Even though I've been woodworking for over 10 years, I am still just a hobbiest, with a day job and many other responsibilities. As such, there are many facets of woodworking where I have not had the time to explore in depth. Raised panels are one such area. For whatever reason, I just have not used raised panels very much.
The first time I raised a panel I used the method of making cove molding on the table saw, only making half a cove. (this involves sliding a board diagonally over the saw blade, and raising the blade a fraction at a time. it works, and gives a nice curved surface, but is VERY slow. This is suitable for when you need only one or two panels.
The next time was also on the table saw. With an angled sliding jig, you can clamp and cut raised panels. it works, but again, is fairly labour intensive, as it requires clamping each board four times -- once for each side, plus another Table saw setup for cutting the shoulders. Last year I used this method when cutting the raised panels for the drawer fronts of nine drawers. It was endless. I swore to never do that again.
I don't have a shaper, and am unlikely to get one in the near future, so that avenue for raised panels is out. Horizontal raised panel bits on the router table seems to be the next most popular option. But they wouldn't work in my basic router table -- the opening is too small for the bit.
Here then, is my first experience trying out a vertical panel raising bit in a router table. For my project (another set of 9 drawer fronts) I chose the Vertical Straight Panel Raising bit from Lee Valley (Part # 16J63.52).
I mounted this in my PC690 mounted in my disposable router table that I made a while back. My fence was too short for these large drawer fronts, so I first attached an auxiliary fence to the face of my fence with some wood screws. It was about 10-12" tall and the length of the fence.
Router table set up - front
Router table set up - back
Actually using the bit was almost anticlimactic. It just worked. The PC690 is a single-speed router, so I was carefull to not try and take too large a cut in one pass. But even so, I found it only took two passes to raise the panels to the depth that I wanted.
In hindsight I should have made three passes. On a ww'ing forum I read some advice that at the end of your run you should give the fence a tap (pushing it over maybe 1/32nd I would guess) and take a final tiny cut. I did encounter some minor "ripples" in my work pieces that I had to sand out. I presume that the board wiggled a tiny bit in use, and I would think that a final pass like that would help take care of that and reduce some of the clean-up sanding that was needed afterwards
Attachment 26241 Attachment 26242
NOTE: This is a posed shot - nothing is turned on. I ALWAYS wear ear and eye protection when using tools. I didn't actually know my wife was going to include me in the shot, but I actually like the "overall" view this gives.
And that's about all there is to say.
It really was not that hard to use this bit. It worked fine in a simple inexpensive router table. It worked fine in a simple inexpensive 1.5HP router. It worked fine with a simple homemade wooden fence that was probaly NOT flat to some incredible thousands of an inch.
I'm quite satisfied. Here are some test boards.
Attachment 26245 Attachment 26244
And just for completion, here are some of the drawers with the finished (though without finish) drawer fronts mounted.