Making and Joining Stiles and Rails
Chapter 3
Making and Joining
Stiles and Rails
Flat Panels and Pinning at Centre Point
Chapter 5
Flat Panels and
Pinning at Centre Point
Coved Panels on the Table Saw
Chapter 7
Coved Panels
on the Table Saw
Sanding and Scraping Panels
Chapter 9
Sanding and Scraping
Finishing the Frames
Chapter 11
Finishing the Frames
Door and Hinge Installation
Chapter 13
Door and Hinge
Grain Patterns Matter
Thoughts on

Part 2
Grain Patterns Matter

Instructional Woodworking

Making Frame and Panel Doors
Author: Hendrik Varju

Making Frame and Panel Doors - Dvd Cover

Hendrik Varju / Passion for Wood / August 2014
ISBN: 978-0-9881280-5-7
9 hours, 22 minutes on 5 DVDs

Price: Cdn. $99.95 + applicable taxes
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Passion for Wood - Table of Contents
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2014 rounded out Hendrik’s instructional DVD offerings to a total of fourteen titles, releasing two new productions. “Making Drawers” is the second DVD newly released in 2014, but let us first hear about the long awaited production: “Making Frame and Panel Doors”.

Previous videos have covered machinery and tool skills, wood science, joinery methods, finishing and more. However, this is the first time Hendrik has tackled his frame and panel door building and installation methods in a video production. “Making Frame and Panel Doors” covers his favourite methods for building and installing doors, with the footage spread over nearly 9 1/2 hours on 5 disks. As is Hendrik’s usual style, this DVD set is a detailed step-by-step course – not the “usual” DVD fare that may have disappointed you in the past.

The DVD starts by reviewing the design of a frame and panel door, including some of the common dimensions and details about the panel grooves. Hendrik also reviews a number of different panel designs, from flat panels to raised panels featuring bevels, coves and even ogees. Then Chapter 2, called “Order of Operations”, goes over the various steps to make a frame and panel door from start to finish, including sanding, hardware and finishing steps. Having all of these steps listed on paper in the correct order is immensely useful when you build a frame and panel door yourself.

From there, Hendrik proceeds to make the door stiles and rails and joins them using one simple joinery method (dowels). He then routs the grooves required for a panel, which involves two through grooves and two stopped. He also does a bit of decorative routing on the inside of the frame on the front. Then four chapters review four different types of panels: flat panels, bevelled panels cut on the table saw, coved panels also cut on the table saw, and ogeed panels cut on the router table with a large panel raising bit.

When demonstrating the flat panels, Hendrik uses another set of stiles and rails to show how to customize the width of the panel grooves for a panel. While it’s relatively easy to plane a panel to fit a groove using a thickness planer, it is more difficult to customize a groove to accommodate an already existing panel Yet this kind of an exercise is regularly needed where a panel is made of plywood. In Hendrik’s case, he used a solid wood panel but still demonstrated how to customize a groove, as well as how to pin a panel at its centre point with small nails in order to account for wood movement.

When making a bevel edged panel on the table saw, Hendrik shows you an incredible “sliding fence” jig, allowing you to move the panel over the table saw’s angled blade in a totally controlled and safe manner. There’s no risking life and limb with this procedure.

Then Hendrik shows you how to make a coved panel on the table saw. While this can be done with a router instead, he explains that using a table saw and running diagonally over the spinning blade can cut just about any radius curve you’ll want using a standard 10″ diameter blade. So rather than having to buy a different router bit for every cove profile you might want, you can do it all on the table saw. While it sounds like a dangerous technique, Hendrik covers it in great detail including all the safety aspects involved.

Lastly, Hendrik shows you how to make a raised panel with an ogee profile using a large diameter panel raising router bit. This kind of large router bit can be very intimidating, but again Hendrik shows you how to do it safely using zero clearance fence boards, making it an easy operation.

Of course, just making the various panels isn’t all that needs to be done. Proper sanding must be done prior to assembly, so Hendrik shows you how to do it. In fact, he spends almost 45 minutes showing you how to handle the various types of panels, even using hand planes on the bevels, curved card scrapers on the coves and contoured sanding blocks for the ogees. It is rewarding to see how a professional handles these sanding tasks thoroughly and without affecting the fit of the panels to the grooves.

All of this leads to a chapter strictly devoted to the glue-up of one frame and panel door. Hendrik shows you how to handle dowel joinery, in terms of where to put the glue, how much to use and how to apply it. He has an interesting order in which he works to ensure no part is ever turned upside down without dowels in the dowel holes, as this would lead to glue escaping from the holes and causing a mess. It is a real pleasure to see how Hendrik approaches a glue-up like this and works in an organized way under time pressure. Hendrik does it in one take so that nothing is left out from the reality of a real-time glue-up.

After the glue-up, Hendrik shows you how to complete the door frames in terms of any final levelling that must be done. He explains that no matter how carefully you cut the joinery, there are going to be some non-flush areas where rails meet stiles, so he shows you how to hand plane the frame flush and then continue on with a random orbit sander.

As in all of Hendrik’s DVDs, this production is full of techniques he has been using and perfecting for nearly two decades. There is always a wonderful mix of theory, with sketches and full explanations, married with real-time demonstrations you can duplicate in your own workshop. This is the beauty of these multiple disk courses, which give you an absolutely enormous level of detail, but in a “live demonstration” format just not possible in a woodworking book or magazine article.

The most important aspect of this production, as with all the others, is Hendrik’s full demonstrations done in real time. He doesn’t assume prior knowledge, so even a beginner will be able to follow along the journey. Yet he has a knack for covering the basics while simultaneously delving into super fine points an amateur is unlikely to even consider for many years. The incredibly valuable lesson in all this is that Hendrik never just touches on the basics, but goes deeper, giving you a level of understanding of how to dial in accuracy on that last one one-thousandth of an inch. In fine furniture work, accuracy and detail is everything.

Hendrik is known for his extremely long and detailed “bonus footage” sections in his instructional DVD courses and this DVD is no exception. The bonus footage is called “Fitting and Installing Doors”. It is one thing to build a door, but quite another to install it with great precision. Inset doors are particularly difficult, and this is the kind of door Hendrik tackles in the bonus section. He starts by taking you step-by-step through the building of a simple jig he invented many years ago to cut mortises for butt hinges. The jig is customized to the hinges you’re using and the lay-out of the hinges on the door (which is not always symmetrical). The beauty of the jig is that it is double sided, meaning that one side is used to rout the hinge mortises on the door and the other side is used for the door opening. What results is a perfect fit of the hinges from door to opening every time.

In the final chapter of the bonus footage, Hendrik shows you, having already made the hinge mortising jig, how to install the hinges. But he also shows you his techniques for getting a perfectly even reveal all around an inset door. The secret is to build the door too large to fit in the opening or about the exact same size. Then he trims the door in an ingenious way on jointer and table saw to get an even reveal. And before you think that he probably made a perfectly square door opening to make this exercise easy, he shows you that he purposely built his door opening mock-up quite a bit off square to show you that his techniques allow him to duplicate a non-square opening onto the door, still resulting in a reveal that is consistent all around. It’s a joy to see Hendrik’s analytical mind in action to make this magic happen.

The bonus footage on this DVD runs for over 2 1/2 hours in total, which is longer than 2 or 3 average length woodworking DVDs. And that’s just the bonus footage! Remember that Hendrik’s productions are not just “entertainment” like a woodworking television show. These are lengthy step-by-step woodworking courses in a DVD format. Like it says on the front cover of these productions, these are “Private Woodworking Instruction in a Box”TM. In short, “Making Frame and Panel Doors” is the most complete DVD course of its kind on this subject matter. You’ll appreciate the depth of the information and the subtle details fleshed out at every opportunity.

In this must-have video, you will learn:

  • how to design a frame and panel door, including multiple options for panel design
  • the proper order of operations to take you from rough lumber to finished frame and panel door, including hardware installation and finish sanding
  • how to join rails and stiles using dowel joinery
  • how to rout decorative profiles on the inside of a door frame prior to assembly and how to cut grooves for the panel
  • how to customize grooves to an already existing flat panel and how to pin the panel at its centre point with small square-cut nails
  • how to make bevel edged panels on a table saw using a sliding fence jig that makes this operation super safe
  • how to make coved panels on a table saw by running the panel diagonally over the table saw blade, and how to do this safely
  • how to make ogeed panels on a router table using a large diameter panel raising bit
  • how to sand and scrape panels effectively without making them sloppy in their grooves
  • how to handle a door glue-up in a quick and methodical way without stressing out about it
  • how to hand plane and sand a door frame after assembly to bring the rails and stiles into alignment on the faces
  • how to make an ingenious jig for routing butt hinges both in the door and the door opening (an original Hendrik Varju invention)
  • how to trim an inset door to fit in a non-square opening and still achieve an even reveal and hang it professionally on its hinges

As always, Hendrik’s DVD courses are not like the usual 45 to 60 minute production you may have found disappointing in the past. Hendrik takes you through every procedure in real time, ensuring that you fully understand the thinking behind every step. Most woodworking videos and television shows just show you the “gist” of each technique, editing away the finer details and problems that might arise. If you truly wish to elevate your door building and installation techniques to a professional level, the details are everything.

Normally, Hendrik can only cover all of the high-level details he loves to teach in person, but he has once again succeeded at giving you personal coaching in a DVD format. As a 5-DVD boxed set running for nearly 9 1/2 hours, “Making Frame and Panel Drawers” will be the leading instructional woodworking DVD in this area. As the trademarked name says, this is “Private Woodworking Instruction in a Box” TM and nothing short of Hendrik’s in-shop seminars and courses even comes close.

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Safety Discussion
Safety Discussion
Designing a Frame and Panel Door
Chapter 1
Designing a
Frame and Panel Door
Order of Operations
Chapter 2
Order of Operations
Decorative Routing and Panel Grooves
Chapter 4
Decorative Routing
and Panel Grooves
Bevelled Panels on the Table Saw
Chapter 6
Bevelled Panels
on the Table Saw
Chapter 8
Raised Panels
on the Router Table
The Glue-up
Chapter 10
The Glue-up
Jig for Routing Butt Hinge Mortises
Chapter 12
Jig for Routing
Butt Hinge Mortises
Keep it Simple
Thoughts on
Part 1

Keep it Simple
Smart Jigs Really Help
Thoughts on
Part 3

Smart Jigs Really Help