Need guidance on finding rail and stile bit - Router Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-02-2020, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Default Need guidance on finding rail and stile bit

I’m newish to routing and am trying to simplify creating some cabinet doors. When I look at the bit sets there seem to be 5 or 6 designs. I have an example of what I’m looking for and am hoping there’s a simple way to do it. I could create a simple missionary style and then create a separate piece of trim and piece them together which seems way more difficult than getting a set of rail and stile bits. Is there any “easy” way to do this design? Thanks a ton for your input.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-02-2020, 09:02 PM
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Hi Garrett and welcome. That isn't a profile I recognize. I can't be sure from the picture but are you sure that the rails and stiles are single pieces instead of moldings that were added onto a basic frame? The fact that the panel is both flat and cracked makes me think that it may have been an amateurish effort since the correct method is to float the panel in the frame to keep it from cracking the way it did.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-03-2020, 02:20 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cherryville Chuck View Post
Hi Garrett and welcome. That isn't a profile I recognize. I can't be sure from the picture but are you sure that the rails and stiles are single pieces instead of moldings that were added onto a basic frame? The fact that the panel is both flat and cracked makes me think that it may have been an amateurish effort since the correct method is to float the panel in the frame to keep it from cracking the way it did.
Hi Chuck. That’s a demo door at a store. I think they did use molding, I’m just curious if there’s anything similar out there that wouldn’t require me to go down that path. I’m doing new doors for my sister’s kitchen and am trying to keep the project under control, she’s already having feature creep. 🙂 I guess I am surprised at how few options I’ve been able to find in rail and stile bits. I figured there would be more.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-03-2020, 07:57 AM
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Welcome aboard Garrett. Have you visited sites that carry the rail and stile sets for a good idea of what is available? Most show the set and the profiles they present. Are you trying to do raised panels or another style? One such site with some additional info is here while another is here I buy and use Whiteside with some Infinity Tools bits as well. Hope I did' misread the post.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-03-2020, 08:08 AM
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You've probably seen all the designs so your sister should just pick one and then go for it. I have done a fair amount of doors and have used bits from several places including Harbor Freight. The ones that are budget-friendly and last I got from MLCS. If you ate only going to do a few doors and by that I mean 50 or 60 then don't waste your money on an expensive set of bits. If you plan on doing painted raised panels then I would go with 3/4" MDF. If you are going with flat panels then 1/4" MDF. Be aware that the bits you get may not exactly fit the panel size. Raised panels are easy you just adjust the height of the bit. For flat panels, you may need to reduce the thickness a little to fit into te groove. This is easily done with a 1/4" rabbiting bit. Whatever design you choose be sure to use feather boards and use a miter gauge on the rail ends to get a square cut. The hardest part is getting the bits at the correct height. If you have two routers that would be best. If not the make some extra pieces in case you have to redo something. Also, it's best to do all the rails at once then all the stiles. When done you shouldn't be able to feel any anything when the rails and stiles are put together. If you can then you have to go back and readjust one or the other and start over.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-03-2020, 09:19 AM
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Looking at the picture, I am fairly confident you won't find a bit to create that pattern as a raised panel. It looks like strips edged with a roundover or beading bit (depending on the style you would choose) and laid into a frame and that holds the panel in place. If you do it this way, don't glue the strips to the panel...allow it to float.

Best of luck...and welcome to the Forum...
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-03-2020, 10:52 AM
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It might be possible to recreate that profile with other bits but that still leaves a big problem in the construction of a door. With a rail and stile set you get one bit that makes the profile you see while another bit makes the reverse pattern of it on the ends of the rails. That way the ends of the rails mesh perfectly with the stiles. Otherwise you'd need to cut a 45 miter through the stile profile and trim the bottom and top ends of the stiles flush so that the ends of the rails would butt up to them. That miter several inches inward from either end of the stiles and then trimming from that miter to the ends smooth is tricky work. I see pros do it in magazines like Fine Woodworking but it's not something the average woodworker wants to do without practicing on enough scrap to figure out how to do it reliably.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-03-2020, 11:58 AM
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When you decide on a rail and stile set, I suggest you get one that allows for longer tenons...(check out the Freud adjustable rail & stile set)...you might need the extra strength if the door is heavy...others might chime in on this...

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-03-2020, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback everyone, I am super excited I found this great community! I Grew up watching my dad use a router and always wanted to do it myself. I got into woodwork about 5 months ago and my buddy gave me a router and I fell in live with the opportunities it offered. My dad passed unexpectedly a few weeks ago so I didn’t get a chance to do a project with him, that was on my list. But enough about me and back to the post. I appreciate the feedback, love links to more supplies and I think you all reinforced exactly what I thought. There isn’t a way to do it simply with a rail and stile set (I am not doing a raised panel). My sister is going to have to choose from what’s available. Thanks again for all the responses.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-03-2020, 08:23 PM
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Good decision. BTW welcome. You might take a look at some of the videos on youtube. I learned a lot by watching Marc Sommerfeld's videos. He sells router bits, but he was a cabinet maker before that and his videos show very basic techniques that will take you a long way on your path to woodworking with a router.

Here's a video (part 1) to get you started.

I'm also attaching a pdf of the 18 things that accelerated my learning curve. I'm about 12 years in to woodworking, and this pdf covers a lot of expensive lessons. It's long (10 pages) but has pictures. Don't try to do everything in it at once unless you have an unlimited budget.

BUT, DO get yourself a decent dust mask and put it on and keep it on whenever you're cutting wood with any tool. That sawdust is extremely hard on your lungs. Hopefully, the pdf will save you from making the same costly mistakes I made.

Stick should be along soon with a whole series of pdfs on using a router. As good a guide as any book you might buy.
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