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Shortcuts and Shaper Cutters

There is a saying that the shoe maker’s wife goes shoeless. If you haven’t heard that before, you are a better husband than I. My wife seems to remind me every once in a while. It seems that work is work and home is where you don’t work, or at least try not to.

As a home owner, we find little things need to be maintained and fixed every now and then. Perhaps a light bulb needs to be changed, a smoke alarm battery is dying or a ceiling fan needs to be installed – these are the small jobs, and I don’t mind doing them.

Yet, when it comes to the bigger jobs, such as redoing our kitchen cabinets, I tend to push them off. Not only is this a big job and quite a large investment of time and money, but the fact that I have to cut into work time and use my weekends to redo the kitchen is daunting.

In the end, like anyone doing work in their home, you try to see what NEEDS to be done, not what is wanted. With that being said, I decided that there was no real reason to dispose our cabinets and create new ones. Instead, I was just going to reface them.

The older cabinets were completely outdated and had needed a new finish for some time. My wife wanted to get rid of them and give our kitchen a more modern look. As a woodworker, although I wanted to keep it simple, I also wanted to create something I could be proud of – something with technique, depth, beauty and strength. We decided to make mission style doors from maple. It became a much less daunting task knowing that this is a simple design to make and my wife was happy with it.

After taking all of the measurements, it was just a matter of producing the stiles and rails, which I did using my planer and table saw. Then, I needed to cut the rabbits for the insides of the rails and stiles to house the floating panel. I took advantage of using my shaper with specialized shaper cutters to cut these rabbits. One cutter cuts the rabbit and a slight profile on the inside of the rails and stiles, and the other cuts a complimentary profile. I then mill the edges of the rails for a perfect fit when gluing up the frame.

Although I am not a big fan of undertaking large projects in my own home and tend to avoid them whenever possible, in this case, I was able to find a middle ground where I refaced the cabinets instead of redoing the entire kitchen. At the same time, I was able to work quickly and precisely with a stile and rail shaper cutter set that saved a lot of time. This project was completed part time in just a couple of weeks, and everyone was happy.

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