How to Make a Cope-and-Stick Joint
Andy Rae takes you step-by-step through the process, from setting up the router bits to final glue-up.
A cope and stick joint makes an attractive way to assemble the frame for a cabinet door. Mirror-image router bits cut mating profiles that fit together to form the joint; they also leave a decorative molded edge on the inside of the stiles and rails.
However, a cope and stick joint has some drawbacks. Getting the router bits at the proper height can take considerable trial and error. Because one profile is cut on the end of relatively narrow stock, you always risk ruining the cut unless you back up the workpiece as you pass it across the router bit. Finally, a cope and stick joint has a reputation for being relatively weak; the halves of the joint, by themselves, can’t compete with mortise-and-tenon joinery.
In this exclusive video, woodworker and teacher Andy Rae shows how to deal with each of those drawbacks. Go up close to see how to align the bits for a perfect cut. See how to back up the stock for clean end cuts. And see how he uses the panel in the door to augment the joint’s strength.