rail stile newbie - help getting started

Never done this before -- so be gentle.
Want to try making up some doors - thinking oak for rails and stiles and *thinking* 1/4" oak plywood for panels. I'm guessing I can get by with just a simple rail/stile bit set like this: http://www.routerbits.com/cgi-routerbits/sr.cgi?1085072202_11812+81
Coupl'a questions: - don't need the raised panel bit, often found in 3 piece sets, since I'm using flat 1/4" plywood for the panels, right? - I like the Whiteside 6004 style. Diagram shows one bit - but *two* come, since I need the "cope" and "stick" profiles, right? - "cope" and "stick" are the right terms? Instead'a "male/female" "Left/Right"?
These doors are destined for some basement cabinets, thus my desire to reduce costs by using plywood panels. Any thing special about making panels out of plywood? Will the undersized thickness of the plywood mean the panels will rattle in the frame?
Any websites out there with some "getting started instructions" or "tips 'n techniques" I can peruse?
Thank you!
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Correct. The raised panel bit is pretty useless anyhow because it is normally too small. You need a 3hp for a real raised panel bit, and since most people don't have one they give you a little bit that is pretty useless.

a little cheaper, but the pair saves a lot of fussing and presumably lasts longer. If this is your only project, buy a single. If you expect to be doing more in the future, buy the pair.

I happen to prefer plywood to raised panels, but that is just me. Yes, undersized will rattle a little, but it is nothing serious. They make undersized bits to go with it if you see it as a problem.

I have bought from MLCS (or MCLS, or something like that...) They include a booklet that explains how to use all the specialty bits.
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I don't agree. I've cut many raised panels, as well as stiles and rails, in oak, MDF, birch, and ash, with a Bosch 1617EVS in a table. The 1617 is only 2-1/4 HP. I have no urge to upgrade to a larger router in my table. I usually use 2 passes, using a stop block behind one end of the fence. I align the fence for a perfect cut with test blocks, clamp the block in place, and move that end of the fence about 1/2" out from the block. It works like a charm. Even with bigger routers, I prefer two passes, a hogging cut and a finish cut.
At one of our local woodworking schools, the owner used an older DeWalt 1 1/4 HP router in a table for EIGHT YEARS with good results. <G>

Ditto. Go with the two bit set over a single bit.
Barry
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Just take lighter passes. I have PC7518 and have always used 3 passes but then I'm a hobbiest. BTW most people don't own a 3+HP router wheres that survey??
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The Whiteside 6004 is a 2-piece set. Having said that, some C&S sets come with just one bit - these have 2 sets of cutters on the same shank, and one simply raises or lowers the cutter according to which cut one is making.
"Cope" and "Stick" are the AmerEnglish terms. In the UK, they'd be described as "scribe" and "profile" bits, respectively. Confusingly enough, we also talk about coped joints, coping planes etc, and the old term for cutting a profile with an old-fashioned moulding plane was "sticking a moulding"
Some snippets:
Your stock must be accurately square, with opposing faces and edges exactly parallel, and free from winding and, particularly, cupping. This method of doormaking is very intolerant of inaccuracy. Make extra stock for practice cuts.
Finish sand as far as you can before making the cuts, bearing in mind the need for accurate squareness. You'll still have some levelling and cleaning afterwards, but there's less risk of sanding off part of your profile.
Get organised - Mark the face side and face edge on all components and stack the components in the order and orientation in which they will go through the cutter, otherwise you're in danger of cutting a profile on the outside of the stile, instead of the inside. Etc
Cut the copes before the profiles, if possible - the succeeding profile cut will tend to clean-up any slight breakout by the cope cutter on half the joints at least.
Run a series of practice cuts on stock of the exactly the same dimensions. Use an accurate height gauge to note the cutter settings, so that you can repeat the cuts, when you find - after you've changed the bit, of course - that you've missed a couple of pieces. Once you've got the practice cuts right, keep a cope and a stick offcut as patterns, so that you can simply use them to set the cutter heights on the next project.
Glue a strip of abrasive paper to your mitre fence to stop the work creeping out of the cutter as you cut the copes.
Use a sacrificial block behind the workpiece to stop breakout when you're cutting the copes. You may want to stick some abrasive paper to this as well.
Use hold-downs and/or featherboards wherever practical, and lube your router table with wax or somesuch.
Do your glue-ups on a dead flat surface.
DAMHIKAT.
Cheers
Frank

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<snip>

No we don't. I've never heard of a coping plane. I meant to write "coping saw".
Cheers
Frank
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Here are a few sites with some good tips. One is for raised panels, bur the procedure on the rails & stiles is the same.
http://www.infinitytools.com/Images/pdf/infinrailstilesetup.pdf
http://www.newwoodworker.com/bldraspnldors.html
HTH
Big John
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You have had several other answers but I didn't see anyone address the problem or the panel rattling. That can be mostly eliminated by space balls, or some other rubber like substance in the panel grove.
Wayne

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We won't hurt you...
Yep.. you need a matched rail & stile set...
Flat panels are accepted through out the entire free world.
You need to order some "space balls" to handle any rattle...
or
Use a dab or two of glue...
Freud dealers generally have a very detailed brochure that was an article in American Woodworker a year or two back. THe brochure as well as the article are excellent "paths" to take...
or
here is one from Jesada...
http://www.jesada.com/instructions/2bitset.html
mttt wrote:

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I think Frank pretty much said it all. One little thing I might add is that my cutters are also for 1/4" panels and 1/4" plywood fits really loose. I use 1/2" ply that is rabbetted to fit the groove. It gives a heavier, more substantial door. Also, spaceballs (http://www.cshardware.com/spaceballs.htm ) help keep down the rattle.
Check out http://www.sommerfeldtools.com/tutorial-finetunerailstile.asp and although you aren't doing arched doors - http://www.sommerfeldtools.com/tutorial-archedraisedpaneldoors-1.asp .
http://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/smarthtml/graphics2/03railstile1.pdf
http://www.newwoodworker.com/bldraspnldors.html
In spite what one of the articles say, always do the cope cut first, then the stick cut. Make your rails a little wider than what is required for glue up. That way you can trim it to width which takes care of any "blowout" by the cope cutter. Also, if I want stiles and rails that are 2 3/8" wide, I glue up doors with 2 7/16" stiles and rails. After glue up, I trim off 1/32" of each of the stiles with a jointer and 1/32" off the top and bottom with a crosscut sled to clean up the door.
Preston

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