Doors - The Optimizing Challenge

Borg Boards (surfaced four sides - aka S4S - boards from "Big Box" stores) are often less than you think they are - sometimes considerably less. If you've ever measured a nominal "2x4" stud you know that they're ACTUALLY 1 1/2 x 3 1/2. There IS a rational explanation for THAT - having to do with kerf waste, shrinkage but mainly structural requirements. That rational doesn't hold up for S4S boards that The Borg sells- but they use it anyway. A nominal 1x8 can be as narrow as 7 1/4" and a nominal 1x10 may actually be only 9 1/4" wide.

For this linen cabinet's doors that nominal vs actual width is an issue when deciding on the width of rails and stiles - and panels. You want to get the most used wood from each board - and if possible - minimize having to glue up two or more boards for the raised panels. That last one means that you'd like to keep the raised panel widths at or under 7 1/4" or 9 1/4". If you want to minimize waste this becomes an optimization puzzle. Remember, this is a woodworking novices first piece of solid wood furniture and avoiding wasting expensive wood is important,

So what to do? Widen the Stiles, narrow the panel width - narrow the stiles, widen the panels. And, if possible, we want to avoid having to glue up boards to get the panel width we'll need. Light tight five foot long glue joints aren't as easy to get as it would seem. And getting two boards for a panel, which look good together -without wasting any wood - ain't trivial either.

At this point we had two 1x8s and two 1x10s (nominal dimesions - actually 3/4x7 1/4 and 3/4 x 9 1/4 ) from which to make the four raised panel doors.

With that "challenge" met it was ripping the rails and stiles from the 1x8s, cutting the stiles to length on the miter saw, using stops to insure that parts that are supposed to be the same length are. Note that we haven't cut the rails to final lenght yet - allowing about 1/4" of slop as insurance. There's a good reason for that -and we'll get to that.

NOTE TO NEWBIES:
If you want parts to be the same length - either cut them all together - or use a stop and cut them one at a time. They may be too long - or too short - but they'll all be exactly the same length.

Here's why we didn't cut the rails to final length yet.

The hinges for these doors - which were acquired BEFORE working out the door widths - has a nominal "overlay" of 1/2". That Half Inch Overlay is measured from the OUTSIDE of the part that attaches to the cabinet. So if you decide to mortise in the hinges - your doors need to be slightly wider - by the thickness of the hinge's stock, or the depth of the mortise you cut for them. Subtle thing but when it comes to fitting two doors little things seem to add up - in a directions that will cause a problem later - rather than canceling each other out. And little things seem to come in pairs - individually they're no big deal, but cumulatively . . .

Assume that Murphy's Law is true and work real hard to minimize it. THAT is why we hadn't cut the rails for the doors to their final length when we were cutting the stiles to length. So here's what we need to do to come up with the rails length.