Blanket Chest Design – Panel Raising

Panel Design 1

What on earth is going on with all those clamps?  Simple, panel design.  “Wait a minute,” you say, “I thought design was done with pencil, paper, ruler – things like that.”  A great deal of it is.  However, sometimes nothing works like making an actual prototype.

There are a lot of variables in a tablesawed raised panel’s design.  How thick will the panel be?  How far should I tilt the saw blade?  How much reveal do I need?  How will I treat the back?  Should I give special consideration to the edge that fits the groove in the frame?

I’m sure there are plenty of ideas out there about what makes a good panel design, and I don’t doubt that there are some “rules” on the subject.  However, if you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know that I have a tendency to forge my own path on things.  To me, the best way was to make some test panels and try things for myself.

Once the panels were dry and cleaned up, I set up my new panel-raising jig and started making sawdust.  I began with a 5 degree tilt and a 1″ reveal (allowing 1/4″ for the groove and 1/4″ for the trim, the actual depth was 1 1/2″).  I then made adjustments through a very systematic process:

  1. Cut panel.
  2. Show panel to wife (better or worse than the last?)
  3. Go back to shop, make adjustment, and cut another panel.

Panel Design 2

Going along in this manner, we finally arrived at something that looked right:

Panel Design 3

The winner had an 8 degree bevel, and a reveal of 1 3/4″.  This worked out to be exactly half the width of the frame if the trim is included.  I don’t know if this was coincidental, or if this is one of those “rules”, but it worked for us.  I did a slight stub tenon on the one above to play with fit into the frame, but this is easily covered by trim.  I’m still working on that part.

Next time, I’ll go into the oft-mentioned trim, plus my ideas for the frame-panel relationship.  Stay tuned!


3 responses to “Blanket Chest Design – Panel Raising

  1. Pingback: New Little Good Pieces blog post: Blanket Chest Design – Panel Raising : LumberJocks RSS feed

  2. This is a great exercise. Hopefully you kept each sample and marked them with the settings, so you can go back and repeat them for future projects.

  3. Pingback: Herman-Style Sawbench – Working Out the Dimensions | Little Good Pieces

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