How to Make a Flat Panel Door
on a Table Saw
flat panel doors can look intimidating to a beginner woodworker, this article
how easily they can be built with a table saw.
Cut the stile/rail to the desired width. A commonly used width for making the
stiles/rails is 1 3/4". Once you have
decided on the overall size of the door, cut the stile to the exact length of
the door. For cutting the rail, donít forget that you must add 1" to the
length because of the tenon. The tenon measures 1/4" in width and 1/2" in length
and will be inserted in the rail groove. In order to cut the length of
the rail properly and get the desired overall door width, you must subtract the width of
both stiles (3 1/2") then add 1" for the tenon joinery. Therefore,
for a stile/rail that measures 1 3/4" and a tenon joinery of 1/2", you would
have to remove 2 1/2" of the total width of the door to cut the rails.
Once you have obtained the desired dimensions, you make a 1/2" deep groove with the table saw in the
raising the table saw blade slightly. This groove will later accept the door
panel. For a good fit, you may need to cut the groove slightly deeper with
After you have made the groove in the
stile/rail, you may proceed to making the rail tenon. Using the table saw
guide, raise the table saw 1/4" to make the tenon. Use the groove of
the stile/rail as your measurement guide for adjusting the table saw blade
Test your door by fitting the
then proceed to the final stage, which consists of cutting the inside panel. Make
sure the panel is cut with approximately 1/16" clearance to permit for wood
movement. After testing that all pieces have a good fit, glue and clamp the pieces together. You
do not glue the panel inside the grooves. The panel must remain free to
allow for any wood movement. Refer to the illustrations below for more details.
Making the door joinery
Cut the stile and rail
groove into each piece. For table saws not equipped with a dado blade, multiple
passes will be required. To center the groove, measure 1/4" from the fence.
Cut the rail tenon
into each piece. For table saws not equipped with a dado blade, multiple passes
will be required. Do one side first and flip over to do the other side.
Test all joints for a
tight fit. Cut the inside panel slightly smaller to allow for wood movement.
Assemble the pieces together with glue and clamp them.
Flat Panel Doors (Maple)