Offset Rabbets Make Double Doors Stronger
In “Illustrated Guide to Doors” (FWW #204), Andy Rae shows a pair of doors that meet with a beaded lap. Placing the bead on the right-hand door, as the illustration shows, greatly weakens the lap. There is little material left after beading if the rabbet is half the thickness of the stile. Wouldn’t it be better to bead the left-hand stile, where the bead would be cut into the full thickness of the stile?
Richard Byrne, Staunton, VA
Thanks for pointing out the danger of weakening the stile by cutting a bead above the rabbet. You can strengthen the bead by cutting unequal rabbets. On the right-hand door, the rabbet should be shallower than on the left. This makes the beaded lap stronger, because there is more material under the bead.
A second option would be putting the bead on the left-hand stile, as you suggest.
You also could forego the lap altogether, but you’ll allow more dust and light into the cabinet, and you’ll also introduce one more critical gap into a series of critical gaps, making a perfect fit harder to achieve. And in either of these two solutions, the stiles would need to be of unequal width to keep the bead centered, giving you more dimensions to keep track of.