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Build cabinets with solid wood panels. What is the minimum thickness I should use? I've seen bits that cut a 3/8" groove and considering this for shaker doors and drawer fronts.
I would go 3/4" on solid wood panels, definitely if a profile. For flat panels a rabbet on the backside. I've never tried milling a flat panel down to 3/8". Not sure how that would work out. For flat panels, either a rabbet on the back or I like to use a panel raising bit with a back cutter that matches the set. Flush the profile part of bit on the front side, back cutter removes just the right amount for a perfect fit.

Whatever it takes on drawer fronts to be able to flush the back with the frame (usually 3/8") then no padding is needed. I send the drawer front through the drum sander until the back is flush with the frame.
 

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You can make the panes as thin as you like however the thinner you make the panes the more likely you might experience glue joint failures years down the road. If you make them 1/4" thick or smaller be sure the panels rattle a little in the frames even after you put the finish on. You could use space balls to prevent actual rattle. What happens most of the time when you have a glue joint failure on door panels is when you either accidentally glue them in the frame or the finish gets between the frame and the panel and glues it in. This prevents the panel from shrinking which puts stress on the glue joint.
 

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be sure the panels rattle a little in the frames even after you put the finish on. You could use space balls to prevent actual rattle.
Make them thick enough to prefinish and slide in snugly - not loose unless you want rattling panels! Finish edges - glue less likely to stick. Keep glue a way from the inner aspect of the cope joint!

Contrary to what most people think space balls do NOT prevent rattle, they only are for keeping a panel centered. How do I know this? I've have many, many panels rattle that have either space balls or panel line strips!

If you do get a little rattle, come clear silicone caulk can help with that. The key is dialing in the fit so you have room for a few mils of finish.

Thin panels do split a lot easier. Another thing that can happen is finish bridging in the groove and sticking the panel to the frame. More likely when brushing.
 

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Starting with 4/4 stock, rough sawn, I shoot for a resawn panel at 3/8" finish thickness. For sufficient relief in a raised panel, I generally use a 3/16" grooving cutter with these.
In walnut with a Chinese style radiused corner panel raise. The lower panels are book matched. The top panel is cartwheeled which I find preferable with the grain horizontal.
Cabinetry Wood Rectangle Shelf Wood stain


In birch with a concave radiused panel raise as a counterpoint to beaded edges.
Furniture Cabinetry Shelf Rectangle Wood
 

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It’s a problem if you’re doing MDF or ply panels. Adjustable but sets are available. I know CMT makes several 3 wing slotting buts in mm‘s you can replace the stock one.
I am doing some shaker doors now with mdf panels. All I could initially find is 6mm MDF. Too thin for my 1/4" slot cutter but too thick for the one I use for cabinet ply (could have relieved the back of the mdf). Finally found a guy who could get be true 1/4" mdf. Freaking $50 a sheet! I used to use 3/8" mdf and use a relief cutter on the back, but I can not get that any more. Wurth Group and Atlantic Plywood has it, but I do not have a Fed. Tax ID anymore so I can not buy from them.
 

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I am doing some shaker doors now with mdf panels. All I could initially find is 6mm MDF. Too thin for my 1/4" slot cutter but too thick for the one I use for cabinet ply (could have relieved the back of the mdf). Finally found a guy who could get be true 1/4" mdf. Freaking $50 a sheet! I used to use 3/8" mdf and use a relief cutter on the back, but I can not get that any more. Wurth Group and Atlantic Plywood has it, but I do not have a Fed. Tax ID anymore so I can not buy from them.
It’s been an issue for me, too. Seems like it would be an industry standard, no?

Why persist with 1/4” cutters all it matches is the raised panel bit. Seems like 6.25 mm would be a good marketing decision. Probably too much cost for retooling.

I know Freud and CMT make adjustable but sets. I don’t know how fiddly they are but If I were doing a lot I would definitely try them. I have 5.5, 6 and 6.5mm slot bits for my CMT set, but I haven’t used them.

I’ve also 3/8 but the doors can get a little heavy. Wonder why you can’t get it?
 

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Oak, birch or whatever, 1/4" ply isn't 1/4" thick, is it?? At least I've never found any.
MDF core. Shops dealt with the problem in the 90's. It's an old problem.

When MDF started to be used on paint grade cabinets, painters had a problem painting it it.. took awhile and a few concoctions to finally figure it out..

I remember a lot of painters started spraying MDF with lacquer and then painting, because of its characteristic of absorbs ion..

A lot of shops like some I worked at didn't use the undersized plywood and just went to MDF core products.
 

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If I remember Alco Cabinets came across this problem and started pinning the doors forward. I'm sure by today's standards a lot of the products have been standardized. I know Regency cabinets runs 9 different shapers , but most only have 4 and won't make rapid adjustments between sets.,
 
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