I’m in the middle of building and installing our new kitchen and while I have 37 raised panel doors, drawers and end panels to make I thought I take a few minutes and show those interested how I’ve learned to assemble a door.
It may not seem like much but I’ve been able to assemble a raised panel door, square it and clamp it in just over 3 minutes. BIG DEAL right, the faster and more accurately you can assemble a door, the more time for squaring it up before the glue grabs. Here’s the sequence I’ve used to assemble literally hundreds of cabinet door and interior doors.
There are 22 doors here all have been dry fitted and they are now ready for the glue and clamps.
The tools I’ll use are a pair of panel lifts (sometimes referred to as panel jacks), glue, a dead blow hammer, damp rag, 3/8” glue brush, a piece of scrap to pour the glue on, pencil, tape measure and a pair of clamps.
The first operation is to knock the corner of the raised panel off as shown in the picture below. The idea behind this operation is to limit the “grab” that excess squeezed out glue has that makes its way into the corner of the stile and rail joint. (see in the following picture)
Excess glue squeezed out of the stile and rail joint that can “grab” the panel and eventually cause the panel to split. “Knocking of the corner” of the raised panel reduces the chances of this happening.
The next step is mark the tenon of the rail onto the stile; this is done to show where to apply glue to the stile without the possibility of getting glue anywhere near the panel. A quick pencil mark makes short work of this. This little pencil mark really does speed up the assembly process and assures you that you won’t get glue where it should be.
Once glue is applied to the stile and the rail it’s time to assemble the pieces, note that the rail is sitting proud of the stile. Sitting the rail proud of the stile will aid in slipping in the raised panel and make “setting the door square” with a dead blow hammer a breeze. Tapping a stile and rail together with a dead blow is a lot easier than having the rail slip down too far along the stile and trying to get it to go back where it should can be nerve wracking.
Once the door is clamped checking for square is just a matter of making diagonal measurements and adjustment can be easily made because you’ve only taken a few minutes to get to this stage.
One last thing, a very important thing, one must remember to align the panel with the corners of the door frame. Here I have drawn a pencil line on the corner of the panel to give you a better look at what I’m talking about. I don’t know how many doors I’ve seen that the builder hasn’t paid attention to this little detail but it means everything when looking at a finished door.
I hope this has benefited someone.
All the best