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I just finished building my first base cabinet. I'm learning as I go so it's been fun. I'm ready to add the face frames now and then on to the doors. I built the cabinet carcass out of 3/4 inch plywood from Home Depot and it turned out good. The cabinets will be painted black. I'm at a total loss for wood to use for the face frames and doors. I looked at red oak and poplar at lowes tonight but didn't know what to do. How wide are normal rails and stiles for face frames? Do you buy wider pieces than you need like a 1x8 and rip to size or do you buy the width you need?
Then as far as doors go, does the wood need to be the same for the face frame and the doors? I plan on doing raised panel doors. What kind of wood do you use for the panel part of the doors? I didn't see anything at lowes that would be wide enough other than plywood and pine or aspen panels. How does that normally work? I have a table saw but no jointer or planer. I need some serious help. I'm sure there are places where i live to buy wood other than lowes or Home Depot but that's all I know of.
 

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I your painting I'd use poplar or soft maple. I make the face frames 1.5 inches, you have a few options for the panel, if painting, you could use MDF if you want to save some money, I've glued up solid panels for mine, if you can't find a place with a wide belt sander to smooth it out after glue up, a router sled could work, or just a small sander and a lot of work....
 

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If you're going to be buying your lumber from the BORGs (blue/orange retail giant), you're pretty much limited in your selection. Poplar should serve you fine and since there's no absolute rule on face frames, you may find the stock 1 X 2 works just great. And depending upon the door style you select, it may also work just fine for the stiles, and possibly rails as well, especially if you go with flat panel doors.

In order to get poplar to paint as well as maple, you should sand to 320. Poplar has a tendency to fuzz. But the main thing is, you're having fun!
 

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As far as where to by wood, if youre in charleston, southern lumber has a good selection and usually not more expensive than lowes. They sell rough maple if you want that route but also rough and finished poplar. Burlin g meyers in summerville is a nice place to go. Both are friendly. If you're in the charleston area and need a planer shoot me a message and you can use mine. Itd have to be better weather though since my "shop" is the yard.

I did my kitchen with 1.5" face frames with 2" stiles and railes. Face frame and doors were poplar with 1/4" birch panel insert. I spent many hours racking my brain over what size to make everything and trying to visualize in sketchup and looking online. I think its not as big a deal as it seems. Its one of those thing that I waste a lot of time thinking about but no one else pays attention to. I just went with 1.5" face frames cause that's about the width of two cabinet walls.

Edit: as far as what to get I think I found it cheaper to get 1x6s and rip them to width. Assuming you make a width that'll get you 3 pieces out of it. Instea d of buying 3 1x2s
 

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Oak would not be a good wood to paint. You would see the grain texture through the paint. Poplar would be fine for the doors and faceframes. I make faceframe stock 2" wide. Since you don't have a jointer or planer I would rip the wood with as sharp a blade as you have about 1/16" wider than you need and belt sand the edges to get the saw marks off. I use the same wood for the panels. I glue up wide panels to cut multiple door panels out of. If the wood you are getting is run S4S the edge may be straight and square enough to glue. If not, true up the edges with your table saw.
 

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So how are you guys gluing up the panels?
If you are going to use pieces to make a panel, they would just be edge glued and clamped, using cauls to keep them flat. Or, you could just make the panel out oif MDF. Or, if you make the panel out of plywood, you can edge glue solid wood to it and machine your profile to that edge.

There are advantages to using plywood for a raised panel. First, it doesn't expand and contract. Second, using a wood edging puts long grain on the top and bottom of the panel. Much better to finish.

If you are painting, it doesn't matter what you use for the face frames or R&S's, but I would use either Poplar, Birch, or Maple. The stock of lumber at the box stores is usually better and less expensive the wider and longer it is. IOW, buying a 1x2 will cost you more (for that size) than buying a 1x12, and ripping what you need.






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So how are you guys gluing up the panels?
I use pipe clamps to glue up the wood for panels. I lay two underneath the panel and one in the center over the top. When you clamp the wood up just snug it up at first. The boards will be uneven with each other. I normally use a block of scrap wood to protect the wood and use a 8 lb sledge hammer to knock the boards level with each other. Then when they are all aligned finish tightening the clamps. Just don't use excessive pressure. It squeezes too much of the glue out. If the wood is true and square there is no need for cauls.
 

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Is this a kitchen cabinet or garage cabinet? Painting it black leads me to think garage. If so I would use pine.

George
 

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I don't like pine for painting as it often shows the grain through.
I don't like pine for paint grade but for different reasons. I don't have problems with the grain showing through because I use a heavy solid primer. What I don't like is the knots often ooze sap. Even if you seal the knots with shellac sometimes it comes through.
 
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