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I am making about 30 doors for my custom shop cabinets... The last time I made any doors 2 of them split where the rail meets the stile... It was not glue... I did not allow enough room for the panel to expand... I live in Missouri so we have hot humid summer and dry cold winter.... How much should I allow for movement.... Obviously 1/16 is not enough... Do u guys use the space balls?... Or the rope? Thanks
 

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I've made over 50 doors so far using just a router bit set, no dowels or tenons, and leaving 1/8" space for the panel on each side and no less than 1/16" top and bottom. The first doors were made about 20 years ago. None have split so far.

To keep the panels from rattling, I use Sommerfeld's panel-align strips.

If you're worried about splitting again, you could first drill for dowels before you rout the rails & stiles.
 

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I've never left more than an ⅛" - 3/16" overall, depending on the width of the panel. Depending on the species and the width, you may want to make the panel segments narrower in the glue up.

If you want spaceballs, you could just take a GE Silicone II caulk gun and dispense little dabs of silicone. When they cure, they are very resilient.

There is an alternative to using solid wood for panels, and still have ¾".
http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/easy-door-panel-alternatives-4211/





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I allow 1/8" on the width of door panels and 1/16" on the height just for squaring purposes. I make the panels fit fairly snug and have never used space balls. I could see if the panels rattled it would be very helpful to use them. Unless they are very loose usually the finish will glue them in a bit.
 

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I invested in a Freud set of panel bits which come with a mathematical formula in measuring the panels. I believe the final result is 3/16 but I'm not in my shop now. I use space balls, but I slice them in half. Whole space balls are too tight of a fit. Works for me so that's my preference...
 
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