Barrister Book Case Tutorial #11: Cope and Stick Doors- building a practice door out of MDF

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Blog entry by Scarcraig01 posted 09-07-2009 07:39 PM 4130 reads 5 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: Building the Base Part 11 of Barrister Book Case Tutorial series Part 12: Preparing Stock for Doors »

Its been a while since I did some cope and stick doors so I thought I better give it a practice run on the cheap stuff before I break out the maple stock.

These cope and stick operations can get pretty confusing. It looks like it would be easy, but there is a lot that can go wrong! If you don’t have any experience with these things practice a lot before you use your good wood. Do not try to do this without a coping sled, its just not worth it, these huge sharp bits bite! So be careful!

The first step is to measure the inside measurement of my barrister boxes. The width was 32 1/8, so I’ll want the final width of the doors to be 1/8 shorter, so I’ll want the finished door to be 32” The height is 14” so I’ll want the height of the door to be 13 7/8 when assembled.

The bottom piece or what I’m calling the rail, is the easy one, its length will just be cut to the finished size we want, the 32”. The end pieces, or what I’m calling the stiles, (the short pieces) is a little harder. Its necessary to find out how much shorter to make the stiles to compensate for the thickness, and the joinery.

To arrive at the amount you want to reduce the 14” height—take your rails and place them end to end and measure the distance between the joinery points. (see pic.) I make a set up block that matches this size, this way I can set the miter stops to the 14” that I want, and then just place the block between the stop and the stock. This will insure that I get the correct size.

I cut my short pieces first, (the stiles, or the Cope part of what is called Cope and Stick) My rails & stiles will be 1 1/2 wide so I start by cutting a board that is just shy of 4” wide. This will allow me to machine a board that’s an easier width to work with, I’ll simply make 2 pieces from this board by ripping 1 1/2” off each side when all the routing is done.

Use the Cope bit on both ends of the stile piece.

Next apply the Stick profile to the long edge of the stile material. Align the bit for the stick profile as shown in the pic below:

Use a backer board to prevent tear-out.

Next, using the Stick bit put the profile onto the long edge of the rails:

When all the pieces are routed, I cut them down to the final width of 1 1/2” on the table saw.

The rails are cut to their final length of 32” using the miter saw with a stop set at 32” Then the glue up and that’s it!

The end result is a pretty nice looking door.

-- Craig, Springfield Ohio

3 comments so far

View Robb's profile


660 posts in 3929 days

#1 posted 09-09-2009 04:19 AM

I’m really enjoying following this blog, and this entry is no exception. Thanks for sharing your experience!

-- Robb

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3572 days

#2 posted 09-09-2009 04:21 AM

More great details super blog

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View woodworm's profile


14468 posts in 3586 days

#3 posted 09-20-2009 05:29 PM

Great tutorial – thanks for sharing.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

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