Should stiles and rails be flush on inside?

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Forum topic by rut posted 07-30-2012 11:05 PM 1138 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View rut's profile


62 posts in 2344 days

07-30-2012 11:05 PM

I know the answer to this is probably yes but just wondering of your opinions. I have mine flush on the top where the meet but on some of the backs there is a considerable difference (maybe 1/32”). Does it look totally unprofessional not to sand these flush (I don’t have the luxury of a wide belt sander)?


8 replies so far

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 2914 days

#1 posted 07-30-2012 11:51 PM

Rut, yeah I would make them flush. The rails and stiles should be on the same plane all around. I would use a smoothing plane to get that job done, maybe you have one you could use in lieu of a wide belt sander?

Good Luck!

-- Mike

View Loren's profile


10241 posts in 3610 days

#2 posted 07-31-2012 12:05 AM

Work the corners with a plane and maybe a sanding board
or belt sander.

Your planer is the culprit. That’s one thing about the
portable planers that comes up as you use them more.
The bigger 220 volt iron and steel planer may not
deliver as many cuts per inch but the consistency from
part to part is often better.

View thedude50's profile


3603 posts in 2440 days

#3 posted 07-31-2012 12:15 AM

Id make it flat with a no 4

-- Please check out my new stores and

View cabmaker's profile


1717 posts in 2771 days

#4 posted 07-31-2012 02:03 AM

Rut I would be a little concerned as to what is causing the problem. What are you sticking and copeing with ?Im guessing a router. Sounds as if your coping height is not in tune with the sticking. The 1/32 is certainly not catastrophic and easy to rectify but I would sure want to know why were it me.

View 12strings's profile


434 posts in 2346 days

#5 posted 08-02-2012 04:39 PM

I would also guess the router is the culprit…I had this happen with some doors for a corner cabinet, and it turned out that my router table was sagging in the middle. So even when the bits were dialed perfect the cuts would be slightly higher or lower accross the same board.

My solution for this project:
1. Sand/plan the fronts nice and pretty.
2. Leave the backs just the way they are. (I felt better about this after reading about how old woodworkers would leave scrub plane marks on the inside of their casework)...and the cabinet is for my own kitchen, so I dont’ really care what the inside of it looks like.
3. Make plans to build a new Router table top, or fix the on I have. (Not urgent because my current project is to build 2 sets of stacking bunk-beds…4 beds in all. NO router work here, just lots of Chop-saw work)

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3030 days

#6 posted 08-02-2012 05:28 PM

If the joints are flush on one side but not the other, you’re probably working with slightly different thicknesses.

Are you using dimensioned lumber? Believe it or not, dimensioned lumber can have slight variations in thickness. I had that problem fairly often before I started milling my own stock. Since then, it’s almost never happened.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View rut's profile


62 posts in 2344 days

#7 posted 08-02-2012 05:41 PM

I used rough maple that I planed in one of the cheaper planers. The wood appears to be the same thickness so it is probably something I did not setting up the bits exactly right. Anywho, I’ll break out the 80grit and sand them down.

Thanks for the input,

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3030 days

#8 posted 08-02-2012 06:04 PM

…..appears to be the same thickness ….
Appears ain’t the same as “is”. – lol When you’ve finished planing, lay the boards on a flat surface (saw table works great) and use your Mark 1 fingertips to feel for any differences. Not a digital micrometer, but your fingertips can detect very small differences.

…probably something I did not setting up the bits exactly right.
I don’t think so. If you got one side flush but not the other, it’s a thickness problem. If both sides are off, it’s probably your setup.

I have 7-8 rail and stile cutters and have spent quite a bit of time making trial cuts to get dead-on alignment. When I get it, I keep pieces of both the cope and stick cuts for setup blocks.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

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