I'm considering milling the rails and stiles of the cabinet doors I'm
working on with a molding head set up on my vintage Craftsman RAS. Before
I buy the hardware I'd appreciate any feedback on this process and its
effectiveness. Does anyone have experience that they can share? Thanks in
The routers I have are 1 1/2 HP with only a 1/4 inch shaft. Is that enough
power to make it through the yellow pine for the rails and stiles? Also,
the router table I have is a lot smaller surface area than the RAS. That is
why I was interested in the molding operation on the RAS. (It scares me
too!) Thanks, Jim
You might want to rethink the whole project IMHO. Yellow pine for rails and
stiles? I believe I'd choose a harder and more stable wood. Maple, for
example, won't have nearly as much tearout when routed as yellow pine, and
it's not nearly so prone to warping.
Your router seems a bit underpowered for that job, but I could be wrong.
If your router table is at least as long as the longest piece you'll be
routing, it's long enough. That way, at least half of any piece you feed
through the cutter will be supported by the table. If you're hoping to route
30" rails and stiles on one of the little bitty benchtop router "tables" they
sell at Sears or Home Depot, I think you'll be disappointed.
Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
Save the baby humans - stop partial-birth abortion NOW
Well, I use a shaper, but wouldn't recommend the expense until you are sure
you want to make a lot of doors. I just finished an 8' tall pair for a
kitchen cabinet...a challenge but nothing extreme. I put a rail in the
middle, so the panels wouldn't be so long AND to give more shear strength to
support the shelves full of cans that are attached. If there's any interest
in this, I'll try a picture.
I have a few pine doors and they are fine. I have a friend with a roomful
and they are fine. Pine is great because it lets you do stuff with less HP
and noise. And it's safer to learn on because it's less likely to catch
cutters in wild grain. Just wait till you work some hickory or gum with
interlocking swirly grain!
Make you a table from some old ply and clamp on a 2X4 for a fence and start
practicing. You'll soon see what's important! I'd pay $150 for an old Cman
shaper before spending many hundreds on a fancy router table. But size does
matter. The longer your table, the easier to handle long cuts.
Since I do shaper cuts on doors, I don't know if you can get a bearing
guided router bit for them or not. If you can, then you don't even need the
table! Well, I just looked at Woodline.com, my favorite bit source, and
they do show beariing supported bits, so the ends should be pretty easy.
Setting the depth of cut on the shaper is tedious, because of not having the
The hardest of all is getting the rails and stiles to match up. I do all
the long cuts first, then make trial cuts on the rail ends until I get a
fit. It's always trial and error. I'll also admit that the belt sander is
the tool that sometimes finishes the process!
There you have it..all I know and more. Start trying things. Your rig will
be entirely OK for pine. I don't know about others, but good bits should be
OK in oak. My friend with the doors does panels on a router similar to
yours with no problem, but I've never seen him do it.
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