Fig. 24 - Plane and Square the frame_resizeCreating a Simple Panel Door with Basic hand Tools

This article first appeared in The GMC Group’s Publication Woodwork Craft Issue 5 2015


Right now the humidity outside my air-conditioned workshop is around 85% and climbing and all of the wood in my workshop is swelling. It’s a fact: wood expands and contracts and when making furniture you have to account for these fluctuations.

Cabinet carcasses are generally constructed so expansion happens front to back, thus minimizing the effect. A door made from long grain members is relatively static, while a paneled door is very much dynamic, expanding and contracting across its width with the seasons. So the problem is to fit a dynamic panel into a fixed space, which seems like an exercise in futility.

Enter the panel door which allows the frame to remain static while at the same time allowing the panel to expand and contract within a groove.

In Issue 1 pg. 68-71 I showed you how to cut mortise and tenon joints. For this project the mortise and tenons are laid out essentially the same way, but I am going to introduce a few new techniques.

The rails and stiles of this door will have a groove to accept a panel allowing for seasonal change. The mortises are going to be through mortises to add visual interest.

Read the full article here…

This article first appeared in The GMC Group publication Woodwork Craft Issue 5 2015