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Building a T&G Door

Building a T&G Door

This was one of the first things I tried when I got my router table. A simple,
easy to make tongue and groove door. All it requires is a groove along
the rails and stiles, 4 tongues (tenons) on the rails and then either
a raised or flat panel.

Like with every bit of woodwork I do, big or small, I like to start with a
quick plan and cutting list which should stop mistakes when cutting the
pieces to length.

The tongues (tenons) are 10mm long so when working out the measurements for the width
of the door you take the width of the opening -in my case it’s 230mm-
then take off the width of the stiles,( I used 40mm stock so I took off
80mm) then add the length of the tongues each side -so I added 20mm -
which gives a final measurement of 170mm. That’s how long the rails need
to be and is also the width of the panel.


(click photo to enlarge)

Once you’ve worked out the measurements of the rails, stiles and panel you can start cutting everything to their final length. I’ve set up a stop block on the mitresaw, this is especially useful if you have more than one door to make.


(click photo to enlarge)

That’s the two rails and two stiles cut.


(click photo to enlarge)

Lay the rails and stiles out on a flat surface. Decide which faces are better
(which ones you want showing). Once you’re happy, mark the face sides and
edges and then at each joint do reference lines so you can get the pieces
in the same order at glue up.


(click photo to enlarge)

Take one of the rails and on the end make a mark 11mm from the edge using a pencil
and ruler. This will be the depth of the groove. I know the tongue is going
to be 10mm but the extra 1mm will allow room for glue and movement for the
panel.


(click photo to enlarge)

Over to the router table – and with it unplugged from the mains insert a 6mm
cutter. By eye adjust the fence till the router bit is centred to the thickness
of the rail. Set the height of the bit half way to the pencil mark you made
in the step above (about 6mm).


(click photo to enlarge)

Plug the router back in and start running all the rails and stiles through.
You could set up a feather board to keep the pieces firmly against the
fence but as I was only doing a quick sample I didn’t bother.

Once you run the piece through on one face turn it around and run it along the
other face making sure the groove you have just cut is still facing down.
This will create a perfectly centred groove.

I used a push stick to aid the pieces through and to keep my fingers away
from the router bit and I wore a P2 dust mask.


(click photo to enlarge)

Once you’ve run all the pieces through, raise the router bit to the final depth
(11mm) and then repeat the step above.

Afterwards you should be left with perfectly centred grooves in the rails and stiles.

If you are using a hardwood for the rails and stiles, then I would cut the groove
in at least three passes. Raising the router bit higher, taking a little
amount off at a time until you reach the final height.


(click photo to enlarge)

The next job is to cut the tongues (tenons) Take one of the rails and make a
mark 10mm from the end using a pencil and ruler.


(click photo to enlarge)

Go back to the router table. Make sure it’s unplugged from the mains and then
using the rail piece you just marked 10mm and a square, set up the fence
so it’s 10mm from the edge of the router bit. Now it would make sense to change the router bit with a wider bit but as I only had two rails to rout I didn’t change bits, I just took multiple passes.


(click photo to enlarge)

To
set the router bit height, lay one of the rail pieces down flat on the
router table and adjust the cutter height so it’s flush with the inside
of the groove as shown in the picture to your right.


(click photo to enlarge)

This
step is optional but it does help to prevent tear out. With a square and
a marking/stanley knife carefully cut a line 10mm from the end, all the
way around each end of both the rails.


(click photo to enlarge)

Go
back to the router table, plug it back into the mains and with the mitre
gauge, cut a tongue on a sample piece of wood the same thickness as the
rail pieces. Try the cut out on one of the stiles and adjust the router
bit height if necessary. Once you’re happy rout the tongues on both ends
of the real rail pieces.

To prevent
tear out and to support the short rail pieces I secured a scrap piece
of wood to the mitre gauge.


(click photo to enlarge)

Once
everything has been cut, do a dry fit to make sure all the joints are
square and flush. Although you shouldn’t have to, you can ‘tweak’ the
joints with a chisel or shoulder plane.

On one of
the rail pieces apply glue to the tongues (tenons) then attach the two
stiles to each side.


(click photo to enlarge)

Slide
in the panel without any glue. The idea is to allow the panel to float.
I used 6mm mahogany but if you don’t want to use real wood you could use
veneered MDF/Ply or even just use plain MDF/Ply.


(click photo to enlarge)

Add
the final rail, clamp up, wipe any excess glue with a damp cloth then
leave to dry..


(click photo to enlarge)

After
the glue has had chance to dry (over night is best) remove the door from
the clamps and give it a sanding. If you used good flat, straight, square
timber and took your time on setting up the router table all the joints
should be square and flush and won’t need much sanding.


(click photo to enlarge)

And
there you go, a simple T&G door…


(click photo to enlarge)

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