Making Beadboard Door Panels for One Job

Suggestions for how to make a small amount of beadboard for a custom cabinet door project. May 6, 2010

I have a good client that I have done much previous work for and she is wanting beaded overlay doors and drawer fronts to replace the existing flat panel inset doors. She saw a picture in a magazine that she wants me to match. The picture shows 3/4" flat panel beaded doors with no frame. It is to be painted. My question is about making the bead itself. I am a one man shop and have been in business for six years and this is my first request for beaded panel doors. I have seen the LRH magic moulder and it has a beading profile, but I don't know if it is worth it to buy this unit that I may never have the use for in the future. This is a small kitchen with only 12 doors and six drawer fronts. I donít want to scare off my client with my bid if I bought the LRH. Any other ideas or opinions other than buying this magic molder would be appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor J:
That router bit won't work in the center of a panel very well. I think Ryan is talking about a beadboard look. The magic moulder would be great, but cost prohibitive for such a small job unless you want to invest in it. I'd use a router plane or even a scratch stock. Use a piece of bandsaw blade, grind your profile and mount it in a block of wood. Clamp on a straight edge and stroke away. It should go pretty easy in soft maple.

From contributor U:
I had a bit made up once for beading butternut panels in interior passage doors. It was basically a flat bottom about 1/8" and then roundover to roll the corners. Two passes (with a spacer for second pass off a clamped fence guiding a handheld router) will give the center bead. Then put two flats and round shoulders up to the face of panel.

From the original questioner:
To contributor J: the beadboard look is exactly what I am looking for. Thanks to everyone who replied. All the ideas definitely have me headed in a more cost effective direction. With the size of this job a little extra time and elbow grease shouldn't be a problem.

From contributor S:
If this job is paint grade, you could simply get a sheet or two of MDF beadboard and laminate it to a thicker base panel and cut your doors out of it.

From contributor R:
I use the magic moulder. You can determine the spacing you want between beads, use it on any species. I have oak beadboard 1 3/4 inch interior doors at my house. Yes it is an investment, but no jerking around trying to get the look you want.

From contributor H:
Take two inside chippers from a dado set and have them ground to points. Stack them on the table saw arbor with 1/8" thick bushing between them and run shallow cut depth. I do this all the time on various species of hardwood and MDF for door panels and it looks very good. It also allows you to vary the spacing.

From contributor R:
Like I had mentioned before I use the magic moulder. I have one set of plugs for mdf and one for wood. Another nice thing about the magic moulder is that there are a lot of plugs profiles available.

From the original questioner:
This time I decided to go with the craftsman tablesaw moulder. I found one with six sets of cutters for $19. For that price I don't think I could go too far wrong. Thanks to everyone who replied with their ideas as they were all helpful and I may call them into use on a future job.