I did a little trading at work a while back and ended up with a nice pair of “Stile and Rail” router bits. They are identical to these only they were Freud brand:
I was really excited about these bits because my kitchen cabinets are a project that has been put on hold for over a year and these will really help me finish the doors. I had never used these bits before.
I did a test cut of both joints and it fit together so sweet:
I measured twice and double checked everything. Here is how my thinking went:
- The overall finished height of the cabinet door is equal to the stiles (vertical sides)
- The overall finished width of the door is equal to the rail length plus the width of the two stiles (2” each)
So I set up my new router bits with plenty of feather boards on my beautiful new router table. I double-checked all measurements and bit height and ran all of my pieces through.
I formed the edges and then the joints with the other bit. I was so happy. The router, table and bit performed beautifully and it took no time at all to make the profiles and joinery of all my pieces for the entire kitchen. I don’t know if you are familiar with these bits but they are really cool. I started fitting them together and they joined together flawlessly
And then I started measuring my dry-assembled door frames. Something just was not right.
I had failed to account for that 1/2” that you loose in the joint!!! So each cabinet came out one full inch too narrow. And there is one section where a large cabinet has double doors, where the span ends up being 2” short.
All in all It was a very expensive lesson on how to properly use those bits. Well, not that expensive, but to me it is a lot. Luckily I am only using pine, for two reasons. 1: We are cheap and this is a rental that we may not be in for long. And, 2: The “rustic” look is perfect for our tiny ‘cabin in the woods.’ The worst part is that I had already cut the expensive pine-veneered plywood to fit the too-short panels. So I will need to re-buy more off all materials.
I was SO exited because the cabinets that I had started over a year ago were finally almost done. But I went from elation to horror as I realized the time and money I had wasted for a lousy half-inch. Now I have to wait for the next paycheck or two before I can afford the materials again.
Hopefully you can learn from my mistake if you use these bits in the future. The other lesson learned: Don’t get cocky and finish your entire production run before you have tested your first piece. It’ll bite you in the butt.
-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com