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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I I'm looking for a good quality router table or shaper to make raised panel doors the smaller the better since i already have many tools in my van I'm a interior carpenter I basicly do mostly trim but I'M starting to expand and I'm doing built-ins with doors that are plain with a deco molding on but I will like to give the customer the option of raised panel doors any advice will be greatly appreciated.
 

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i was in the same boat as you about 4 years ago.i went to a wood working show and bought a 3 piece CMT raised panel bit set.It had bits for your rails,stiles and panels.When i make a door if it be paint or stain grade,i use my pocket hole system jig (Kreg tools). i miter the corners and pocket hole one on each corner,then pin nail corners.The bit that routers out the rails dado's a groove for you to insert a raised panel.then dont forget to use your space balls when installing your panels.When the doors are paint grade use 3/4 mdf.It is really dusty but cuts the cost alot.Sorry if it is confusing the way i explain .Also kreg tools sells plugs for the pocket hole.It comes in maple ,oak ,pine,cherry,birch and more.
 

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Building Doors

is a skill that requires the proper tooling and none of the proper tools for doors include tools that miter corners or drill pocket hole screws. Obviously, my opinion only but I dare say you would be hard put to sell doors with mitered corners to anyone who knew what they were looking at. Matched rail and stile tooling for your router is the absolute best way to construct a door with regard to appearance and strength of the joint. Mitered corners are only bringing short grain to short grain so the glue joint is very weak at its best and the pocket screws are entering the wood at an angle that reduces their grip as well. Clearly a compromise on all fronts. If you are unable to dedicate the proper tooling and time to making doors, hows about buying them ready made. They are not all that expensive when you purchase them from a specialist. You might take a look at www.sierracabinetdoor.com for an idea on prices and styles.
But....if you want to make your own, do it right and don't embarriss yourself.

Ed
 

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All manufacturers offer matched rail and stile bits with a variety of profiles, and raised panel cutters, also with various profiles. The ogee profiles will probably get you through almost all your projects. It is worth a few extra dollars with these big cutters to buy a quality brand instead of a bargain catalogue offerrings. I personally like the Bosch bits for any large profiles, even big edge roundovers, as I think they cut extremely smooth. I do not waste my time with bench top router tables, the cheap aluminum ones mostly will not handle panel raising bits , and the ones that brag about their "thick" mdf tops will develop a sag in the middle, just pay attention to the ones on display in outlets and you will see that most of them have sagged and don't even have a router mounted in them. A sheet of 3/4" birch ply allows me to build dedicated setups for each operation. Cut the tops large enough to easily support the size of the pieces you are working with, and add some plywood rips underneath for stiffeners, making the end ones tall enough to act as legs. Use a hole saw to cut out for the bit and mount the router. I remove the plastic sub bases and just use a couple of panhead screws through the metal base for this. I do drill extra holes in the base, so as not to chance messing up the threaded ones for the sub base. A simple fence held in position with a couple of screws will suffice, you can make the vertical legs tall enough to clamp a couple of featherboards to if you want, it not then just a flat straight piece is needed. I can build three of these in an hour or less. One gets a big 3 hp Porter Cable for the panel raising, and each of the others get a Porter CAble 690 for the profiling bits. They remain set up for the duration of the job. If I am going diretly to another job requireing them, they will follow me, if not they end up in the trash pile. If you are beginning to do work frequently that requires multiple profiles, you will find that the best investment you can make is in a couple of extra routers.

If you really want to have a portable factory router table, I think the best one is the Rebel brand. It has a cast iron top, with aluminum legs, and a spot to accept a front mounted on/off switch.

I'm with EDP on mitered corners on cabinet doors. They scream "saturday morning home project" to me.
 

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mitered corners

i miter corners alot because i dont have the time to glue clamp and pin.most of the time i am on the jobsite making them.If i had the time i would use all my bis but i dont .also i would need to carry orund 3 routers and tables cause i wont want to keep changing bit cause my ogees will probably not match 100 percent.
im a on the go trimmer i have no work shop.
 

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Hi All

I am also thinking of starting to build some raised panel doors. I have three 1/4 inch routers, but most of the raised panel bit sets I see advertised are 1/2 inch shank. So, I guess the first thing I need to do is buy myself a decent 1/2 inch router. Do the rail and stile bits come in 1/4 shank?

My second question is about drop in router plates. If I build a decent sized table would it be a good move to design it to take the drop in plates? I think that would enable me to alternate bits/routers, without disturbing the setups of each router. Is there a downside to the drop in router plates, or all good?

THanks

Gerry
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the replies troubleseeker I like your idea I actually decided to make a table and use my 3 1/4 HP Hitachi with variable speed to make the raised panels and I'll probably get the PC 690 for the stiles as far as the bits go, what should I look for carbide? any specific grades? is this set ok? http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=2775 also what speed do you reccommend to do the raised panels and stiles?
Thanks again for your advice.
 

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Gerry,

I have never used a 1/4" shank raised panel bit, but they do have them. If you don't need an ogee shape you can make an angular raised panel on the table saw. That being said, the majority of my customers choose some variation of an ogee or radial shape.

I tell you the big ogee bits are real hogs. Most of the manufacturers suggest running them at a lower speed, of course your personal preference trumps this, but nonetheless a variable speed router would be advantageous. I originally had a 2.25 hp router in my table, but found it a little light for panel bits....a 3 + hp router has served me much better.

As far as the drop in insert, I certainly think its beneficial. I prefer a router lift. This is the one I have. A lift makes life alot easier. I like the quick lifts in particular because not only do you have the fine height adjustment, but you also have the instant quick lift feature for changing bits easily. But even if you dont get a lift, the drop in plate is nice because you can reach under the table, and "pop" the router and plate up, and make your adjustment comfortably on the table.
 

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Rails, stiles and raised panels

require a lot of coordination to get the joints and relationships just so. If you can afford the expense, 2 routers and a shaper are the way to go. I use a router table similar to the "NORM" model and it accepts drop in plates. I have my rail cutter mounted in 1 router and the stile cutter in a second router. They have been adjusted to perfectly match each other and are not changed ever. The only adjustment required to use either of these tools is a simple alignment of the fence to the guide bearing. I then use a shaper for the panel raising tool that includes a back cutter. The height on the tool is adjusted so that the raised portion on the panel is flush with the face of the rails and stiles. Because you are removing so much material with this tool, I perform this operation in 4 steps. I have the stationary part of the shaper fence positioned so that it makes the final cut, I then have 3 spacers that are stacked between the stationary fence mount and the fence rail. I make a pass on all 4 sides of the panels and then remove a set of spacers. I repeat the process until the last pass is performed without spacers. Making quality doors is now a no brainer. One thing to remember is to always do the cross grain cuts on all your parts before you do the rip cuts. All the tools I use for doors are Roman Ogee. I have a second shaper setup to cut a matching ogee on the perimeter edges of the doors and drawer faces when the have been sanded. A great finishing touch, it reduces the percieved weight of the door by reducing the thickness around the edges.

Ed
 

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Good system, however if you do need to change the style and rail bits in the same machine its not really a problem. Router yourself a template in wood or plastic. When you set up just adjust the bit until it slides into the template and you know your set. I run my rail ends first, then my stile bit for the insides of the rails and stiles. I then ogee the outsides of all as edp. I then run my panels through and assemble. I made a square jig on the corner of one of the assembly tables, which i use to assemble the doors. Spaceball, glue and clamp and their done.

Just make sure when you clamp that they are clamped dead flat.
 

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Thank you for the input gentlemen.

I have seen the router lifts mentioned in the threads with regard to routers, but I am unfamiliar with this piece of equipment. Can you please enlighten me?
As time goes by I will quite likely add a shaper to my equipment, as I can readily see that this would be handy for doing any amount of raised panel doors, due to the amount of material being removed, not to mention the many other applications that a shaper can be used for. Excellent plan edp to use spacers to slowly knock down the material on the raised panels. I think , if I acquire a fairly decent 1/2 inch router for the raised panels, and use my 1/4 inch routers for the rails and stiles, this should work out well.

Once again, thank you for the information.

Gerry
 

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Consider a vertical panel raiser.

Most of the panel raising bits you see are the horizontal type. You cut with the panel laying flat on the router table. Most are quite large in diameter and in my view pretty scary. The vertical type requires you to pass the panel across the bit vertically, but with a tall fence it's easy. With this type you're not spinning so much metal around at high speed. Also, they usually cut a wider profile on the panel. They're cheaper too.
 

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about raised panel doors

I would not use mitered connors on doors they are weak and problem come apart after a few years of use. To let you know miterd connors are ment for connors on molding for appearance and not stregth. putting mitered conners on panel doors say handyman special an he or she probley dose not know much about making doors. I recommend useing style and rail cutters. As for 1/4 shank bits i have a set from mlsc they work ok but i think the 1/2 shank would be better an they are a little bigger. The problem with 1/4 shank panel cutters an style an rail cutters is the cutter is small and the 1/4 shank is not strong enoff to support the bit and you have to run them on a slower router becouse of the amount of metal it takes to make the bit can couse the bit to shake a little when spinning to fast an leave a slight wave or uneveness on the panel it self. what ever you decide to do i wish you luck.
 

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Mitered Doors and Router Lifts

I am not sure who all said this, but mitered door are becoming very popular. Most big cabinet companies are offering mitered doors. While it may have been as Saturday morning job in the past, it is now mainstream. I use a biscuit in each of the corners and glue them together.

As for a router lift, That is the only way to go if your are going to make stile and rail doors. It makes life so much easier to be able to finely adjust the bit with out taking everything apart.

Go to your local woodworking store and pick their brains about router lifts. They are generally more than happy to tell you everything they know.
 

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Hello jim world. I have seen cabinet doors with mitered connors in the big lumber yards but i do not like to use that type of joint. I perfer to use style and rail instead. To my understanding the big cabinet shop tryed this 20 or 25 years ago and at frist they were ok but after a few years the doors started to come a part from use. The same thing will probley happen again. I do not mean to insalt anyone but anyone who uses a miterd joint on panel doors says handman speacil an is not shore of what they are doing.
 
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