Hand-Planing Wood-Veneer Doors

How thick should the veneer be for hand-planed reproduction slab doors made with veneer over a wood-composite core? January 20, 2007

I need to make four cabinet doors approximately 30" wide x 36" tall in walnut. Fronts of the doors need to have a hand planed look that will require at least 1/4" thickness of solid material so that I won't plane through it. My original thought was to press 1/4" solid material to 1/2" MDF with veneer on back. Now I'm leaning toward just making from solid quartered walnut and skipping the MDF core. I am concerned about expansion and contraction across the width using solid. Any other ideas?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor R:
We order all of our raised panel doors as solid wood, not MDF core. Never had a problem, knock on wood. ;) Although, given the size of your doors, I tell my customers I can't warranty anything over 24" wide.

From contributor D:
Maybe spacer balls.

From the original questioner:
Sorry, I failed to note that these would be slab type doors.

From contributor L:
If you are making a slab style door, then it would be best to use a man-made core. But you don't need to go as thick as 1/4" to get the hand planed look. If you use 3/32" to 1/8" you should be all set. Wrap the core with the walnut (1/8" - 1/2") around the edges and then press the front and back with the walnut veneer. If your hand planes are set up properly, you should be able to make your passes over the slab without taking off too much material. Each stroke of the plane should take off about 5-8 thousandths of an inch. This is under the assumption that you will be using a smoothing plane for the job. I use a 2" Stanley smoothing plane to do my hand planing for the reproduction work.