When machining cope-and-stick joints on a router table, the “stick” bit that cuts the profile along the edges of the rails and stiles often causes tear-out.

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Illustration showing a board being pushed along router bit with a feather board to hold it in place. Two extra boards on table.

When machining cope-and-stick joints on a router table, the "stick" bit that cuts the profile along the edges of the rails and stiles often causes tear-out, especially in red oak and hard maple. To avoid that, I first use my tablesaw to score shallow rip cuts (about 18 " deep) in two places: along what will become the outside edges of the panel groove, and also the shoulder of the profile on the face. Then I go to the router table and rout the stick profile—with zero tear-out.
—Bob Hunter, WOOD® magazine