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Trying to refine my fine detail skills and am trying to build a small frame and panel box, about 5 x 8 and 5 inches tall. I had planned on the frame being about 1/2" thick. I have a good bit of experience with mortise and tennon but it has all been on thicker stock closer to 3/4" thick. I have a tongue and goove router bit but its meant for 3/4" stock. I was hoping to use a straight bit for grooves if thats best and a hand plane for the raised panel. Would this be best done with mortise and tennon or is there an easy way to do this on a router or is the thin stock a non starter.
 

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You can prepare your stiles and rails, then rip a groove on the inside edge with your table saw just using a single blade. If you flip the pieces end for end and make a second pass the groove will be centered. Cut a stub tenon on the ends of the rails to fit the groove. This will give you a square edge M&T frame. At this point you have several options. Leave the edges square and just soften with some sanding, use a small molding mitered around the frame interior, use a stepped molding that fits over the frame edge and the panel. You could also cut a profile on the stiles and rails, cut a deeper groove, then cut off the profile on the stiles where the rails meet and miter the profile.

There is a picture on this page but the groove stops. This will have to be done with a router bit, not a through cut on the table saw. http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthr...o-call-it-or-how-to-find-M-amp-T-with-mitered

The raised profile on the panel can be done many ways, too. A simple straight panel can be cut on the table saw. This page shows using a taller fence, tipping the blade and running the panel on edge. Some will make a carriage that holds the panel and the cut is done the same way. A number of router bits can be used to raise the edges, too. You don't need much of a profile on a small panel to look good. You can rabbett the back to fit in the groove and keep the panel flush, more or less, with the frame. You could cut the raised edge with a hand plane or rabbett plane.
http://www.woodworkersjournal.com/resource/PortablePowerTools/RaisingPanels/
 
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