Applied mouldings on raised-panel doors

Ideas for applying mouldings to raised panel doors without affecting panel movement. September 26, 2000

I have seen very large mouldings applied to the inside profile of raised panel doors and I am wondering how this is accomplished.

You can't attach the moulding to the raised panel, since it must be free-floating; but if you make a square edge profile on your stiles and rails, you have nowhere to solidly attach the moulding.

One more thing: With these mouldings, you need to have a deep raised panel to fit the moulding into without losing the look of your raised panel. Am I thinking this through correctly?

How is this accomplished?

The doors we receive from Cal Door that have applied moldings use a deeper panel cut. The moldings are cut to fit tight, then glued down, no nails.

One way that we have done this is to build the stile-and-rail door with the groove ploughed to match the panel thickness (same as normal) then glue a "tongue" of wood into the groove, projecting out enough to provide gluing for the applied moulding, which, when completed, will hold the panel in place and still provide the room to float.

You could also dispense with the grooving and just run all the stiles and rails with the tongue (possibly use the tongue for the corner joint, i.e., tenon). I don't like trying to cut such a large flat portion on the raised panels, nor do I like all that movement under the applied moulding.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor A:

It is true that it is against traditional principals to glue mouldings, across the grain, on raised panels. We have had sucess with this by making the moulding into a picture frame with grooves in the back and applying PL glue to the surface. We used a vacuum bag for the clamping pressure. Another option is to use a ply core for the center face; then picture frame this raised edge. Any future moulding would then be applied to the long grain of the raised portion. It is mandatory with either method to use the most stable material possible. We used v.g. mahogany.