When I decided to make large multi-panel paintings, I really didn't have a plan for making the panels. I looked into buying pre-made panels from art suppliers, but realized they would become very expensive, very quickly. I decided I should make my own panels. Since I had no wood working tools, and didn't know how to use them, I bought tempered hardboard and 1x2s at Dunn Lumber, had them cut down to size, and glued the panels in my kitchen.
Now that I have a studio, I have invested in some power tools, including a chop saw and a router. Panel building is still time consuming, but kind of meditative and zen. I've been working on the chopping and gluing for about a week. Each piece dries for 30 minutes before I can move it, and then cures for 24 hours before I can put any sort of strain on it, meaning I can't go on to the next step. Tomorrow, I will rout the edges!
**Note the very well-used painting table!