Mid rail/stile placement

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Forum topic by John146 posted 04-13-2017 05:39 PM 1205 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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90 posts in 1496 days

04-13-2017 05:39 PM

Most frame and panel designs I’ve seen consist of full length outer rails, with stiles between the rails, and if there are inner panels, then the stile goes in the middle (spanning the full length between the outer rails) and then rails spanning between the middle and outer rails, like this:

I noticed that in my kitchen island design, I have it the other way around with respect to the inner rails and stiles: The inner stiles go first, spanning the full length between the outer rails, and the inner rails span the length between the middle and outer stiles:

My question is whether there is any structural advantage for doing it one way or the other. For the size of panels that I’m dealing with I’m under the impression that more top-down stiles will provide better support for a kitchen island where most of the pressure is coming from above.

-- John 14:6

4 replies so far

View Woodknack's profile


13552 posts in 3432 days

#1 posted 04-13-2017 05:47 PM

The corners will carry the load, minimal as it is. I can’t think of a structural reason to pick one over the other.

-- Rick M,

View mike02130's profile


170 posts in 1724 days

#2 posted 04-13-2017 10:59 PM

On a door the load is from the hinge side , the rails supply the horizontal strength. Your cabinet is supporting a downwards load. You’re fine

-- Google first, search forums second, ask questions later.

View Rich's profile


6775 posts in 1641 days

#3 posted 04-13-2017 11:05 PM

I agree with Rick. If the mullions are cut and coped properly and fit in the grooves of the stick cut on the cross rail, then you’ll get the same structural strength as a single stile in there. It really comes down to what look you prefer. My guess would be that the solid cross rail and split mullions might be more traditional.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4283 days

#4 posted 04-13-2017 11:09 PM

John, your drawing reflects the way I have been building my cabinets for the past few years.
Mainly because there may be drawers involved which would result in the mid rails being in different positions.

You shouldn’t have any problem.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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