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Prepare Your Rails and Stiles

You'll avoid a lot of heartburn if you plane and rip your rails and stiles to matching thicknesses, widths, and lengths.

There is no design rule that requires rails and stiles to be the same width. For aesthetics, you may create a design with rails wider than the stiles. Here are leading advantages:
Rails and stiles the same width: quicker setup at the tablesaw to mill parts.
Rails wider than stiles: easier to distinguish rails from stiles. Also more glueing surface.

Freud's Adjustable Rail & Stile Innovation Center

Pick stock that's perfectly flat for the rails and stiles. The Freud Premier Adjustable Rail & Stile (PARS) bits are compatible with stock from 5/8" thick to 1-1/4" thick. For consistency, plane all the rail and stile stock at one time.

For details about calculating the length of the rails and stiles, see Raised Panel Doors below. This resource also includes more details about cutting raised panels.

If you haven't already selected a bit profile, select one from the Four Popular Bit Profiles link below, before starting the steps below.

1. Plane stock to 3/4" for rails and stiles, then to width. (We ripped our rails and stiles to 2-1/2" wide).

2. With calipers as shown at right check your stock for uniform thickness.

3. With your fingers, check your stock for uniform width and length, as shown at right.

4. To set up the widths and depths of the PARS cuts, prepare 6–8 extra scraps (exact thickness and width of your stiles and rails) and at least 8" long.

5. If you're just getting started making rail-and-stile doors, we'd recommend cutting at least one extra stile and one extra rail for each pair of doors in your project.

Tip: It's easy to get confused or in a hurry when making repetitive cuts. To limit errors on cutting the wrong side of a rail or stile label the best side of each rail and stile. We chalked an "F" on the face (front) of each cherry rail and stile. Most (but be careful! not all) cuts with the PARS bits are made with the face or "F" DOWN and against the table.

If you see a white "F" before you start cutting, you may be about to make an oops!

Tip: An efficient dust collection system will allow you to keep the workpiece tight against the fence and table.


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