I need some input from the group on laying out rails and stiles for
face frames and panel doors.
I am building a couple of bookcases that have face frames and panel
doors on the lower portions. I plan (at least for now) to join the
door frames with mortise and tenon joints. The face frame may be
joined with pocket screws. Looking at the cabinets in my kitchen, I
note that they all have the face frames and doors built the same way,
namely stiles that run the full height of the object (face frame or
door) and rails to fit between the stiles.
I can imagine that one could build them opposite with rails running
the full width and the stiles sized to go between the rails. This
raises the following questions in my mind that I hope you all will
1. Is there a structural reason for arranging the rails and stiles a
2. Is there an ascetic reason for arranging the rails and stiles a
3. Would it wrong (ascetically or otherwise) to have the rails and
stiles on the face frame be opposite to the rails and stiles on the
Thanks for your input,
Wow, an actual woodworking question. Thanks!
With a cope and stick type frame, I suppose some argument could be
made about structural reasoning and even then I am not sure one
configuration could be proven better than another. Regardless, if you
will do M&T it really isn't a structural issue. I would say it is more
of an issue of tradition and aesthetic.
Regarding the face frames, they are actually a hodge podge where the
top and bottom rails usually run full width with the vertical pieces
captured between them, the opposite of typical rail and style.
However, drawer openings, starting at the bottom of the first one down
from the top, do have the horiz piece captured. Therefore, a
relationship between FF and door panel is not really an issue. Make
the FF in the most efficent configuration.
I think using the typical rail and style config is really the best for
the door frames. I do believe even the uneducated viewer (non-
woodworker) will notice something strange to the layout of the doors.
The only caveat I would add to this is if the ddors are to be painted
and are finished such that you can't really see the joint, then in
makes no diff.
Well, it may seem that way simply looking at the joints but generally
the reason for such layout is that the face frame for a given set (built
in place rather than the every-module-independent style of the
store-boughten modular approach) are built as an independent panel that
is then attached to the cabinet. That means an outline of the overall
size so the top and bottom (and perhaps drawer bottoms) are continuous
to the end verticals with the interior verticals matching inside.
At least that's the way I learned/was taught... :)
$0.015, ymmv, etc., etc., etc., ...
For strength, the longest dimension of the door should be
uninterrupted. This means, if you have a conventional door - taller
than it is wide - the stiles are continuous and the rails cut in. In
a wide, short door, the rails would be continuous and the rails cut
in. With proper dimensioning, you could make either design *look*
right (but not as strong...).
Perhaps, on some door styles the rails and stiles are not the same width,
often the rails are wider than the stiles. You have much more glue surface
with a wide rail attaching to the side of a narrow stile than you do with a
narrow stile attaching to the bottom or top of a wide stile.
Yes, typically you try to hide the endgrain. End grain that points up and
down is less noticeable than when it points left and right.
It might look out of balance and or mismatched. Sketch it up both ways and
see which you like better.
Yes. Vertical styles generally go full length, with the rails let into
the style. (http://tinyurl.com/dxvb2 ) This looks correct, it is how
most (all?) commercial cabinets are made. This hides the end grain in
face frames and larger doors. Smaller doors it just looks right, I
guess out of habit.
Generally I think it would be wrong and would look wrong. I'm sure
there are exceptions.
As far as face frames are concerned, pocket screws rule. It's hard to
believe how easy face frames are made with pocket screws.
On built-in's, some folks don't like to see any except end stiles going
to the top, even on long runs where you may have to put two or more
components together, particularly when there is crown.
I'm used to it from installing shop built kitchen cabinets where it is a
fact of life, but it can be a BIG bone of contention for some. AAMOF,
I'm working on a project with a high dollar designer, as we speak, who
comes to mind. :)
That said, in all exposed exterior work, I'm of the school that the top
rail should always run on top of stiles in any frame, from windows to
gates ... amazing how many folks don't heed that time honored detail
I like the extended top rail look a lot, especially on windows ...
brings to my mind the early 20th century, a la Craftsman exteriors.
If you don't spec it these days it will mitered corners, all the way to
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