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What options do I have for the joinery on raised panel door frames?
I'm building an armoire with raised panel doors approx. 30"x14" with the door frame 2 1/4" wide (3/4 material). While I've done M&T before on table legs, they were much wider than 3/4" and using a router was, well, not easy, but easier than on this narrow of a material. I spent most of Saturday trying the neander route practicing on scrap with a chisel, but the mortises were inconsistent, narrow in spots, wide in others. By the time I got the tenons whittled down to fit it, they looked like toothpicks. So yesterday I built a jig to route mortises only to find the template on my router that my jig relies on prevents the router bit from extending very far, and they ended up being off center anyway, ...argh.
I don't have a drill press or a mortising machine (obviously), and from what I've read the coped router bits for door frames require a real router table (not my cheapee sheet of plywood with a hole in it) and hold-down plate and clamp so you can route the end grain smoothly.
At this point I just want to get the doors finished, but I want them to hold up. Can I use a biscuit joiner for the frame joinery? Like everything else on the Internet whenever I do a search for something I find half the people say "yes, you can", and the other half say "no way".
Any recommendations for the joinery ideas welcomed.
-- Cheers! Duke
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Hi Duke,
FWIW, when I built the cabinet doors for my workshop (about 10 years ago), I used a combination of MT, biscuits, dowels and cope/stick - just to experiment with the construction and to see if one method would outlast the others. I made a total of 13 doors - 2 or 3 with each method of joinery.
They are all oak 3/4 oak rails & stiles with a 1/4 flat panel oak plywood. Most of the doors were about 18 x 24 or so.
They get banged around quite a bit and none of them has failed yet.
My preference today is cope & stick since I got my shaper a few years back.
Good luck!
Lou
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On Mon, 19 Apr 2004 06:58:33 -0500, "Dukester"

for doors that size biscuits will work fine.
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wrote:

What size biscuits do you recommend? (I've not used a biscuit joiner before).
-- Cheers, Duke
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On Mon, 19 Apr 2004 10:36:13 -0500, "Dukester"

the widest biscuits that will fit inside the joint. #20 biscuits fit in a 3" joint, IIRC....
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Dukester wrote:

IMHO, you really should use m&t construction. It's one of the oldest forms of joinery (if not the oldest) for a reason. Like most any form of joinery, there's a price to pay, and that is using the right tools and practicing the joint beforehand.
For m&t joints you need a mortising chisel (unless your name is Lowell :-), a decent mortise gage (or multiple single gages), a good saw for cutting cheeks (rip configuration) and one for shoulders (crosscut configuration).
I could ramble on and on about how I do the joints, but there are somoe basic technques involved. Scribe the width of the mortise with your gage(s), sizing the mortise to the chisel width (I do mine the *slightest* bit larger than the width of my chisel). Scribe all mortises from the face side of the work. Mark your chisel-back for the desired depth using a "permanent" Sharpie or such. Readup an in any book on techniques for chopping mortises.
Once they are done, lay out your tenons with your gage(s), again from the face side of the piece. Saw your cheeks, shoulders and round over the edges slightly with a rasp or file. Test fit and adjust with a chisel or shoulder plane as needed.
Chuck Vance Just say (tmPL) And practice a bunch of them before hacking up your special project-wood.
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I've used dowels to do this. Handdrill was all I used.
Brian.

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