I was recently asked to building a cabinet with raised panel doors and sides. I was wondering if anyone knows of any articles, links or personal advice regarding making raised panels with a table saw. Thanks in advance.
A router table makes quick work of cutting raised panels. But an alterative to buying expensive router bits to do this is to cut them on your table saw. Here are a couple of tips to make the job go easier, so you'll end up with smooth, clean bevels and square shoulders.
Table Saw Setup.Cutting the bevels on the long edges of a panel is no problem. But when you stand the pieces on end, it's a good idea to have the extra support.
With the auxiliary fence in place, tilt the saw blade (12°) and raise it to the desired height (Fig. 1). (Mine ended up 3/4".) Then using a test piece, you can sneak up on the position of the fence until the shoulder profile is created (Fig. 1a).
Now that the fence is set, you can begin cutting the bevels. I like to cut across the short, end grain edges first. This way, if there’s any chipout near the tail end of the bevel, it will be removed when the bevel is cut on the longer face grain edges.
Sanding. Even a sharp saw blade will probably leave some swirl marks, so after the raised panels have been cut, the last step is to sand the bevels. But there’s one area that needs some extra attention. Since the blade was tilted, the shoulder will be slightly undercut. To square this up, I made a sanding block that has a bevel cut on one edge (Figs. 2 and 2a).
Straight cut bevels can be cut on the table saw by just setting the blade on a slight bevel. It's wise to create a tall support for the fence and use feather boards to keep the stock against the fence.
An interesting alternative to using solid wood for a panel which has movement issues, plywood that has been edged with solid wood can be used. Once the edges have been glued on, it can be treated just like a solid wood panel. The edges should be slightly wider than the width of the bevel. This can create an interesting looking panel, and the tops and bottom of the panels will have long grain not end grain.
Set up feather boards to hold the panel tight to the fench during cutting helps with the saw marks and a fence hieght extintion helps. Also this is the only time I ever use a noncarbide blade, I use a $20-$30 hollow ground steel blade. Real helps keep the blade mark down too. You can also set the fence a hair out, just a ever so slight hair, and get most of the cut marks on the scrap and not you finish peice.
I've done coved panels on the table saw. I used my older craftsman tablesaw, and I screwed a wooden fence diagonally across the table, right into the aluminum table. It was great fun, and fast to make coves. The only drawbacks I found were:
(1) rough finish, obviously. Need to sand, and thus you ruin any chance of a crisp edge at the top of the cove.
(2) Not easy to get the cove lines to match up perfectly square. It depends on the blade staying at the same exact height, and the piece being completely flat and held tight to the tabletop while cutting.
(3) need to do several passes, but that's true with any shaper too on a big cove cut.
I'm not a cabinetmaker per se, but I'd say this technique is fun and easy for utility-grade frame and panel doors, which is what I was doing. Not for the finest work, obviously.
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