1/4" plywood panels on large rail & stile doors

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I am making two mission style rail & stile doors (21" x 75") I had planned on using 1/4" oak plywood for the panels (2 in each door)
1/4" (3/16" actual) oak plywood seems kind of flimsy. Would I be better off using 3/8" (5/16" actual)
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If those are the only choices, I'd say go with the thicker ply -- but if you can find plywood that's 1/4" actual, that's probably sufficient.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Good luck finding Oak plywood between 1/4" and 3/4".
1/4" Oak will be fine.
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Although I agree, 1/4" will work just fine, I wonder,, how hard is it to find 1/2" oak plywood? And if he really wanted 3/8" he could just veneer a peice. Lou
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We don't have a problem getting 1/2" oak veneer ply here but I've never seen 3/8". I've never looked for it though.
Mike O.
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With the exception of Birch plywood's like Baltic Birch I can honestly say that I have never seen hardwood veneer plywood in anything but "sold as" 1/4 and 3/4" thicknesses in the last 30 years in Houston. The thicknesses are probably available but probably at a premium price and special ordered.
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Tom H wrote:

Those sound very close to the dimensions of the doors I built for an amoire about 15 years ago. I used 1/4 oak plywood, and they have held up fine in daily service as an entertainment center. Actually, since the panel floats in the frame and adds no strength except resistance to wracking, I think the lighter panels help avoid strain on the rail & stile joints and on the hinges.
DonkeyHody "You don't really know a man until you have shared an inheritance with him." - Mark Twain
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DonkeyHody wrote:

With plywood panels why would you not glue it in to add more strength?
Chris
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Chris Friesen wrote:

Well, to me it's sort of like whistling while you're making love. Everything can still be accomplished, but it's very bad form.
DonkeyHody "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." - Will Rogers
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Tom H wrote:

Those sound very close to the dimensions of the doors I built for an amoire about 15 years ago. I used 1/4 oak plywood, and they have held up fine in daily service as an entertainment center. Actually, since the panel floats in the frame and adds no strength except resistance to wracking, I think the lighter panels help avoid strain on the rail & stile joints and on the hinges.
DonkeyHody "You don't really know a man until you have shared an inheritance with him." - Mark Twain
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I think "Norm" recently dealt with this problem by going thicker, and then thinning the edges so it fits in a 1/4" slot. Perhaps it was the 2nd fireplace episode.
Best of both worlds: Sturdy, and no slop at the cost of a little extra work.

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Raised panel doors were originally designed to address this problem.
The 3/4" or 5/8" panel was raised and the raised part was on the hidden side.
I would use the easily available 1/2" ply and cut a rabbet to form a tongue that would fit the groove. Let the balance of the ply show towards the back, as they intended with the raised panel.
Regards,
Tom Watson
tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email)
http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 /
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Dont rely on the integrity of the mighty oak. What are your weather issues? Lots of rain, chainge of climate, ect...
I like to build between bomb proof and reality. Do you want to do this again in three years or build a monster? By the way plywood will not hold up; cell cure, prime & painted, marine epoxy... Is this exterior?
There is some really nice 5/16 ply that could be routed if you have the means but again ply, if interior you should be good to go.
shoot me a line :
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com
ShutUpAndFish
Master Builder
Cheers and good luck!!!

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plywood adds no strength to the door; if you cut your slots properly it will not shake or wobble. But being lighter is a big asset. You could put in and intermediate rail, so you two 21"x 36" panels. I have done that on cabinet sides where I wanted extra strength. Since a door doesn't really need any strength I don't think it is necessary, but you could...
You want to be darn sure a long thin frame like that doesn't twist. I did a door about that size and it doesn't really close properly. It is on a utility cabinet, so I haven't lost any sleep over it.
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Tom,
My Mission entertainment center built 15 years ago utilized 1/"4 plywood in the large double doors. (see photos on website). While I did "skin" them with quartersawn veneer on both front and back, I do not think that made any difference. And contrary to other posts here in my opinion, since you are using STABLE plywood material, you CAN glue them in the frames. Every plywood panel door I have ever built including my entire new kitchen, I glued the panels for strength, stability and noise factor. The expansion of the rails and stiles in the home environment is minimal. It is the SOLID wood panels we worry about moving hence the reason not to glue then in the frame.
Good luck!
Dennis Slabaugh, Hobbyist Woodworker
www.woodworkinghobby.com

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Every show I've ever seen or book read, they let the plywood panel door float. I always thought this was mandatory, even with plywood. Apparently this isn't so, you say!!!!

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Tom H wrote:

Nope - it's not mandatory. I've done it for years with no problems and that includes cabinets in bathrooms that have HUGE swings in humidity.
Wood movement for inside furniture isn't nearly the issue that people make it up to be. The wood is sealed which really cuts down the ammount of moisture absorbed; and with today's climate control, there isn't all that much moisture to be absorbed for the extended period of time necessary to make the wood move.
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You can glue the panels in place HOWEVER, I have built both ways and get different results years later. With the floating panel the rails can expand in both directions. If the panels are glued in place that expansion tends to move in 1 direction and is twice as significant. About 17 years ago I gutted our kitchen an built all the cabinets. I used 3/4" plywood trimmed with 2" wide oak glued and reinforced with biscuits. All of the joints can be felt and seen "if you look close enough" at the ends where the rails have expanded or contracted with seasonal changes. Not a big deal, however this difference is much less significant when I use floating panels. I live in Humid Houston however the house has central air and heat and is not often left open to the outside humidity.
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Leon wrote:

Are these plywood panels or solid wood panels?
I would not expect noticeable expansion of a frame and panel door with a floating panel or with a plywood panel whether it floats or not.
With a solid wood panel I would only glue one long-grain edge and an inch or so of the adjacent corners, or not at all.
I'd have no qualms about gluing a plywood panel all the way around as I've had no problem doing that with plywood bottoms to chests and drawers.

--

FF


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In both reference, plywood panels wurrounded with solid wood rails and stiles.

Well remember on my glued in place with biscuits 3/4" panel the rails and stiles are butted up against the edge of the 3/4" panel. Wood moves, and when it has a solid stop such as a glued in place panel it normelly moves in the path of least resistance and typically twice as much on that direction. I would not even think of trying to measure that distance on 2" rails and stiles but if you focus on the joint or run a finger over it you can feel that the rail is sometimes obviousely proud of the ends of the stiles. If I had to guess, maybe .008" With the floating panel designs I dont see as much movement in the rail and stile joint.

Correct. The solid wood panel could easily split during seasonal changes.

It really does not affect integrity that much and especially in a controlled environment and the panel is not normally the problem so much as the joint between the rails and stiles.
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