I have made 50+ of these doors and
people seem to love'm.
They are very low tech.
The door is built much like a picture frame.
The frame made up of 2 1/4" boards.
Just put the frame together with whatever joint you want
(biscuit, m&t, half lap, etc...).
Then I use a rabbeting bit cut a 3/8 deep by 3/8 wide
rabbet along the whole inside of the frame.
This is where the plywood panel will go.
Then I use a 3/8 chamfer bit and champher the front
inside of the frame Stopping before I get to the corners.
Then just roundover the outside edge.
I take a piece of 1/4 ply and round the courners to
match the inside of my door.
You can just glue and tack it in with a brad.
I use a 22 gauge stapler.
As far as joints, the ones in the picture are biscuit
joints (double #0).
They seem plenty strong,
if you glue your panel, it will help
distribute the racking, another advantage.
I think a half lap would be fine but I would probably
stop the lap about 3/8 shy of the edge of the door so
you wouldn't see end grain on the sides of the
If I were going to do this any differently
I would probably use a loose tenon.
A buddy of mine gave me the ideal for these doors.
He was a refinisher for 30 yrs.
He said he saw them on some old antiques.
For whatever reason poeple seem to like them.
I think because its just different.
People may be getting bored with raised panels.