Door Panel Glue-Up Workflow

Does anyone lay up door panels in long lengths and then cut down the blanks into multiple doors? October 26, 2013

Question
Iím curious to know how cabinet door shops glue up their raised panels in production style. Do they glue up stock at full length and random widths to then cut to size or do they cut pieces for each individual panel and then glue up (on glue up clamp rack of course).? If your normal stock was 4/4 maple shorts at 6' to 7' lengths, which glue up method would be more productive and efficient without compromising quality? Note: taking into consideration the use of the following machines: 16"jointer with powerfeed, 20" planer, SL rip saw, wide belt sander, 5 shapers, etc.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor H:
I surface through a single sided planer, straight line rip one edge, flip and straight line rip the opposite edge, cut 1" over length, and try to layup within 1" over the finished panel width. I use a JLT plate spreader and RF press to glue and cure the panels.



From contributor Z:
If the RF glues up to 36" wide, for instance, you can glue up two or three panels and cut them apart later, reducing waste. Our software combines panels with same lengths in this manner for us, custom feature we had to pay for.


From Contributor U:
We S4S, cut to 1" over length and lay up panels in multiples that fit in the RF press. It is much easier to get color and grain matches by cutting the lengths down like this, not to mention the small defects that tend to mess up panels when they are glued in bulk and cut down later.


From contributor Z:
Contributor U - what do you gain by S4S when you probably have to sand the panels down anyway? Don't you buy your lumber pre-surfaced, well enough that you can sand down after panel glue up? Just am curious.


From Contributor U:
I buy lumber H&M planed, but often it has been sitting around enough to oxidize a bit and hide color, grain, and small defects. A typical job takes maybe ten minutes to run 100 BF of door panel stock through. It seems to save that much time in re-makes on some jobs. I know that most everyone thinks this is overkill, but it seems to work well for us.


From contributor Z:
Seems like a lumber waste because panel stock comes in infinite widths, and you either have to adjust the moulder to each panel width, or rip them all down to same width with resultant waste. What am I missing here?


From Contributor U:
While ripping rail/stile strips, we rip panel stock on 1/2" to 1" increments for width. The strips get stacked in piles by width, then run through the moulder. So for instance, out of a 7" wide board, we get either 2x3" strips (for door frames) or one 6 1/2" strip (for panel glue-up or solid slab drawer face). So far this week we have ripped 1000 BF and ended up with a bundle of offal about 20" in diameter x 10 feet long. The bundle gets sold to locals who cut it up for kindling/firewood. It takes seconds to change the width on the moulder. Like I said, it works for us.


From contributor Z:
That makes more sense, thanks. I wish we could sell our offal! No takers around here.


From Contributor U:
We only get $10 for a bundle, so it is beer money for me for the weekend. I don't know if it really even covers the time to strap them up, but at least the business throws off a tiny bit of extra cash.