Rout Raised Panels with a Straight Bit
For a low-cost way to make raised panels, try using a straight bit and an elevation rail on your router table. Use a bit with a bottom-cleaning profile like you find on hinge-mortising bits. These will leave you with less sanding to do than with a regular straight bit.
Start by positioning the fence and elevation rail so that your panel tilts at a 15° angle, as shown in the drawing of the router table at top. Secure a 3⁄4 " straight bit into your router and adjust the height to make the cut, as shown in Step 1. Make this cut along all four edges of the panel.
Now, remove the elevation rail, move in the fence, and make the flat cut along all four edges as shown in Step 2. Move the fence back out and lower the bit to clean up the shoulders with the cut as shown in Step 3. Now, you've got a raised-panel profile that measures almost 11⁄2 " wide.
—Richard Colman Sr., Boscawen, N.H.