October 6 and December 1, 2018 Meetings Recap

Both meetings were held at Bob LaCivita’s workshop in Rollinsford. The October WFG meeting began with a demonstration on how to make the mortise and tenon door frame with grooved rails and styles.  Bob explained that when using honched tenons, they would be honched on the outside edge.  An alternative frame style, the cope and stick (Figure 1), using paired router (or shaper) bit sets, was also discussed and demonstrated in this session.  Bob explains and cautions us when using the cope and stick method, to feed the rails and styles through the router bit very slowly, and to cut the copes into the rails first.  Flat panels and bolection (Figure 2) panels were also discussed during this session.

Figure 1.  Cope and Stick frame.

Figure 2.  Bolection molding incorporated into flat panel frame.

We then reviewed proper allowances for wood movement of the panel within the door frame grooves; 1/8” per foot for across grain and 1/64” per foot lengthwise.  The panel rests in grooves that are cut to 3/8” depth in the door frame.  Before glue up of the door frame joinery, Bob recommended we do one or two passes of a hand plane to clean up saw marks from the inside edges of rails and styles.  One additional step recommended prior to glue up of the door frame, the panel should be finished. 

Final assembly requires precise application of glue to the frame joinery, carefully keeping glue off the panel.  Similarly, final finishing of the door frame requires careful application of the finish to portions of frame that are adjacent to the panel within the door frame.  By following these steps, the panel should fit snugly within the frame, but be free to expand and contract within grooves of he frame.

The December WFG meeting was a continuation of our discussion and demonstration related to making paneled cabinet doors. Today’s focus was on a few different methods on how to make a raised panel for the door frames we made during demonstrations at the previous meeting.

Bob began by making a raised panel, using the shaper.  The shaper cuts panels with consistency difficult to achieve using other alternatives. After setting up the shaper, an end-grain edge of a panel blank was fed through the shaper to make the first cut of the profile.  Rotating the panel 90 degrees, the first long-grain edge is fed into the shaper, leading with the previously shaped edge.  Bob notes that any end-grain tear out from the first cut disappears with the second cut. The final two edges were similarly fed through the shaper to complete the profile of the raised panel (Figure 3).  The panel was successfully dry fit into a mortise and tenon door frame made during the October WFG meeting.

Figure 3.  Raised panel made on the shaper.

Acknowledging that most of us probably do not have shaper tables in our shops, Bob shared a few alternatives for us to make a raised panel.  A router table, a table saw, or hand tools could be used to make a raised panel.  He cautioned us about the inherent risks of using a router table to make raised panels.  Safely controlling a panel while its edge is being fed into and through the large exposed router cutter is a dangerous challenge for even the most experienced woodworker/operator.   

Next, Bob shows us how to shape the raised panel profile using the table saw.  First, using his marking gauge, he measures critical points from the raised panel he just made on the shaper and marks the layout for the next raised panel.  The first table saw cuts are set at 3/32” depth to define the perimeter of the raised portion of the panel.  For expediency, Bob completes two of the four bevel cuts, one cut along an end-grain edge and one along a long-grain edge, using the table saw with the saw blade adjusted to cut up to the 3/32” cuts (Figure 4). 

Figure 4.  Raised panel with two of four bevel edge cuts done on the table saw.

For the final two edges, he demonstrates how to complete the raised panel profile shaping with hand tools.  Bob uses a paring chisel to hog off much of the waste wood before switching to a rabbit plane and his #4 bench plane to clean up any remaining waste to the layout lines (Figure 5).  The second panel is dry fit, and then glued into a door frame. 

Figure 5.  Raised panel bevel being shaped using rabbit plane.

To close out the meeting Bob gave us a brief introduction into the first topic of our next meeting, hinges and door hardware.  Following the discussion related to door hardware, the WFG meeting will begin a new series of discussion and demonstrations on joinery techniques.  The next meeting is on February 2, 2019.  We welcome newcomers, regulars and guests.

Bob Wyatt
Subgroup Coordinator
Woodworking Fundamentals Group

Woodworking Fundamentals Group