How to use rail & stile router bits

Written by lacy enderson
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How to use rail & stile router bits

If you want a straight and clean cut when you are working with wood and woodworking tools, the tools and bits must be sharp. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to make a cut with a router bit that is dull. The woodworking experience becomes unenjoyable and aggravating very quickly. Rail and stile router bits are interlocking and have raised grooves that cut in one pass. These bits are made from the highest quality material and are expert ground and brazed. Most of the rail and stile router bits are solid carbide, long lasting and stay sharper longer.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Rail and stile router bit set
  • Panels
  • Thickness planer
  • Table router
  • Shims

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  1. 1

    Make sure all of the parts to be worked on are the same thickness. Use one piece of board to create all of your rail and stile pieces to ensure they are all the same width. Use a thickness planer to create a set thickness before you begin.

  2. 2

    Set up the rail router bit first by inserting the bit into a table router and setting the bit height for the right thickness of the wood. Make sure there is sufficient material at the back of the groove to support the panel. The tongue of the bit must be centred on the wood.

  3. 3

    Cut all of the rail ends with the rail router bit set at the right height. Any adjustments to the thickness of the tongue are made using shims either added or removed within the cutter.

  4. 4

    Create the grooves in the panel using the stile bit. Make sure to set the depth of the stile bit properly so the groove is located at the same height as the tenon on the rails. The joints will be forced out of alignment if the height is not set correctly. Match the groove cutter to the tenon on the rail and then adjust the stile bit by eye.

    How to use rail & stile router bits
  5. 5

    Remove the entire tenon with one pass from the stile bit. If the wood is not removed in one pass, reset the depth of the bit. The rail cuts and the stile grooves should interlock perfectly when done.

Tips and warnings

  • The rails are the horizontal pieces of the frame and the stiles are the vertical parts.
  • Set up the stile bit by making sure there is an appropriate amount of material at the backside of the groove to support the panel.
  • For safety purposes use a right angle fixture. Place a backing board to prevent tearout.

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