Removing a Raised Panel and Saving the Frame

ask WWGOA text with a man standing

“Do you know of a procedure for removing a panel from the rails and stiles of a standard raised panel cabinet door constructed with cope and stick joinery, in order to replace it with a glass panel. I can’t figure out how to make a square opening in the corners on the back side in order to lift out the panels. Have you ever done this, do you recommend it? Router perhaps?”

WWGOA Editor Response:

I’ve been stewing on this. Here’s what I propose… I’m assuming you don’t need to keep the panel. Using a jig saw, cut the panel as close as you can get to the inside edges of the frame, without cutting into the frame. In 4 or 5 spots leave a high spot. My theory is that if you don’t leave too much meat behind from the panel you’ll be able to grab the tabs you left behind with a vise grip and, especially on the end grain, bust it out. Once the panel starts coming apart, you should be able to pull on and fracture the rest.

You need a laminate trim bit to change the groove into a rabbet. The pilot on these bits is very small and should fit into the available space. The bearing on a standard flush trim bit won’t fit into the groove. You’ll need to hand chisel the corners square.

Hopefully the resulting rabbet will be deep enough to take the glass.

George Vondriska

Managing Editor

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