Simple Cope and Stick DoorsLearn how to build simple, beautiful cope and stick doors that stand up to heavy use.
When Fine Woodworking art director Michael Pekovich was faced with making 31 cabinet doors, he soon realized he’d need a simple, speedy solution. Enter the cope and stick joint. These bit combinations allow you to rout door frames quickly, in two steps. The first bit routs a profile and panel groove on the inside edge of all the frame parts. The second bit is a mirror image of the first, routing a coped profile and a stub tenon on the ends of the frame rails.
What you create is not a traditional mortise-and-tenon joint. But done right, it gives you a cabinet door that’s just as strong. The key is to use a flat panel of plywood or medium-density fiberboard (MDF) that’s glued in place—not a raised panel, which is designed to float. All in all, Pekovich was able to build 31 doors in the course of a weekend, from milling lumber to finish sanding.