A Time-Honored

Frame Construction Technique

You Can Do On Your Tablesaw by Lonnie Bird

These days, the frames of most frame-and-panel doors are made with precisely matched shapcr cutters or router bits that cut mating profiles on the stiles ("sticking") and rails ("coping"). But this approach has a few drawbacks. The cutters are expensive and can only cut a single profile. And a typical "cope-and-stick" joint relies on the limited glue surface of a short "stub tenon" for its strength. This type of joint is not nearly as strong as a conventional mortise-and-tcnon joint.

Although I make some types of doors with copcd sticking, I prefer a much older, more traditional technique that I call "mitered sticking." (See Fig. 1.) With this method, I can join all sores of stiles and rails, from those found on cabinet doors and face frames to those used on massive entry doors. Mitered sticking allows me to use mortise-and-tenon joints where stiles join rails. And I can use sticking profiles that can't be matched with coping cutters, such as the quirk-and-bead profile.

Economy and simplicity are other important advantages with this technique. To construct doors or frames with mitered sticking, all I need is an edging bit to produce the sticking profile and a tablesaw to miter it.

Preparing Stiles and Rails

Once I've determined the sticking profile, it's time to dimension the stiles and rails. I cut the stiles about 2 in. longer than their finished length. This extra length offers insurance against splitting when I cut the mortise near each stile end. It also makes it easier to clamp the stile in my hollow-chisel mortiscr. Til trim off the excess "ears" after the door is glued up.

Each stile needs to be marked up with crisp, precise layout lines that extend across a face and edge of each member.

Miters, mortises and tenons. A traditional alternative to coped frame joinery; mitered sticking allows frame members to have the strength of mortise-and-tenon joints. The door shown here has a quirk-and-bead sticking profile, one of many possible when using this technique. i


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