instead I will show you a picture of the profile and the shaper bit that was used. It is a three part bit, consisting of the “classical-style” cutter head, a bearing, and a straight cutter head.
Step 1: Install the bit into the shaper the same way it is seen in the picture. Run a test piece of wood through the shaper. Adjust the height until satisfied. Using a miter gauge, manually run one end of a rail through, remembering to place a sacrificial piece of wood behind the rail to prevent blowout. Repeat until each end has been profiled.
step 2: Remove the cutter head, set the bearing aside, flip over both the other cutter heads, sandwich the two together, leaving the profile cutter on the top, and re-install into the shaper. Manually run a test piece through and check the fit with the end of one of the rails. Once a snug fit is achieved, adjust the power feed rollers on the shaper, turn everything on, and send all 32 parts through.
After the stiles and rails are done, the panels are front and center. I already had four panels, each measuring roughly 2″ larger than necessary, milled, glued, and sanded smooth. It was time, now that the stiles and rails were profiled, to cut them to the correct width and height and profile them on the shaper as well.
P.S. The power feed that I mentioned previously is seen in this picture. It has three rubber wheels that run material along the fence, which allows the user to keep a safe distance from the cutter heads, and focus solely on feeding and removing stock from the shaper.
Below is the profile and cutter head used for the panels.
Here is a shot of the fabric paneled doors after the staining step. Just like the mantle, each door was sanded, distressed, sealed with one coat of lacquer, sanded, stained with a glaze, and sealed again.
We did run into one issue with the door panels though. It was about 93 degrees in the finishing room when we were wiping on the glaze, which meant that everything was drying in about half the time as normal. It was miserable trying to wipe off mostly dried glaze! We ended up thinning out the glaze with some mineral spirits, making it more like a traditional stain, in order to be able to stain and wipe the entire panel at once, without the glaze drying prematurely.
The result, after the last coat of lacquer, is what you see below. Absolutely beautiful Alder panels!