Slop in rail / stile coping cut.

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Forum topic by SouthHollow posted 09-06-2011 03:26 AM 1468 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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66 posts in 2479 days

09-06-2011 03:26 AM

Topic tags/keywords: router cabinetry

Hi All,

I’m definitely new at this, and I know it’s not the tools. I’m hoping that someone here can help me with what I suspect is a very basic mistake that I’m making.

I’m getting uneven cuts on the coping for a rail/stile kitchen cabinet door that I’m trying to learn how to make.

The challenge is most obvious on the rails. They are coming out as if they were going through the router at an angle, where the front edge is riding lower than the back edge by the time it has passed over the router.

It feels like I’m managing to some how put the pieces through the router at an angle.

thoughts on what I should be doing to get these to go through evenly?

Here is a photo of what I’m running into:

-- Alex, Los Angeles

9 replies so far

View D_Allen's profile


495 posts in 2782 days

#1 posted 09-06-2011 03:35 AM

Are you using a coping sled?
Make sure there is no sawdust or ships under the stock or the sled.

-- Website is finally up and

View canadianchips's profile


2600 posts in 2995 days

#2 posted 09-06-2011 03:37 AM

What kind of router table are you using ?
Maybe the router isn’t clamped tight enough ?
Maybe the table is flexing as you push your material through.
Try a feather board to hold material down as you feed it into the bit.
I bought a used table with a craftsman router in it, the clamp that holds the router height was broken, ever time I pushed the material into the bit the bit would wobble.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View SouthHollow's profile


66 posts in 2479 days

#3 posted 09-06-2011 04:15 AM

I’m not using a coping sled… Been thinking about that.

I’m using a rockler table-top, with aluminum insert. Porter-Cable router with the fixed base mounted directly plate. The Both the table-top and router are pretty much brand new.

I haven’t built a base for the table-top yet, so I’ve currently got it across two saw-horses. I don’t feel any flex, but it’s possible.

I’ve been pretty careful about avoiding dust under the work piece. I’ve tried pushing it through with a larger piece of scrap stock, and free-handing it, and in both cases I get the same result.

Question, Do the feather-boards make a huge difference?

-- Alex, Los Angeles

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495 posts in 2782 days

#4 posted 09-07-2011 03:19 AM

Featherboards would help. A sled would too.
Question: Do you get the same effect running the same cut with the grain as opposed to the endgrain cut?
I’m wondering if the bit is dull enough to be causing the problem. You also need to be sure the stock is of consistant thickness.

-- Website is finally up and

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3066 days

#5 posted 09-07-2011 04:20 AM

If you’re trying to do them freehand, give it up. You need a coping sled to get those just right. The sled has to travel so the workpiece is dead-on perpendicular to the fence.

It takes practice to get the setup just right, but it’s worth the effort.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3048 days

#6 posted 09-07-2011 08:12 AM

Is your workpiece straight and square? Any play in the guide bearing on the bit? Is the fence straight? Just rummaging around in my head trying to help.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

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1099 posts in 2828 days

#7 posted 09-08-2011 11:19 PM

I use a square pc of 3/4 ply scrap with a handle fixed to the top of it to act as a push block and also as a sacrificial backer for the end of the cope cut. This keeps the piece square as you push it through the cut and eliminates any chip out. Stop your cut and slide your rail away from the bit as soon as your sure you’ve made a full pass and are into the backer. Not really a sled but has worked for me for years.
Also, you’re pieces need to be perfectly flat. If your using big box, lumber/hardware store stock S4S more than likely there may be a twist in it. I started milling all my stock for door parts myself and it makes everything go together so much easier. No twist, bows, cups, and all the same thickness. This is what I’m doing in the shop now. I’ll be assembling 30 doors and drawer fronts by the weekend.

-- Gary; Marysville, MI...Involve your children in your projects as much as possible, the return is priceless.

View SouthHollow's profile


66 posts in 2479 days

#8 posted 09-10-2011 12:59 AM

thanks for the tips.

CR1 – that jig looks great. If I can get shop time this weekend that looks like the project to make.

GaryL – That sounds like quite the project you’re working on. The straightness of the stock was something I was contemplating. I may be going at this a bit backwards in my tool purchases having basically started with a router, but I’m planning to try and get some time in a friend’s shop this weekend that actually has a jointer so I can work a couple of test boards properly.

Lots to try, just hoping I can get the shop time this weekend to put the ideas to work.

-- Alex, Los Angeles

View gerrym526's profile


274 posts in 3806 days

#9 posted 09-10-2011 03:39 AM

I’m in complete agreement with GaryL’s point about stock used.
This is probably going to sound pretty basic, but have you checked to see that your stock is milled square and flat? You’d be amazed at how S4S lumber you buy can change shape as the weather changes. I’ve had some of the same headaches over joints not fitting properly after running them through a router setup. I would then take the pieces that didn’t come out right and lay them on my tablesaw. Sure enough, there would be the slightest cup or twist in the stock that showed up when laid on a perfectly flat steel table.
Same technique should also be used if you mill your own stock for the rails/stiles.

-- Gerry

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