joining rail and stile with dovetails. Is this feasible and what do I need?


I want to do something a little different with my kitchen cabinet doors. Rather than a cope/stick or mortise/tenon I want to join the rails to the stiles using dovetail joints. I visualize two dovetails at each rail to stile junction. The rail/stiles will be about 2 1/4 inch wide. So there would be 4 female parts (pardon my ignorance, don't know the proper terminology) on the long edge of each stile, 2 near each end. The corresponding rail would have the 2 matching male parts on each end. Hope thats clear. What would be a good way to make these joints. I've never used a dovetail jig and it seems to me that such wouldn't work because of the length of the stiles. Some will be 40 inches long for the upper cabinets. Am I correct about that? Will any brand of dovetail jig support doing what I want? If not, what kind of jig would you recommend for doing it? I do enjoy building jigs if there are plans or ideas for a shopbuilt solution. Open to a purchase as well. Finally, is this idea even feasible? Some of the uppers will have glass panels and the rest would probably be a simple flat panel type door.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Making the joints is not a huge problem. Most any dovetail jig system will work or you can hand cut them. The only issue I see is how would you put the panels/glass in other than a rabbet on the backside? (Like a picture frame) This type of frame does not make a very good cabinet door. Imagine the door being slammed and the glass flying out the back into the cupboard!
If you do make it, post some pictures. Dave
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I was going to put the glass in a rabbet on the backside. Isn't that how is always done? Held in place with some small molding. I thought that dovetail jigs were limited in the length of stock they could handle. More for drawer widths. Mike
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If its glass, the a rabbet and some kind of retainer is used. I just worry about kitchen cupboard doors with glass. China cabinets and other such display cabinets are not generally subject to the abuse kitchen doors get.
I did some in my kitchen but used lexan instead of real glass.
http://www.teamcasa.org/workshop/images/kitchendoors.jpg
Dave
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Correct me if I'm wrong but the 2 stiles and one rail could be grooved to receive a floating panel. The last rail to be put in place would be rabbeted and then use a piece on the back like you do for "stuck on molding" and brad it in place - not going through the panel of course.
For a glass panel, there are fasteners designed to hold the glass in-place so that's not a problem or a panel retainer like this from Lee Valley
http://www.leevalley.com/hardware/page.aspx?c=2&cat=3,44296&pF574
As for making the dovetails, I have one of these http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&pA789&cat=1,43000 but there certainly are lots of other methods and jigs just look at LV's site.
If you just want a decorative joint, you could use an inlay kit http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&pA779&cat=1,43000,51208 and construct the doors - normally - then do a "butterfly" or "key" or even a fake dovetail pattern. But matching the grain for the inlay to the door rail may be a trick.
Here's some other sites
http://www.americanfurnituredsgn.com/Butterfly%20Inlays%20.htm http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?FamilyIDU14 http://www.hartvilletool.com/product/11208?affiliate_idF5&location=tiertwoinlay
Bob S.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mike in Arkansas wrote:

bit and not a straight bit. On the other hand it might be better to use a straight bit to get rid of most of the material, then use the dovetail bit. The stile will be the length of the door plus overhang. If your rails and stiles are 2 1/4 and you cut 1/2" deep dovetails. Take the width of the door plus the overhang and subtract 3 1/2". Then just use a rabbit bit if you want to do glass doors. For a panel door do a dry fit and use a slot cutter. On the top rail you will need a rabbit. Glue the sides and bottom. Place your panel then glue the top rail. Should make for a nice looking joint.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 10 May 2006 14:05:49 -0700, "Mike in Arkansas"

The problem with this is the pins (the female part) will be running against the grain. It would be easy for the pins to be sheared off unless they were very wide. You could reinforce it with loose tenons.
-Leuf
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Right - you have short grain at the "wide" part of the mortises making these areas very fragile if they are near the ends of the rails - that's why dovetails aren't generally used with this type of joinery.
I've done this joinery in the middle of a length of rail but not near the ends. (I'd think you'd need about an inch or so of solid wood to the end to make it sturdy enough.)
--
Owen Lowe
The Fly-by-Night Copper Company
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Err..on second thought, that'd make it impossible to get the dovetails together. You'd have to make it a through tenon, inserting the loose tenon after the dovetails were together.
-Leuf
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yes, and all glue surfaces will be end grain to long grain--no holding power there. There is probably a reason that dovetail joints usually have both pins and dovetails parallel to the grain <g>.
--
Alex -- Replace "nospam" with "mail" to reply by email. Checked infrequently.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Just for fun I tried it. I put a pic on a.b.p.w. Yes cutting the dovetail on the stile was the pain. It would blow out unless I used a leading and tailing block. But it can be done. I don't think I would like to make a lot of doors that way but it does make for a different looking joint.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Okay, after all the comments here and on a.b.p.w I've decided this might not be such a great idea after all. Still think it would look great. I'll be using quarter sawn oak for the doors (maybe). Have to think of something else that will be visually different. Doors will have a kind of 'craftsman style' look. Considered m/t with a contrasting square pin but I see that done a lot. Plenty of time, still in the midst of tearing out/rewiring/building boxes/etc.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I believe doing the dovetail rail and stile joint would be even weaker on the ends of QS material...
Someone mentioned doing an inlay "butterfly" - I think that could look quite nice in a contrasting wood. You also might consider doing the ends with a standard mortise/tenon, use the butterfly there and then do your true dovetails on the center joints.
Here's a quick pic of dovetails in the middle of a rail:
<http://users.easystreet.com/onlnlowe/misc/dovetail 'n'rail.jpg>
--
Owen Lowe
The Fly-by-Night Copper Company
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mike in Arkansas wrote:

You could "breadboard" the ends of the stiles - with protruding ebony splines / caps and add a "chamfered edges protruding" ebony peg or two, and perhaps add "cloud" brackets to diagonal inside corners - assuming you're going with a flat panel or glass.
Woodline, and I assume other router bit outfits, make a special bit for routing out the back / inside lip of rails and stiles slotted for panels (wood or glass). It's a small round bit, the tip being the width fo the panel groove and rounded on the end to reduce friction, a falt "notch" that actually does the cutting, and more smooth shaft
| | | | +-+ | | | | | +-+ | ----- | | | | width of panel groove +---+ ----
Run a stiles profile that matches the front edge profile on a piece of scrap, rip the profile off, cut to size, mitered corners of course and brad in place rather than gluing - you may someday need to replace a glass panel and removing the inside strips that are merely bradded on is a lot easier than trying to remove glued parts.
If you really want to get tricky, do some line inlays in the rails and stiles. Here's the easy way
http://home.comcast.net/~charliebcz/Inlaying1.html
If you want to do wider inlays and have some bucks to spend, the Micro Fence and the new precision plunge mechanism for trim routers
http://www.microfence.com /\
Costs an arm, a leg and an eye for the complete system but it is, advertised a precision tool - far more precision than you can expect from the wood itself.
charlie b
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.