I'm preparing the tiger maple panels prior to assembly of the door frames. This type of highly figured wood can be quite a challenge to handplane to a mirror finish. The wood can easily tearout if the angle of attack of the plane iron is not quite right or if the blade is not sharp. There is also technique involved. In the photo I'm using a high angled handplane which more or less falls in between a handplane and a scraper. I choose this tool to eliminate any possibility of tearout with a degree of certainty. After this operation of smoothing the board, I use a scraper to burnish the surface and eliminate any small streaks from the handplane operation. You can see the degree of curl in the tiger maple, since the curls are fairly tight, the wood borders on fiddleback maple quality. The curls are not very pronounced at this point except in the correct light, but once a clear, deep finish is applied, the curls will pop and appear quite dramatic. I'm taking my time with this step to prevent any tearout from occurring as the two panels , although replaceable, are fairly important at this stage.
My next step after preparing the surfaces of the panels will be to rabbet the outside edges of each panel. The rabbet will match a groove in both the rail and stiles of each door panel. The reveal around the edge of each tiger maple panel and between the panel and door rail or stile needs to be uniform all around, a bit of a time consuming step to get just right.
I'm going to place the panels against the individual door frames, to have the door frame overlay the tiger maple panel, as this will allow me to adjust the graphics of the panels within the door frames for optimal effect. Once I've selected a nice pattern to capture, I'll scribe the outline on the panel and create the edging with this outline as a reference. Hopefully, in my next installment I'll have the door frames completely assembled and glued up.