Hand Tools Archive

First Raised Panel

Paul M
Hi Folks,

I've picked up work again on a cabinet I started 2 years ago. I started it and got the main plywood boxes done and then let it sit while I worked on other pressing things. It's amazing how much you can forget in 2 years, so when you pick things up again, you forget what wood was supposed to go with what part.

I've got the boxes and face frame done, and all 6 drawers are assembled. So time to work on the one door that is needed for the design. I've saved aside a piece of 1/4" walnut plywood for the door front somewhere. Oh yeah. Now I remember it's that piece I cut up for the drawer bottoms. Dang.

So off to the lumber yard where I tried to wheel and deal to get a 1/4 sheet of 1/4" walnut ply. They wouldn't bite. They have a rack of 1/4 sheets, but there's no walnut 1/4" in the rack. I told them I would pay for 1/2 a sheet and let them have 3/4 of it, but they just laughed. At $52 per sheet, buying a full sheet for one door and then keeping the rest was not a desired goal.

So instead, I picked up a couple of nice walnut pieces from the shorts bin, and got out of there for $30. Now I get to experiment with making a raised panel with hand tools. Fun! The panel was glued up and squared, and then I worked out the raised panel method on the two end pieces before I picked up the camera. So this starts on the long edge where it joins up the two completed ends.

I hope these pictures embed properly...

First, my little Lee Valley plow plane creates a channel going 1/4" to 1/2" in from the edge, to 3/8" deep. I want a 1/2" flat on the edges of the board to fit into channels on the rails and stiles.

The completed channel to just above the depth of the flats already achieved on the two ends.

Then split out most of the remaining 1/4" edge with a chisel, and clean up with a trusty Stanley 93.

I finally get to use that Sheppard Tool 1.5" rabbet infill plane I made many years ago. I've never found a good use for this beast until now. But this is the perfect tool for making a 1.5" wide angled field of the raised panel. Clamp a piece of plywood to the workpiece as a fence to match the size of this large plane.

Before planing, run a knife along the edge a few times to limit tearout from accidentally hurting the raised field.

And then run the large rabbet plane for a few strokes flat along the panel to establish the field edge. Then angle the plane to connect up the spot 1/16" below the field down to the rabbet established on the edge. Here I'm about halfway down to the desired level, and have shown a minor miscalculation. The field may be set for the width of the plane when the plane is flat. But when it's angled, this face is larger than the width of the plane. I need to chisel off the small remaining amount of wood that remains above the angled portion.

A bit of sanding to remove any tool irregularities was needed. Adjustment of the mitered angle is pretty easy by addressing any slight lumps with the smaller 93 rabbet plane set for a very fine cut.

Here's a view of the completed corner with a splash of alcohol to bring out the color:

And a full view of the final panel. Now I just have to make the rest of the door.

Paul M.

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