The Dale C. Maley Family Web Site

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Cabinet Door Router Bit Set and Use

I have been a hobby woodworker for more than 40 years.  I never thought I could afford the router bit set required to make cabinet doors.  On the few projects that I had to make doors, I routed a 1/4" wide groove in the rail and styles, and then inserted oak covered 1/4" thick plywood.   To connect the rails to the styles, I routed a 1/4" wide groove, and used a piece of 1/4" thick oak in the corner joints like this............on a guitar storage oak case I built for the Fairbury Baptist Church youth center.............

Buying the router bit set

I went back and bought this set back in July of 2019........boy..........almost a year ago !!

There are many different styles of router bits..........I apparently chose the Shaker style for the set I bought.

What I actually bought

I have never taken the bits out of the box yet, but today is the day :)

Here is what I actually received when I bought the router set......

I made an illustration of what bit is supposed to be used for.   I may even print it out and put it in the lid of the box :)

MLCS software

I did not buy this software.  I'm guessing it might be handy if you are doing multiple kitchen cabinets.   I will see how hard it is to use the bits first, before I buy it.

Process Development Door

I measured the rails and styles on my basement kitchen cabinets, they are 2 inches wide.

So, I will cut down some cheap pine 1x4's, rip to 2 inches wide, with no knots, and go for an 8x12 size door.

Mistake #1

When I set up the grooving tool, I had the white plastic height setter upside down, so I cut no tapered edge !!

I ripped that cut off and started over with the right height.

The rails and styles need to be face down on the router table, not face up. 

Correct height of bit

Mistake #2

When I went to use the 2nd bit and make the male tenon, I got blow-out at the end of the cut, splintering the wood. I need to use a sacrificial piece at the end to eliminate the blow-out.

Raised Panel Bit

I probably bought my small router table back in 1982 for  a whopping $25!   I put it on a metal stand from Harbor Freight many years ago, and it works fine.

The downside of this old router table is the hole for the bit is relatively small, I will have to measure, but it is less than 2 inches in diameter.

Whenever I have a bit with an OD bigger than the hole in the table, I have to build a custom wood fence.  I checked my stock of wood fences, and none of them suited me for the raised panel bit.  The raised panel bit is 2.5" diameter.

I built a new custom wood fence for the router table.  

I also learned the first time I used a big bit on a project, you want the router speed dialed down to the slowest speed. I forgot to do this on the first big bit I used..........and my router sounded like a 747 jet engine winding up !!    I pulled the router from the table, found out where slow speed is, and marked that direction on the wood below the router, so I know which way is slow and fast.

I did a test piece of pine wood with the new fence. There is no height plastic block for this one.   I kind of centered the bit on the wood, but the top radius needs to stick up higher than the wood.   I took about 4 passes, and it came out fine.

My Router Table set-up

Red letter router speed arrow to adjust router speed

The slowest router speed worked ok for this big bit.

New Fence for raised panel bits

Raised Panel bit and 1st test piece of pine

1st test piece of raised panel fits in stile ok

Need a "Cheat Sheet" to get the right side up on router table!

Turns out I don't need one, because when I double-checked, rails, stiles, and raised panel all have to be with finish side down for all routing operations.

Trying our board jointer bit

I did not realize I bought this bit when I purchased the set a year ago.

So, I decided to try it out.  The fence must be flush with the top cutter, otherwise the last 2 inches of the board will be cut deeper than the rest !!    Once I adjusted the fence flush with the top cutter, then it worked fine.   It is a little tricky figuring out which way the 2nd board went into the router table, but I used the white plastic guide to help figure it don't move anything when you go from routing the first board, to routing the second board.

I was amazed the top and bottom surfaces lined up perfectly on the glue joint !!   I may use when I glue up other boards into panels !!

1st pine door finished and painted red

since it was a test piece made from pine, I used the bottom piece that had the blow-out in the back, you can see it in the lower left hand corner.

Red Oak door

After I figured out the process with the pine door, I wanted to make 1 from red oak, since that is the most common material I use.   I used some scraps for the rails and stiles.  For the raised panel, I cut 2 pieces from a new piece of Menard's red oak.   I decided to use the new board jointer bit, and it worked great per my note above.  Everything went fine on the oak pieces and the door. I made the raised panel 1/8" less than the height and width full dimensions to allow for movement. I used a steel nail in the top and bottom of the panel to keep it from rattling.

The only issue I ran into, was after I glued up the frame, I noticed the top or bottom stile was not setting flat with the rest of the door.   When I make more of these doors, I will have to maybe clamp them down to a board to make sure all 4 pieces are flat.

I am going to use light oak stain on this door.

Red Oak door rough assembled

Finished Oak Door

Closing Comments on This Project

It was figuring out how to use all the bits, and then produce some good looking doors.  Once I figured out what I was doing on the 1st pine was  a piece of cake to make the oak door.  I may order another style of bit to give me another choice besides the Shaker design I bought.