Raised Panel Door Glue-Ups: Rip First or Not?

For an 18-inch-wide door panel, is it worth ripping 10-inch-wide Mahogany down to narrower widths before gluing up, or not? July 29, 2012

I'm making raised panel doors in mahogany. My panels need to be about 18" wide. I have 10" wide stock. I'm wondering if I should rip the material and glue up four pieces, or keep the stock as is and only have one glue joint instead of three?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor J:
In the case of mahogany it probably doesn't matter. The best practice, especially for a 5/8 panel, is to rip and re-glue narrower strips to control cupping.

From the original questioner:
My panels will be 3/4 thick. If I rip and re-glue should I alternate the growth rings on the boards I ripped? Does that make a difference?

From contributor D:
If you have good mahogany match up the panels from the same boards and a single seam in the center. Usually with raised panels I glue them up the way they look best, since the panel floats in a frame.

From contributor J:
I was taught to alternate the growth rings. On a narrow strip at 3/4 it probably doesn't make any difference.

From contributor M:
If your lumber is kiln dried, which 95% of what you buy will be, then alternating the growth rings is not important. I would pay more attention to grain and color matching. Alternating growth rings is an old teaching which tries to compensate for cupping as the lumber dries out. Kiln dried lumber is very stable.

Make sure that your cope and stick cutters are designed to accommodate the movement that you will get with an 18" panel. Most cutters out there only allow for a 1/4" of expansion and contraction. I try to keep my panels at 12" max. It keeps me from worrying about the frames busting apart in the future.