Mitered Doors in a Production Shop

Quick tips on the top issues involved in making mitered raised-panel doors in volume. October 2, 2007

What are the machinery options and methods for doing mitered frame, raised panel cabinet doors on a production or semi-production scale? Also any recommendations on a 3 side moulder or 4 head for running the profiles?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor L:
You will be happier with a 5 or 6 head molder for production use. We have a small Weinig 5 head, been a great machine. I wish I had gone for the 6th head, though.

From contributor J:
There are a couple of good miter machines available that cut a mortise and tenon. The machines are computer controlled and very accurate. Now for the problems that will creep up. First, if your molding stock is not dead on accurate, your joinery quality will vary from stick to stick. Second, consider setting up a brush sander directly after running the molding stock. Contrary to what you will hear, the molding needs to be sanded after coming off of the molder, otherwise door finishing won't be consistent. In the absence of a brush sander, you will have to train people to hand-sand the stock without damaging the beaded profiles. Now for the last problem, and this is a biggie. If you don't glue the joints up properly, the miters will open up. Likewise, too much glue will prevent the stock from taking stain. I know this sounds like basic stuff, but I speak from real world experience in a production environment making miter frame doors. Oh, lest I forget, follow the lead of other door makers. Don't try to be all to everyone. Limit your miterframes to one or two wood species and your molding profiles to the same.

From contributor L:
I agree with everything contributor J said and would add that miters are more subject to showing movement due to moisture control problems than copes. You need to meter the lumber or pay the price later in wasted effort. I've seen mitered doors made from too wide moldings (more subject to showing the wood movement again).

P.S. Conestoga makes really nice mitered doors.