# cope and stile doors #1: just a cab door tutorial

 Blog entry by patron posted 07-14-2010 04:08 AM 2699 reads 10 times favorited 40 comments
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hi folks ,
i have been doing some catch up work for a friend ,
who’s cabinets i built and installed years ago .
since then he has changed the kitchen slightly ,
and needed some new ones .
so i decided to show you all how i have learned , over the years .
as a cabinet door maker in shops around the country ,
and some of the things i have learned about it .
i go for fast and easy , nobody pays me to take my time on this stuff ,
get it out last week !
this is only 7 doors i am making now ,
but have made 50 to 100 at a time in places ,
and replicating designs is always a challenge ,
even my own .
i fortunately have the patterns i made then for the panels ,
and bought some rail and stile router bits ,
to match those i had borrowed for the first doors .
here is the look i am working towards ,

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this is something i invented for all my rail lengths ,rather than just doing the math for them ( i always make a mistake here , i figure the combined width of the stiles ( for this 5” ) ,
and subtract the dado grove depth times 2 ( two groves for two stiles ), in this case the cutters do a 3/8” dado ,
so 3/4” off of 5” leaves 4 1/4” that my rail must be under the width of the door .
i make a block 4 1/4” long , ( or whatever the size may be , different cutters have different dados ,
and different stile widths need different size blocks .
i lay out my tape , and place the end of the block on the width of the door ,
and read the number on the other end of the block to get my rail length .
it will read to amazing accuracy !

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here i start by laying out all the wood i need for this ,

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i only joint the edge , not the face , to much waste in warped boards,
and to much wear and tear on my planer , flattening wide boards ,
you will see why i do this as we go .

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now i rip all the wood to 1/8” over it’s final size ,
keeping it all standing on the first edge , ( i like to thing it is straighter than the sawn one for some reason ) ?

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now i plane the second edge (the one that is up) , and turn them over ,
and plane the other edge to size ,
it i need to plane the first one again ,
i can do 1/32” on it first , and put it with the pile ready for the last pass ,
i do this first , because the board is wider and stays truer this way ,
i have had planers that pinched so much , they twisted the wood out of square this way .

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now i can plane both faces a little at a time ,
turning them over with each pass , and can eliminate some bad spots on the faces or edges ,
by planing that face more than the other better side , ( why keep planing it , if it is already good ) ?
now you may wonder here why i haven’t jointed the face at all , simple ,
i will cut my adjoining double door center stiles from the straightest pieces ,
always the long ones first , the hinge side can be slightly bowed , as the hinges straighten it out some ,
and i cut around any flaws and knots , saving the left overs for shorter pieces , the end already square and ready for the piece it wants to be .

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here i lay all the boards with the crown up ,and cut and mark the crown face ,
this keeps all the door parts crowning the same , tight at the top and bottom of the box , not sticking out there .

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here we have all the parts for all the door frames , i mark them a,b,c,d, ,
and also mark the rails with an x , so i don’t cope the end of a stile by mistake .

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now i take the rails , and with a backup block on the crosscut guide and a fence ,
i cope the ends , with the crown face down , ( that’s the way these cutters work )

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then all the parts get the stile edge done . again the crown face down .

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and here we have a door frame ready for the panel , exactly the right width .

that’s all for now folks , thanks for looking ,
i hope some have been given sufficient help to do this if you want to make these kinds of doors .
tomorrow we will see about the panels !

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