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A Custom Bathroom Wall Cabinet with Raised Panel Doors

“It’s not that I had a message that was outstanding or unique or anything like that. I just expressed the feelings that a great number of people had … ‘Live the life that you want to live. Don’t be unhappy in your work.'” …James Krenov (1920-2009)

In this woodworking article we study the making of a custom bathroom wall cabinet of beautifully grained black walnut with raised panel doors. The cabinet measures 20″ x 24″ x 5″ and features brass cabinet hardware. Bridle joints are the choice of wood joinery for the frame and panel cabinet doors. The carcase of the cabinet is joined using a biscuit joiner, biscuits, yellow glue and butt joints. All the walnut stock has been dimensioned to 3/4″. The back panel is 3/8″ thick and has been let into rabbets on the inside back edges of the top, bottom, and sides. The panel is made of a 1/4″ MDF core with front and back veneers of 1/16″ bookmatched walnut. Veneer was ripped on the band saw, the edges were jointed on the jointer, and then matched together during a dry fit. Finally, the MDF and veneers were laminated using glue and a veneer press to create the panel.

Constructing the Door Frames:

1.) The dimensioned material for the rails and stiles is 3/4″ x 1-3/4″. A 1/4″ groove to house the raised panels was then created for each rail and stile on the table saw using a dado blade combination.

2.) The bridle joints were created on the table saw using a tenon jig along with a dado blade setup. The mortises of the stiles were initially cut and the the tenons of the rails were then sized to fit. Final fitting of the mortise was made using a shoulder plane. Make sure the fit is snug and is a good looking fit as this joint will be exposed revealing quality craftsmanship. (The Spline Miter Joint is also a great choice of decorative joinery as it is also a very stable and strong joint.)

Creating the Raised Panels:

1.) The walnut material for the raised panels was selected because it had a lighter wood tone than the rest of the cabinet thus creating a nice contrast. This particular wood was chosen because it has a wonderful grain pattern.

2.) The raised panels were cut on the table saw. First, the rectangles of each raised panel were scored to about 1/8″ using a dado blade. This procedure involves the panel laying flat on the table saw. The rip cut is performed with the fence in position and the cross cut is made with the aid of a miter gauge set to 90 degrees to the dado blade. Keep in mind that this operation needs to be performed four times because there are two panels and two sides to each panel. So, use the same tablesaw set up for each panel side.

2.) To create the angle for the raised panel we tilt the dado blade to 5 degrees and raise the dado blade to the height of the scored outline we created in the previous step. For the actual cutting of the 5 degree angles a shop made jig was used. The jig fits over the table saw fence, has a handle, and slides along the fence as the panel is secured in place with a toggle clamp.

3.) Any necessary clean up of the raised panels angles is performed with the shoulder plane.

Assembling the Raised Panel Doors:

1.) Dry fit the raised panels into the 1/4″ groove of the rails and stiles. Make sure the fit is snug as it need not be too tight or too loose. Bevel the raised panel edges with a block plane if need be.

2.) Next we dry fit the complete door assembly. When we are happy with the results of the door’s fit it’s time to prepare for the final assembly of our doors.

3.) For the gluing operation we will need a glue bottle, parallel clamps, F-clamps, cauls, glue brush, rags, etc. (Use F-clamps to create pressure on the bridle joints.)

4,) Apply yellow glue to the surfaces of the bridle joints. Remember…only apply a dab of glue to the center of each raised panel where it meets the rail. This will allow for seasonal wood movement of the panel.

Fitting the Raised Panel Doors:

Fit the doors into the opening of the carcase by obtaining the desired clearances at the top, bottom, and sides. (I left 3/32″ on both sides where the hinges are and left a 1/16′ margin at the top and bottom. Where the two doors meet in the middle I left a margin of 1/16″.) Also, it is important to back bevel the doors edges where they meet in the middle. This will allow the necessary clearance for the doors to open freely without hanging up on one another.

Mortising the Gains for the hinges on the carcase and on the doors:
Choose a method that works best for you. You can use a router with a template made for the hinge size or you can simply cut the gains using a mallet and a chisel. Yours truly laid out the location of the gains using a knife, combination square, and a butt gauge. Then it was time for the mallet, chisel, and some hand work.

Fit the shelves:
The shelves have a thickness of 5/16″. Shelf pins are set into the interior’s side walls at desired locations.

Hanging the Cabinet Doors:
Brass hinges were used in this instance. I like the look of brass against the walnut’s wood tones. Get a nice fit with the hinges.

Set the door knobs:
Choose your location and drill. When drilling make sure to use a backer board to avoid blowing out the backside of the stile. Decorative brass door knobs were the selected hardware choice.

Apply the Wood Finish:
1.) Remove all the hardware.
2.) Sand and scrape the walnut to a desired surface preparation. This cabinet was sanded to 400 grit sandpaper.
3.) Choose your favorite wood finish and apply. Numerous applications of Satin Arm-R-Seal urethane top coat were applied to the custom bathroom wall cabinet and raised panel doors.

Attaching the Cabinet to the Wall:
1.) There are two 1/4″ x 2″ x 18-1/2″ rails inside the cabinet. One interior rail is placed where the back panel and the cabinet top meet. The other interior rail is placed where the back panel and bottom meet. (Screws will be driven through these rails.)
2.) The desired height of the cabinet location was determined. Wall studs locations were also found. Screw holes were pre-drilled and countersunk in the interior back rails. Screws were then driven through the interior rails and the back panel and also into the wall studs to secure the leveled cabinet.

Learn more about Bridle Joints.

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

A Study of Creating Wood Inlay Bandings

How to Make Decorative Wood Inlay Bandings


“Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.”
Mark Twain…American Author and Humorist…(1835-1910)

Ornamental Wood Inlay Bandings #1

Ornamental Wood Inlay Banding #1

We will refer to the banding in the illustration as “Banding #1” for the convenience of identity.

For this example the dimensions for the inlay package are 4″ x 10″ x 3/8″. For this instance the length of the sliced wood inlay bandings would work well for a typical picture frame that houses a 5″ x 7″ picture. When creating wood inlay bandings we need to keep in mind that the longest length our project will require us to make the banding a bit long. By making the hardwood inlay banding longer it will allow us leeway for cutting and fitting the banding into place to our liking.

A few items of importance with this study of decorative wood inlay bandings:

1.) Notice the direction of the wood grain for this pattern. (The line and arrows indicate the grain direction.) There is no end grain that will be exposed in the finished product.

2.) See how the design is created by using contrasting wood colors. (Example…walnut and maple.)

3.) Notice the sandwich of woods. The thicker walnut on top and bottom has a 1/16″ veneer of maple in between. This smaller sandwich was produced from a longer sandwich and was cut on the band saw using the crosscut sled with a stop block. All the smaller sandwiches have a length of 1-1/4″.

4.) The intermediate blocks of solid maple were cut on the band saw utilizing the band saw crosscut sled and a stop block. These maple blocks measure 4″ x 3/8 x 3/4″. By using the bandsaw crosscut sled they can safely be cut from dimensioned material that has a length of 7″ or so.

5.) The banding is ripped on the band saw to a thickness of 3/32″.

The wood inlay bandings are ideal when applied to furniture, jewelry boxes, and picture frames to name a few woodworking projects.

Recommended Videos:

Ripping Thin Strips of Wood Inlay on the Band Saw

Recommended Reading:

Buffard Freres…The 1926 Wood Inlay Banding Catalog

The Band Saw Sleds:

1.) The Bandsaw Crosscut Sled
2.) The Dedicated Band Saw Miter Sled
3.) The Tilting Miter Sled for the Band Saw

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University


How to Make Picture Frames with Wood Inlay

Make Picture Frames with Wood Inlay


The Problem…
When you want to apply quality wood inlay to to make picture frames, where will you get it? What designs will you get? How much will you have to pay for it?


The Solution…
We use our woodworking skills. We also make picture frames with our own shop made wood inlay.  (We will make  picture frames too with shop made mouldings!)


Make Picture Frames that are Decorative


In this post we sharing how to make picture frames with wood inlay. As you seen in previous postings we have been busy creating bandings of shop made wood inlay. There are a variety of wood inlay designs now available for our use at this time. So now we are in the process of creating picture frame moulding that has a dado which will house the wood inlays. The picture frame moulding was created on the tablesaw and on the router table using a 3/4″ round over bit with a ball bearing guide.


The gallery of pictures reveal the set up to make mouldings for picture frames on the table saw and for the band saw. (The router table was set up with the fence and featherboards as well.)

Make Picture Frames with Shop Made Bandings


All the wood inlay bandings are cut to a uniform thickness of just a hair over 1/16″ as measured by a dial caliper. The set up that you see allows for control of this uniform thickness. The shop made bandsaw rip fence has been adjusted for band saw blade “drift” and the Rockler thin rip table saw jig with a roller bearing is set to the desired thickness for the wood inlay bandings. Note: The jig remains stationary for this operation and the rip fence is adjusted before each rip cut is made. Simply slide the material over against the bearing on the right and then slide the rip fence alongside the left side of the material to be ripped. This technique works wonderfully. 1.) Maximize the material as there is very, very little waste! 2.)All ripped bandings are of uniform thickness!


The pictures of the table saw operation reveal a sacrificial fence for the dado blade. Notice how the featherboards control how the material will be maintained during the cut. The is no upward or lateral movement. The only direction for the wood is forward. (This is also applies to the band saw ripping technique…just one direction of movement…forward!)


We can also see the variety of wood inlays in the dados of the picture frame moulding. It’s nice to have a variety of choices to make picture frames. (The mouldings are made from a tropical wood called Cumala.)


Recommended Videos…Cutting Thin Strips on the Band Saw

Making Wood Inlay on the Bandsaw

Check out exquisite wood inlay designsBuffard Freres…The 1926 Wood Inlay Banding Catalog


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University


Making Wood Inlay on the Bandsaw

When a woodworker searches the web to learn how to make wood inlay bandings there is little information to be found. In fact there seems to be very little information about how the masters of wood inlay created the wonderful patterns that are sometimes seen on museum quality furniture. However, there are some patterns of wood inlay from the Buffard Freres that offer a glimpse into the world of classic wood inlay from Paris. After studying these inlay designs the urge hit me to figure out how to could duplicate some of these patterns. What I am learning of this “lost art” I will attempt to share with those interested.

When I first began making wood inlay bandings my tool of choice was the table saw. However, my work has evolved and now my band saw is getting a workout. I like working with the band saw for cutting wood inlay segments for a number of reasons.
1). I find it safer when working with smaller or narrower wood pieces.
2.) There is no chance of kickback on a band saw.
3.) The band saw offers a great deal of control when working with sleds and the band saw rip fence.

The Band Saw Sleds:

1.) The Bandsaw Crosscut Sled
2.) The Dedicated Band Saw Miter Sled
3.) The Tilting Miter Sled for the Band Saw

Also important…The Bandsaw Rip Fence for Cutting Thin Strips

The three sleds and the rip fence each take 10-15 minutes to make and they can be made from scrap material in the workshop. The sleds are highly accurate and efficient. Actually, I had not seen or heard of any band saw sleds before I thought of cutting wood inlay segments on the band saw. My band saw sleds are an original thought that I developed for the purpose of cutting wood inlay segments. The sleds have opened up a new dimension for my band saw work and it’s as if my band saw has suddenly been upgraded.

When preparing stock for wood inlay it is important that the material is dimensioned properly. The material being used needs to be flat and of uniform thickness. I use the open drum sander for this operation.

When using a sled I clamp a stop block to the fence so that segments are cut to a uniform width or length.

So far the segments for the wood inlay I have created have been cut at either 90 degrees or 45 degrees. For the 90 degree cuts I use the crosscut sled. When making 45 degree cuts I use either the dedicated miter sled or the tilting miter sled depending on the particular cut to be made. Keep in mind is that the bandings do not have exposed end grain. The wood grain shown is either edge grain or face grain.

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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