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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please help a newbie by recommending the correct router bit shape. Here's some background about the project. Mom has several doors in her house that rotted. It seems that whoever assembled the doors did not paint the edges of the door slabs, and the doors did not hold up to the weather on the gulf coast. Most of the doors that have the problem are fixed French patio doors. They do not move but look exactly like the few doors that do move. For this reason, we feel the they can be repaired without too much worry since these fixed doors will not swing at all.

These painted exterior doors are 30 years old and were made by a company that is no longer in business. Each door has thin rails and stiles with one double glass pane. We've repaired a couple of doors just by using 8/4 fir boards to replace the rotted bottom and top rails. While dowels have been sufficient, we would really prefer to find a router bit with 1/2" shank to make the nice grooves that the original doors had in addition to dowels. The photo shows the door slab viewed from the top so you can see the joint (highlighted by the blue box) between the rail and stile.


We can't seem to find the same bit that the door manufacturer used. We're new at this and don't know which other styles of bits can be used. Can anyone tell which router bit is acceptable for joining rails and stiles of this thickness? Would it be a finger-joint bit? Is there instead a rail and stile bit for this wood thickness (1.75" actual thickness)? Now that you see the joint between the rail and stile, do you think the dowels are enough and perhaps the groove is unnecessary?
 

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That profile shouldn't be that difficult to improvise. A dado set to do the tongue and groove and a 45 degree router bit in a router table should be all you need. A router table could be improvised with just a piece of plywood and a straight piece of wood for a fence.

The new doors would last better if they were done with pressure treated pine. Just don't build with it if the wood is dripping wet. Either find a store that has some that is dry or let it air dry for a couple months.
 

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okay, but why? when assembled and mounted in the frames that joint is invisible. any profile 'close' would do fine.
 

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Production door shop would probably have done that on a shaper. That'd be a lot of work for a router bit. There are router bit manufacturers that will make profiles to your specifications but would probably very pricey.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
@Steve Neul,
Thank you so much. I don't yet know what a dado set is, so I'll ask Google. And thank you for the hints about letting the wood dry for an extended period. I would have made a mistake!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
@JIMMIEM, thank you for telling about the shaper. I don't know what a shaper is, so Google and Youtube will be teaching me yet again. Since we have no shaper, I'll probably try what Steve Neul said. Thanks!
 

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Rail & Stile bits are commonly called Cope & Stick.
Years ago these matched bits were available for shapers only but many shapers have been replaced over the last 30 years by mounting new larger routers under a table. These table routers become small shapers. Matched cope & stick router bits are readily available.
Cope and stick bits are basically just a decorative tongue and groove. A tongue and groove joint is basically an open mortise & Tenon.
Early tongue and groove joints were cut on a table saw and before that with a hand powered molding planes. This was when window frames were all wood. About the only time we now see this type work is on a historical restoration project and it requires a master carpenter or advanced woodworker.
 

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It will be expensive ....



This video explains "how" the rail and style process works on cabinet doors, however the router table, 3 HP router, and the bit(s) will be expensive.


To make entry or exterior doors, you will need a shaper, and even more expensive cutters. This video show how to make the larger doors:

A simple dado and tenon can be made on your table saw with a stacked dado set. The dado is used to make the grooove into which the tenon fits. Actually it's pretty simple, but your dimensions must be accurate. Test cuts are a must to get it right!
 

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@Steve Neul,
Thank you so much. I don't yet know what a dado set is, so I'll ask Google. And thank you for the hints about letting the wood dry for an extended period. I would have made a mistake!
A dado set is just two saw blades which comes with 1/8" and 1/16" chippers so you can make a groove in the wood from 1/4" to 13/16" wide. The common size for a dado set is 6" and 8". Even though the 6" set is cheaper I would recommend getting the 8". Once you start using one you will find yourself shopping for the 8" eventually so you might as well start there instead of buying two sets.
 

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If you go with the 8" dado set make sure your table saw is up to the task as it will take more power to spin it vs the 6" dado set. Also, I believe the difference will be in the depth of cut.....so maybe the 6" set will cut deep enough dadoes for your purposes.
 
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