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There’s a lot of talent out here in the forum, so I thought I would ask for some ideas on how to construct a kitchen cabinet door. I am rebuilding my kitchen cabinets. I own a set of traditional bead and rail cabinet door bit set, but the boss (my wife) wants a different look. We came up with the design that’s shown in the photo. As you can see, there is really nothing special about them. The main detail is that the inside front edge of the frame is slightly rounded over (1/8" radius). Unfortunately, since I can’t use the router bit set, I needed to cut the mortise, tenon, groove for the plywood and radius on the frame in sperate operations.

Here’s the dilemma. When doing a stub mortise and tenon like this I usually just make the mortise at the same time as the groove for the plywood by running the frame edge along a ¼" router bit, but that 1/8" radius makes that method impossible. If I cut the grooves for the plywood before cutting the radius, which would be easiest, the bearing for the 1/8" radius bit falls into the groove, and won’t register. The way I did these doors was to cut the mortise and tenon, clamp the frame together, cut the radius, then un-clamp and cut the grooves for the plywood. This is a bit of a pain, but works. I thought of doing a cope and stick manually, but with a total of 30 doors to make, I did not want to spend that kind of time.

I looked for a bearing for the router bit that was longer and would register below the groove on the bottom of the frame, but could not find one. Has anyone ever done this before, and is there a better way to get this accomplished that I am overlooking?

Wood is red oak and the plywood is red ¼" red oak veneer plywood. Thanks.
 

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Why go to all of the work of the mortise and tennon? Your final product is just going to look like a butt joint so why not just use a butt joint?

George
 

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The easiest way to do those and get the same look is to cut the frame parts, and glue together with butt joint. Run a rabbet bit on the back edge and a radius bit on the front. Cut the plywood to fit the rabbet and glue in place (you could tack it in a few places). Being glued in place, the joints aren't likely to separate. I've never had one separate.

Or, if you are concerned about the joint, M&T the parts before assembling the frame. Or use a loose tenon or a dowel.








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Use a router table with a fence so you don't need the bearing on the bit. The rails are a straight run but you need stops for the stiles both starting and ending. Make a long fence that fits tightly around the bit and set it even or just slightly before the bearing face. Clamp some starting and ending blocks to it. When you drop the stiles on the bit, move in a fluid motion, don't stop or be jerky, or you will get a burn. With a round over bit, you can set it so the profile will be the same whether you run flat or up on edge. This can be important so you can run with the grain. If you didn't figure your stiles so they are arranged to go with the grain, you'll get some blowout. Flipping the stile may eliminate this problem.

They do make rail and stile bits in different profiles which could make things easier. Getting corners exactly correct without burning will be a challenge the other way but it can be done. Another option is to make long plugs to temporarily slip in the groove for routing, then do as you have been doing.
 
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