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need help cutting exterior door stiles and rails

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Forum topic by onobed posted 11-16-2017 11:10 PM 1889 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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onobed

4 posts in 729 days


11-16-2017 11:10 PM

HI,

I am about to embark on building an exterior door. (1 3/4” African mahogany) I am going to use a Freud router bit set for cope and stick construction.

I have been trying to get the alignment on my mitre saw perfect at 90 degrees. I have not been successful. I am off about .01 over 3 inches. That seems way to out of true for this method of construction.

I have a Bosch glide saw and it is my guess that the blade is deflecting. I have cut successive strips with no change to my setup and the delta in width between the top and bottom of the strip is different.

So, my question: was i foolish to think that I could use a mitre saw for cutting the rails and stiles to length. Should this cut be done on a table saw?

The reason I wanted to use a mitre saw is the stiles are way to big for a cross cut sled.

Thanks in advance.


16 replies so far

View jerryminer's profile

jerryminer

798 posts in 1274 days


#1 posted 11-16-2017 11:17 PM

I get much better cuts from a table saw cross-cut sled than from any miter saw I have used.

When I build doors, I leave the stiles long and trim the entire door—top and bottom—- after assembly. A track saw is good for this, but a skilsaw and guide works well, too.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View Rich's profile

Rich

1970 posts in 422 days


#2 posted 11-17-2017 01:37 AM

I believe you can get your miter saw closer than that to square. However, assuming that you’ve got it as close as you possible can to square, off 0.01 over 3 inches, it’s not a huge problem. Your widest rail — the kick rail — will be around 9 inches, so your error is three hundredths of an inch across the entire joint. Not a huge deal. The lock and top rails will have even less error since they are narrower.

Keep in mind that with the Freud bit set, you want to cope the rails with the top of the bit off so you can cut long tenons. I make my tenons 2” long for strength. You also need to mortise for the tenons in the stiles. When you glue up the door, you want to ensure that the rails are square to the stiles. In your case, there will be a 0.03” gap either at the top of the joint or the bottom. That’s not even a full millimeter and will be barely visible. The kick rail isn’t at eye level anyway. If it drives you nuts, that tiny of a gap can be filled by any number of means.

Don’t try to get by with using the cope bit like you would on a cabinet door. The only reason they include both pieces is for things like transoms and side lights that don’t carry any load. You need to cut long tenons for the door itself.

I’ve built well over one hundred residential doors, both interior and entry, some custom, but probably more than 75% using the Freud bit set. I’ve perfected my glue-up process and discovered lots of tips along the line. I’d be happy to share what I know, just ask.

Here’s one tip: Mortise your hinge stile when it is just a stile. It’s much easier to maneuver than a 100 lb door after it’s glued up. I cut my mortises and drill and screw in the hinges, then hang the stile in the doorway to make sure everything is aligned before taking it down to complete the door. Having the hinge screw holes drilled and “tapped” will make it much easier to hang the door.

For that reason, I don’t cut my stiles long like Jerry does.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

740 posts in 328 days


#3 posted 11-17-2017 01:47 AM

Rich, I’d like to see you do a detailed blog on making these doors one day ….. (hint, hint)

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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Rich

1970 posts in 422 days


#4 posted 11-17-2017 02:08 AM

I did have a blog series for my first doors. The series got broken, but the blog posts are still up there. They’re kind of funny to read now, since I was still figuring things out. I also did a project post for my garage entry door that’s got some photos of things like the long tenons. You’re right though, that I’m missing a detailed post from showing the process from start to finish.

The demand for the doors took me by surprise. It was only about a year ago that I decided to replace the doors in my house, and when friends saw them, they wanted them for their house, and it expanded from there. All word of mouth. I’m retired and am just doing this for a few bucks on the side. Besides, it’s fun, and really easy once you get the process down.

It helps that I’m selling two-panel interior doors for less than half what the custom shops around town sell them for. Also, I don’t finish or hang the doors I sell. It’s too much of a hassle. I leave that up to their contractor or handyman, but I’ve never had a complaint about the workmanship.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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onobed

4 posts in 729 days


#5 posted 11-17-2017 02:17 AM

Thanks so much Rich. Great advice. Two questions: wouldn’t is use the bottom part of the cope bit to cut the tenon?

Also, where could I link to the pages of your blog?

Thanks and I will likely ask you for advice as this is my first door.

View Rich's profile

Rich

1970 posts in 422 days


#6 posted 11-17-2017 03:52 AM


Thanks so much Rich. Great advice. Two questions: wouldn t is use the bottom part of the cope bit to cut the tenon?

Also, where could I link to the pages of your blog?

Thanks and I will likely ask you for advice as this is my first door.

- onobed

Right. You do the cope cut with the top of the bit off, meaning you use the bottom of the bit. I guess that could have been said more clearly. For reference, which Freud bit set did you buy? The profile does affect some of the dimensions. I use the 99-268. Also, are you going to raise your panels? If so, which bit?

You can click on my profile and go to my blogs. The door posts are early in the history.

As Tung mentioned, I really should do a more detailed post on the process. When I’m working, I’m not thinking about photographing and documenting every step.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

3625 posts in 2142 days


#7 posted 11-17-2017 04:03 AM

Charles Neil recently post the video on cutting large tenons.

https://youtu.be/Z5qN8Yu8XGo

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View jerryminer's profile

jerryminer

798 posts in 1274 days


#8 posted 11-17-2017 06:22 AM


... 0.01 over 3 inches, it s not a huge problem. Your widest rail — the kick rail — will be around 9 inches, so your error is three hundredths of an inch across the entire joint
- Rich

This is true, but if you cut everything to finish size before assembly, the error will become 0.120 over the width of a 36” door—about 1/8”—too far out for me. I would (and do) square up the door after assembly.

Keep in mind that the end cuts of the rails can be off square, as long as the cope cuts are square. So you can cut your parts with your miter saw (with the error) and be fine. Concentrate on making the cope cuts square.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

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onobed

4 posts in 729 days


#9 posted 11-17-2017 06:56 AM

Jerry – thx. Question: what’s your trick to cope at a 90? Is it just make sure your coping sled is at a right angle to the router fence? Dumb question I am sure but my pride has left the building.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

3625 posts in 2142 days


#10 posted 11-17-2017 07:14 AM

This won’t help with square. It many not help at all. I show setup stuff with Freud bits

https://www.ptreeusa.com/PDF/EDMS-Instructions.pdf

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Rich's profile

Rich

1970 posts in 422 days


#11 posted 11-17-2017 09:03 AM


This is true, but if you cut everything to finish size before assembly, the error will become 0.120 over the width of a 36” door—about 1/8”—too far out for me. I would (and do) square up the door after assembly.

Keep in mind that the end cuts of the rails can be off square, as long as the cope cuts are square. So you can cut your parts with your miter saw (with the error) and be fine. Concentrate on making the cope cuts square.

- jerryminer

You’re right that the cope cuts being at 90º is what matters. However, even if they are off, and the angle between the rail and stile is square, then the only error will be based on the width of the rail. The width of the door has nothing to do with it.

Besides, if you do much work on residential buildings, you know that being off 1/8” over 36” sometimes means that you’re aligned with the door frame…lol You and I work to much tighter tolerances than many framers do.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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jerryminer

798 posts in 1274 days


#12 posted 11-17-2017 09:14 AM



Jerry – thx. Question: what s your trick to cope at a 90? Is it just make sure your coping sled is at a right angle to the router fence? Dumb question I am sure but my pride has left the building.

- onobed

Yes, make sure the coping sled produces a square cope cut and your rails are equal in length—at the cope—and you will get a square door.

It is, of course, easier to manage it all when your rail end cuts are square too, but the cope cut matters more than the end cut.

Not a dumb question. We all had to do our first door once. Let us know how it comes out.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View Rich's profile

Rich

1970 posts in 422 days


#13 posted 11-17-2017 11:50 AM

Not a dumb question. We all had to do our first door once. Let us know how it comes out.

- jerryminer

I’d love to see some of your doors, Jerry. Do you have any photos?

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

View Carloz's profile

Carloz

952 posts in 424 days


#14 posted 11-17-2017 01:33 PM



your error is three hundredths of an inch across the entire joint. Not a huge deal.

- Rich


I am glad I am not your customer.

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Rich

1970 posts in 422 days


#15 posted 11-17-2017 03:01 PM

I am glad I am not your customer.

- Carloz

That statement shows that you have no clue what this is about. As usual, you didn’t let that stop you from being a jerk.

Besides, I wouldn’t take you on as a customer…lol

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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