Cabinet Door Rail and Stile Joint Is A Little Loose

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Forum topic by JIMMIEM posted 12-30-2021 11:32 PM 647 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View JIMMIEM's profile


259 posts in 2293 days

12-30-2021 11:32 PM

I’m making some cabinet doors with rail and stile joints. Using Red Oak for the rails and stiles and a 1/4” plywood panel. The doors are 34” X 15”. The rails and stiles are 2” wide and 3/4” thick. One of the joints is a little loose and I’m looking for suggestions on how to tighten it. Maybe a verrrry thin sliver of wood or a glue and sanding dust paste? When I put the rail and stile together there is just the slightest amount of friction.
Thank You for suggestions.

6 replies so far

View shipwright's profile


8816 posts in 4249 days

#1 posted 12-30-2021 11:46 PM

Are you using a rail and stile router bit set?
Some are fixed and should fit every time. Others are adjustable and can be off a little if the shims in both bits aren’t set up identically.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View bilyo's profile


1542 posts in 2554 days

#2 posted 12-30-2021 11:58 PM

Shipwright asks a good question. Also, you should also figure out why just one (assuming this) is loose and the others are OK. However, the shim idea is probably a good solution. This is usually very effective if you are using mortise and tenon joints, but will probably also work for cope and stick. You might instead use epoxy for just that one joint.

View ibewjon's profile


2929 posts in 4244 days

#3 posted 12-31-2021 12:05 AM

If it’s only one joint, I would consider making a couple new pieces. Sounds like one piece moved during machining

View Rich's profile


8077 posts in 2040 days

#4 posted 12-31-2021 12:40 AM

When I put the rail and stile together there is just the slightest amount of friction.


If there’s a slight amount of friction then there should be no problem with the glue holding.

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

View JIMMIEM's profile


259 posts in 2293 days

#5 posted 12-31-2021 01:53 AM

I’m using the Infinity 2 bit set. I did the rail copes first. I reran a stile as it seemed a tad too tight and wound up making it a tad too loose. It fits the rail but if I hold it upside down it falls out….a little friction but not a lot. I suppose I could make another stile but if a wee bit of help (shim or whatever) would make it work then I’ll use it. Also, I have a 23 gauge pinner that will aid it a bit.
I’m thinking spread a thin layer of glue on both parts, sprinkle on some sanding dust, clamp it.

View Eric's profile


4919 posts in 1324 days

#6 posted 12-31-2021 02:15 AM

I would think that the glue would hold the joint just fine. The little amount of wood dust would work if it’s that loose. Keep in mind that the wood will move.

I have built frame and panel doors and cabinet sides in the past, cutting the joints with a table saw and a dado set up. Occasionally there was a loose joint, but the glue held.

-- Eric, building the dream

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