Lee Valley Tools    Woodworking Newsletter
   Vol. 5, Issue 1
   September 2010
   Simple Raised Panels by Hand

Handmade raised panel
All you need to make a raised panel such as this one by hand are a cutting gauge, a moving fillister and a tool to clean up your work.

Making a raised panel for a frame-and-panel door with power tools typically involves a large router, a router table and an expensive 3-1/2" diameter bit. Or you can make raised panels on the table saw with a dedicated jig (for safety) and a good deal of sanding to remove the sawblade marks.

The third option that many woodworkers forget to consider is to make the raised panels by hand. If you have only a few panels to do, making them by hand is just as fast as setting up your machinery. And the results are crisp, ready to finish and have a nice handmade look about them.

While some hand-tool woodworkers will use dedicated panel-raising planes for this task, you can do the job with a cutting gauge, a moving fillister and a third tool to clean up your work — a sanding block, a block plane with a rabbeting blade or a shoulder plane.

Strike Your Gauge Lines
The first step is to mark out the lines on your panel that you will work to. You need to define the raised field in the center of the panel and you need to define how thick the finished bevelled edge should be. For these tasks, it's best to use a cutting gauge, which is a marking gauge with a knife instead of a pin.

How wide should your bevelled edge be? That depends on the size of your panel. A typical cabinet door will have a bevel that is 1-3/8" wide — 1" of the bevel shows and the remaining 3/8" is buried in the groove in the rails and stiles. Smaller panels will have narrower bevels, sometimes as fine as 1". Larger panels will have somewhat wider bevels.
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