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post #1 of 9 Old 03-03-2013, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
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joinery-shaker cabinet doors

I am in the process of refinishing my recessed vanity in my master bath. I am going to veneer the front and then make new doors and drawer fronts from red oak. The style door is the simple shaker door with a flat recessed panel. The problem I am having is with the joinery on the rails and styles. I am attempting to use my table saw to make mortise and tenon joints. My problem is that the 1/4 inch 4x8 sheet of oak plywood is not 1/4 in it is thinner. I can adjust my dado blade to cut the mortise to accept the panel. The ploblem I am having is cutting the tenon on the top and bottom frame pieces. I have been cutting scaps all day and I can not get the frame pieces to fit properly. I can get the tenon pieces to fit in the mortice, but the frame pieces do not line up perfectly. I am doing something wrong? I have seen all the videos on line, and it seems very easy. I can use a biscuit or the pocket hole gadget, but from what I have read the mortise and tenon are the way to go. Please Help.
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post #2 of 9 Old 03-03-2013, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by cap33905 View Post
I am in the process of refinishing my recessed vanity in my master bath. I am going to veneer the front and then make new doors and drawer fronts from red oak. The style door is the simple shaker door with a flat recessed panel. The problem I am having is with the joinery on the rails and styles. I am attempting to use my table saw to make mortise and tenon joints. My problem is that the 1/4 inch 4x8 sheet of oak plywood is not 1/4 in it is thinner. I can adjust my dado blade to cut the mortise to accept the panel. The ploblem I am having is cutting the tenon on the top and bottom frame pieces. I have been cutting scaps all day and I can not get the frame pieces to fit properly. I can get the tenon pieces to fit in the mortice, but the frame pieces do not line up perfectly. I am doing something wrong? I have seen all the videos on line, and it seems very easy. I can use a biscuit or the pocket hole gadget, but from what I have read the mortise and tenon are the way to go. Please Help.
I would agree that M and T is the way to go. You didn't say what your are trying to cut the tenons with but I'm assuming it's the table saw with a decent blade on it.

First I would plough the trough for the door panel which is also the mortise for the rails which I like to cut 1/2" deep minimum and I want the panel to fit into the trough decently but not tightly. If the plywood is thinner than your stack dado (which is usually 1/4" minimum) then I use two thin kerf saw blades that are the same size and shim them to the correct width. Then cut the grooves in the stile and rails at the same time.

Now all you have to do is cut the tenons on the ends of the rails. For cutting cabinet door parts I would recommend a 10" ATB carbide tipped blade with 60 teeth or more. You can use your miter gauge for a tenon jig, just attach a tall wood fence to it and slide it close to the saw fence to catch the little pieces that falls off each side of the tenon. you must figure accurately the length to cut the rails so as to end up with the desired net width door. I set up and make the cheek cuts of the tenon first. It usually in not perfectly centered so you must carefully measure and reset the saw fence for each side. You will be running the rails across the blade in the vertical position with the rail clamped to the miter gauge fence and tight against the saw fence. begin with scrap wood of the exact thickness of the door parts.

Take care to crown up all the doors parts and mark the back side. Everything will fit better that way. Make sure your inside edges of the rails are joined to a perfect 90 degree angle to the face and make sure all the stile and rails are thincknessed accuratley the same.

Then measure carefully and cut the shoulders of the tenons with the rails held flat to the top of the saw table.

joinery-shaker cabinet doors-p3030051.jpg

It should look something like this and after I make a tiny adjustment to the legth of the tenon, should fit perfect.

Bret
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post #3 of 9 Old 03-03-2013, 09:03 PM
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of course you could always improve the strength of the joint by making a full through M and T, or haunch it. Pin it with a chamfered square plug while you're at it!

Bret
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post #4 of 9 Old 03-04-2013, 03:13 PM
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One thing to consider is that your stock may not all be the same thickness. I have encoutered that where I set up the dado blade to cut the stub tenons, and I get one to fit great, but then the next is sloppy. If you can thickness plane all of the material at the same time, with the same setting, you should have good results. I usually cut my stub tennons with the rail laying flat on the table saw and use a dado blade to create the tenon, flipping the piece to make sure the tenon is centered. If your stock is all the same thickness, and you've centered your groove for the panel, your centered tenon should align pretty good (within a sandable amount). If you are using a regular blade to make the groove, you'll want a blade that leaves a flat bottom otherwise you wont end up with a joint as pretty as the one Bret posted.
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post #5 of 9 Old 03-04-2013, 03:59 PM
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I have always done mine this way, but use 1/2" ply with a rabbet, 1/4" sounds thin when you knock.


Pure mathematics is, in it's way, the poetry of logical ideas. - Albert Einstein.
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post #6 of 9 Old 03-06-2013, 07:13 PM
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post #7 of 9 Old 03-07-2013, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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Bret mentioned in his post to crown up the doors. I am not 100% sure what that means. Does it have to do with the way the arc of the end grain, and if so which way is crowning up?
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post #8 of 9 Old 03-07-2013, 09:49 PM
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joinery-shaker cabinet doors-crown-up.jpg

This is what I mean by "crown up". It's exaggerated for clarity. I also match the stiles for equal crown for each door if possible.

The video.... I'm not a fan of loose tenons. Not that I haven't done them. They are just not my favorite.

Bret
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post #9 of 9 Old 03-07-2013, 10:14 PM
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Do you charge more for that, or less?
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