Panels

For a recent job, I had to duplicate a couple of small cabinet doors. The style is no longer available to purchase. The stiles and rails were going to be easy to reproduce. It was the center panel I was concerned about.

‘I cut the sample door apart and removed the panel. I didn’t have a router bit that produced the shape of the panel. It was a large reverse ogee shape. The easy thing to do would be going out and buying a router bit. But at the the cost of over a $100 for something thing I’m only going to make two of, didn’t seem like a good investment.

I started thinking, that a few hundred years ago woodworkers made stunning pieces of furniture without the aid of power tools. They could do intricate carvings, gooseneck moldings,flame tipped finials, and, of course, raised panels. I now traveled back in time to put myself in the shoes of the 17th century woodworker.

I had my ¾” thick arch top panel already cut out, now it was time to create the reverse ogee shape. 1 ½” was the length of the ogee. I used a combination square to draw 1 ½” line all the way around the panel. I also marked ¼” in the side of the panel because this will ultimately be the final thickness i’ll need to get it into my stiles and rails. Starting on the edge grain, i used my rabbet plane and plowed out most of the waste.

I then used a ½” round plane and created the round bottom curve. The I switched to my shoulder plane and shaped the upper arched curve. Finish it off with a final sanding to remove my plane marks. Two hand planes, some time and practice, was all it took to reproduce this classic raised panel.

It felt really good to have my eye and hand do the shaping verses the router. Would i do it again? For one or two, yes. For more than that, well i’ll make a trip to my friendly Woodcraft store to buy the proper router bit. (photo 1- the bottom is the original panel)    ( photo 2- On the left  is the panel I reproduced)