In Tricks of the Trade

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Quick Panel-finishing Setup

When making frame-and-panel doors, my panels are finished before installing them into their frames. The fact that the edges will be tucked into the frames allows for a quick, easy setup that permits finishing both faces right away instead of waiting for one face to dry before flipping the panel over to finish the other side.

Insert two widely spaced push pins into one end of the panel, and one into the center of the opposite end as shown. Rest the push pins on the edges of a pair of 2x4s, and apply finish to the first face of the panel. Afterward, grab the pair of pins at one end, flip the panel over, rotating it on the single pin at the opposite end, and bring it to rest again on the 2×4. Now you can finish the opposite side. The holes from the pins won’t show once the panels are installed. The same setup can be used to finish any sort of tall door on which the top and bottom edge won’t ever be seen. To support heavier pieces, use brads or nails. Mark Freestone

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