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The best way to make a frame and panel door *PIC*

Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
The provocative title was to get some attention to this nifty way to do this construction, time tested.

A hand tool route to coped frame and panel doors.

I learned this coped fame and panel technique from Steve Hamilton in the Mack Headley shop. It is a Period Correct means of making a door frame. The result is attractive and robust. Over time the miter will never open to show a gap as it can if the molding profile is simply mitered. Once the technique is mastered it is easier to do than a simple miter at the intersection of rail and stile, and better.

The joint is illustrated in pictures 1 to 3. This joint was made as practice in the Headley shop. The large molding profile illustrates the joint better than the tiny profile in my corner cupboard door.

I cut the tenon cheeks with a tenon jig as shown in PIC 4. Note, the 5/16” thick tenon length is shorter by the width of the molding profile on the frame face, in my case 1/8”. I have tried all sorts of ways to do a tenon and keep coming back to this one. The cheeks are rough sawed off then chiseled to a scribe line, PIC 5 and 6.

A slot for the panel, in my case ¼ x 5/16 deep, is plowed the length of the frame pieces. The mortises are made with one wall at the front edge of this slot. I used my nifty Powermatic floor model hollow chisel mortiser. I do love this machine.

The tenon width is determined as shown in PIC 7. I then saw the waste off the tenon width.
The tenon is installed in the mortise and the intersection of rail and stile marked as shown in PIC 8. This mark will index the nose of the miter block shown in PIC 9.

The molding profile is removed as shown in PIC 10-12 and the 45 degree miter chiseled with the aid of the guide block.

If you have coped before you will understand the next step better. The outside edge of the molding where the 45 degree slope (miter) is chiseled establishes the outside edge of the remaining waste to be removed with a gouge. What is left is the cove on the near side of the mortise, PIC 13. This result is more easily seen in PIC 2 showing a larger molding.

The resulting handsome looking joint is shown in PIC 14.

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