rail and stile door on the table saw #1: here's my quick cab door version , JANICE !

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Blog entry by patron posted 01-10-2010 08:48 PM 18024 reads 21 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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janice asked for help making cab doors , .

this is by way of showing how i make cab doors my way .
i don’t do raised panels , unless the customer orders them to match or just ‘cause they like that style .
i allways tell them that unless they really want to spend more money ,
like twice as much for the panel wood ,
and all the time it takes to do ( i am worth something ! ) .
so i make the rails and stiles straight forward on the table saw , with a dado set ,
( they can be made with just a single blade , just have to move the work over more ) .
then i can embellish as needed to highlight the work .
the panels , i make by re-sawing my 3/4” stock and planing/sanding to 1/4” ( twice as much wood , less money ) .
i usually make the parts of the panels the same width as the rails and stiles , just for further ease , ( less
milling and messing with different sizes of wood , save more money and time ) .
sometimes i do cut outs ( as in this demo ) ,or grove and paint the pieces , sky is the limit .
so here goes .
here are the rails and stiles to start , ( i just grabbed some ripped particleboard for this demo ) .

rip a dado in the center of the pieces , ( this can be done with a single blade too , by spinning the parts around
and ripping from both sides .

only on the rails , ‘sneak up’ on the tenon thickness , by raising the saw lightly ( you are removing wood from both faces or the rail , its easy to take off to much when you double it ) .
the tenon length is from the fence to the left side of the saw .
slide rail way from fence and cut to the end , as many times as needed .

now we have frame parts ready to go together , with a dado grove all the way around inside .


i cut my panel slats 1/16” under length , and 1/8” each side , for panel expansion .
i center them by ripping off of both sides equally for this , some panels are even ,
and some are odd number of parts , adjust accordingly .
notice the left slat has a drawing on it . this is my pattern for the cutouts .

i cut the pattern piece , and use it to mark all the others ,
i always mark the parts so that they enter the scroll saw or the band saw from the same way ,
that way i get a practice rhythm going , and don’t run into problems with the direction changes in the tools

you can’t see them to well in the picture ,
but i use ’ space balls ’ for panel centering , ( they are 1/4” rubber bb’s ( rockler , etc. )

and viola !

i won’t be around for a while , as it is my turn to row the boat ,
for not paying my satellite bill in time !
bye .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

25 comments so far

View jack1's profile


2102 posts in 3992 days

#1 posted 01-10-2010 08:56 PM

This is a really nice thing to do for people. Step by step and great photos. Kudos!

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View zlatanv's profile


691 posts in 3199 days

#2 posted 01-10-2010 08:57 PM

That was quick, nice work. I like the way you use heart detail to cut out the knot. Looks good.

-- Z, Rockwall, TX

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3299 days

#3 posted 01-10-2010 09:02 PM

Janice will surely appreciate your nice tutorial. It was very well done (except for the particle board). We (I) forgive you. Just don’t sin again and all will be well. I’m in “criticism” mode this evening. Hope you don’t take it seriously. Have a nice day.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3786 days

#4 posted 01-10-2010 09:19 PM

David, this is a nice tutorial. It is well documented and explains the process well.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 3108 days

#5 posted 01-10-2010 09:22 PM

Thanks from someone not named Janice! But of course, every answer deserves two questions. I thought spaceballs were for expansion/contraction control, and they are 1/4”. Do you put them in both rails and stiles? Or just one of each, since the width is 1/8” less than total. Also, how long is the recommended tenon? Yours appear to be 1/2”?

I actually have a lot more questions, as I have only done mitered doors with biscuits, but these will do for now.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View degoose's profile


7228 posts in 3319 days

#6 posted 01-10-2010 09:34 PM

Nice blog David even I could follow it… LOL

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3305 days

#7 posted 01-10-2010 09:38 PM

thank you all ,
nail , yes , i do 1/2” tenons , makes it easier to measure ,
i do the ‘space balls ’ space for 1/8” both sides and use them there , both sides ,
it centers the panel by squeezing them some .
for length i only go 1/16”overall , as wood doesn’t expand in length very much .
mike , i didn’t need a door , and grabbed what was handy , and hey , your critique is always welcome .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View janice's profile


1116 posts in 3390 days

#8 posted 01-10-2010 09:42 PM

Oh wow, David. This is crazy! You are way to nice to go thru all of this! I should have just hired you, they’d be done already. I marked it as a favorite, this better not go away. Like I said, I have my homework to do. I’ll be looking at everyone’s suggestions. Thanks so much.

-- Janice

View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3305 days

#9 posted 01-10-2010 10:04 PM

here are some of the options ,
they come in many profiles ,
and all require a router table ,
or a shaper to use ,
many different set-ups ,
and details .
for me only worth it if the client wants them ,
or if i have 30 or 50 to do .
that is a quarter lower left for scale .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3080 days

#10 posted 01-10-2010 10:12 PM

great blog David even I can follow this and I don´t have a tablesaw
thank´s for sharing with us I will mark this just in case you never now:-)


View ellen35's profile


2734 posts in 3397 days

#11 posted 01-10-2010 10:14 PM

Very nice tutorial, David.
Easy to understand and follow.
If you don’t make it as a woodworker… try teaching!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4365 days

#12 posted 01-10-2010 10:27 PM


I’ve always used the router to cut the stiles and rails. even when I make a flat cut like you. In that case I use 1/4” router bits for the M&T.

I love the cutouts. Would be great to do something like that for a pie chest.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Jimi_C's profile


507 posts in 3199 days

#13 posted 01-10-2010 11:31 PM

Not all methods require a shaper/router table David :)

^ That’s how I’m making mine, as it gives the nice cove finish rather than just an angle, though of course you can always make the raised panels on the table saw with a simple bevel cut, as illustrated in one of Tommy MacDonald’s videos: (videos 6 & 7, can’t link them directly).

Both methods do take more time, but I think they’re more interesting than simple flat panels. I’d like to start adding more molding around the inside edge as well, to dress them up without having to use rail/stile bits on a router (since I don’t have a variable speed router yet). The construction is simple using the table saw, especially if you have a dado blade (which I now do!). The mortise/tenon doors I’ve done to date were all done with a 1/4” bit on a router, so I’m hoping the dado will speed things up considerably (and accurately).

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3305 days

#14 posted 01-10-2010 11:52 PM

jimi ,
thanks for the links ,
over the years i have made many cab and entry doors ,
and have tried just about every method possible ,
some out of curiosity , some by instruction from a boss .
they all do work , my method works for me ,
as i use it in my home to save money and time .
if you mess up a piece or two with the other methods ,
it helps if you have 3 router/shaper setups for the process ,
something most cabshops don’t have ,
so you have to reset the tools to replicate a few pieces ,
very time consuming .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View WWilson's profile


106 posts in 3027 days

#15 posted 01-11-2010 04:51 AM


Great tutorial. Thank you for the clear explanations and for sharing your knowledge. That’s why I love this site!

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