Last time I posted I promised I would talk about space balls. Sometimes referred to as raised panel door spacers, the space balls I want to describe are a woodworkers aid. (not the Mel Brooks movie from the 80’s) These
rubber flexible polymer balls get inserted into the groove of rails and stiles that hold the raised panel. The space balls help center the panel during assembly, and they contract when the raised panel expands. This prevents the glue joints from cracking which would essentially destroy the panel. Another reason woodworkers like to use space balls is to prevent a panel from moving around or rattling inside its frame. As I mentioned in prior posts, my bar front will be covered by three raised panel assemblies. A raised panel assembly is comprised by a panel that has been raised (a bevel around the edge), two rails (which hold the panel from top and bottom), and two stiles (which hold panel from the sides). I used three balls per stile and four balls per rail for a total of 14 per panel. Below is an image of space balls that have been inserted into one of my stiles. They kind of look like rabbit turds.
So once all the space balls were inserted, we carefully applied glue to the joints were the rails meet the stiles. The raised panel was slid into its rails and then slid into its stiles. Some gentle manipulation and adjustments were made and we clamped it down. One difficult thing with woodworking is the amount of glue used. If you apply to little your joint will be weak, and if you apply too much you will get squeeze out. Any glue that has squeezed out of the joint it must be wiped off quickly with a damp sponge as any glue one the outer surface will interfere with the danish oil. We left the clamps on and let the glue dry for about an hour each. The first raised panel assembly was complete. The first panel was celebrated by a few high fives, and some serious slugs of Bells:Two Hearted (My favorite IPA)
And here is an image of two of the three raised panel assemblies right after applying a coat of danish oil. The blue painters tape on some of the edges was to protect the open pores to allow glue to be absorbed when the top and bottom panels are glued onto the raised panel assembly. We applied the tape to some of the other pieces as well allowing one massive danish oiling session to occur. And yes this danish oil was being applied in my in-law’s dining room on the dinner table. We had almost every flat surface in the garage / workshop covered in oiled walnut. Another reason why Phil and Sharon are both so awesome, Go Neir’s!
Close up showing the raised panel and the joint of rail and stile.
An image of the top and bottom panels that with go above and below each raised panel assembly.
Phil fluted these panels by making symmetrical passes over the router. It is gorgeous and I think it is an eye-catching detail that shows how much effort we have spent on this project.
The fluted walnut will be somewhat of a decorative trim piece that will cover the edge created by placing to raised panel assemblies next to each other. Next post on the bar should be of all these panels install on the front of my bar, which I can hardly wait to see!