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Gluing rather than inserting panels in kitchen cabinet?

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  • Gluing rather than inserting panels in kitchen cabinet?

    In the December 2005 issue of "Workbench" magazine there was an article containing plans and instructions for creating a craftsman-style kitchen. It's kind of interesting and I'm thinking of using elements of it in my own kitchen renovation. The entire article is available for free here:
    But I have a question:

    In creating panel doors, the authors suggest this process. Route a 1/4 groove in the center of rails and stiles. Insert a panel stop in the grooves. Then glue the panel to the stop. So, rather than insert the panel in the routed groove, and then running a moulding over the panel, you glue the panel in place by attaching it to the 1/4" of the stop that's out of the groove. Sure it entails some clever clamping, and the article suggests running tape around the panel to prevent excess glue.

    But has anybody ever done this? Does it hold up? Will the panel stay true through the years? I'd be interested in your thoughts and thank you in advance.

  • #2
    Re: Gluing rather than inserting panels in kitchen cabinet?

    I looked at the plan in the link you provided. It appears to me that the intent is to add some additional depth by offsetting the panel behind the center of the frame. The panel stops are set in the frame groves and the panel gets glued to the backside of the stops. The stop is not glued in the frame and this will let the panel and the stops adjust for expansion/contraction with varying humidity levels and temperatures (see the stop detail drawing on page 52).
    "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006


    Time, cost, or quality; pick any two but you can't have all three.


    • #3
      Re: Gluing rather than inserting panels in kitchen cabinet?

      The concept is intriguing but possibly a little more complex than the author makes it sound. Unless the plywood is exactly 1/4" there will be a little 1/32" gap on the back of the door which would annoy me. If I was to do this I would move the center grove 1/32" toward the back of the rails and stiles so that the back of the panel would be flush with the back of the rails and stiles. Even if everything on the back of the door did not line up exactly it would be so close that some light sanding would make the rails, stiles and panels appear flush.

      One of my woodworking books offers an idea of routing 1/8" grooves in the stiles, rails and panels. Then inserting 1/8" pieces into the rail and stiles. The panel is cut to a dimension so that when the 1/8" pieces from the rails and stiles are inserted into it there is a small gap between the rails, stiles and panel leaving a shadow line created around the entire inside perimiter of the door. I don't remember what was glued to what but if you are interested I will attempt to find the article. I am also not certain of the strength and would be somewhat reticent to use this design on kitchen cabinet doors.



      • #4
        Re: Gluing rather than inserting panels in kitchen cabinet?

        Thank you Tom. No need to find that article for me, but thanks. I like your idea about adjusting the groove to make the lanel flush. But I continue to be concerned about the strength of the panel/insert plan in the magazine article given the small glue area on the panel stops. I'll have to do a few tests.