Power-tool Joinery: Cope-and-Stick Joints

Run the moulding and make the joint with this time-tested technique.
By Bill Hylton
Pages: 30-33

From the August 2005 issue #149
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The so-called cope-and-stick joint – a.k.a. the rail-and-stile joint, the rail-and-pattern joint, etc. – is an efficiency expert’s dream system. The joint is virtually synonymous with raised-panel doors. However, that’s a little parochial; you can use it for constructions other than doors, and the panels don’t have to be raised. But its utility in doormaking is more than enough to merit a place in your power-tool joinery repertoire.

Typically, two separate bits are used. One is the sticking (or stile or pattern) bit, and the other is the cope (or rail) bit. In one pass, the so-called sticking cutter forms the panel groove and the decorative edge profile. With this cutter you machine one long edge of the stiles, and the top and bottom rails, and both edges of mullions and intermediate rails. (To my understanding the term “sticking” stems from the profi le being formed directly on the frame member – it’s “stuck” there – as opposed to it being a separate strip that’s attached.)

From the August 2005 issue #149
Buy this issue now