Raw Wood Showing at Panel Edges

Advice on preventing tell-tale raw wood from showing when door panels shrink over the dry season. December 28, 2014

I have experienced as others have the raised panel in a door shrinking and leaving bare wood showing. I received a call back today on that. Is there any way to prevent this?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor G:
Prevent what, the panel from shrinking or the uncolored line from showing? It really depends on who's making the door. If you have someone else making your doors then there isn't much that can be done about it. They are making them as fast as they can. If you are making them there are a couple of things that can be done. You can stain the panel tongue before you put the door together. You can also put finish onto the end grain of the tongue before you put the door together. If the door is going to be natural (no stain) then you can put the first coat on the panel before you assemble it. I usually use some old finish (clear) and a paper towel to dab finish onto the end grain of the tongue of the panel. I make it pretty thick because it will soak in. This will seal up the most likely entry point of humidity. The pre-stained tongues will hide the fact the panel has shrunk to an extent. It won't look perfect but it won't be blatant that it's there, especially dark stain on maple.

From contributor L:
You can't stop wood from moving when there is a change in the moisture content of the environment. Pre-stain the panels, you will still get a line where the finish ends. Or make the doors conform to AWI premium grade.

From contributor K:
I agree with the pre-staining but I also pre-seal the panels before assembly to help prevent double staining the panels after assembly.

From the original questioner:
I wasn't asking how to keep the wood from shrinking but just thought someone may have come up with a magic trick to prevent the call back. I just got back from fixing the raw wood and there was some hairline cracks in some stiles and rails also. I mainly outsource my doors so pre-staining is not an option. I'm thinking of trying to use a little stain or dye in my little Passche glazing air brush and go down the edge. I don't know if it will work but I have to figure out something on it.

From contributor V:
Does your door manufacturer use eased edges on the panel groove? If so, you can use compressed air to blow the stain into the panel/groove joint. This is how Conestoga does it and when I finish doors I do the same. The eased edge also allows the finish to be ever so slightly feathered so it is not noticeable when the panel shrinks.