Stile and Rail calculator

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Willemjm

Willem
Corporate Member
Starting to make my doors and drawer fronts.

First, I thought I am getting old, memory freeze, alzheimer's setting in, getting stupid with old age, as determining sizes of rails, stiles, panels, overhang, space balls clearance should be something I am able to do in seconds free-hand and I was failing dismally.

So, to eliminate errors, I decided to do an Excel worksheet, enter the opening size, whether it is a door, double door or a drawer everything is calculated.

After doing the above, I realized this is tricky, easy to make a mistake. So I googled and found some online calculators and a worksheet here on our site which can be downloaded. Checked the numbers with my work and found one little error which I fixed.

Ready to rock and roll, but amazing how the simple things in life are so easy to misjudge.

https://www.ncwoodworker.net/forums/downloads.php?do=file&id=144
 

Rwe2156

DrBob
Senior User
Willem, I agree it can get a bit complicated, especially with a lot of different sized doors.

Here's a tip that might be useful: make the rail/stile widths 2" + the slot depth. Subtract 4" to get rail lengths.

In your case, that would be 2 3/8".

Panel line strips are 1/4". So panel width = rail length - 3/8. Panel height is door height minus 4 3/8".

This way, all I have to do is keep 3 numbers in my head: 4", 3/8", & 4 3/8".

I make a cut list based off all the doors. And yes, I triple check everything just in case I have a "senior moment".

Also, the Tapulator app is indispensible.
 
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frankc4113

Frank C
Corporate Member
I'e been using this calculator. Hope you try it. Also been adding about 1/16" for inset doors to the "calculator dimensions so that I can "sneak up on finished numbers and reveals around inset doors as well as taper the sides of the doors if there are two doors that meet when closing. I've been using about a 5 degree taper for inset doors that meet at center when they close so they don't bind when closing (if that explains it properly).

www.inchcalculator.com/cabinet-door-calculator/
 
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Dave Richards

Dave
Senior User
Questions:

1. What factors go into determining the shrinkage allowance for the panel?
2. Is that shrinkage allowance affected by the use of spaceballs or other elastic spacers?
3. Do you take into account the relative humidity and moisture content of the panel when sizing it?

I'm thinking that for those who use SketchUp, anyway, a Dynamic Component could be made which allows the user to enter the opening dimensions, rail and stile width and other needed info. You'd get a nice graphic representation of the doors in the project and a report could be generated that includes all the dimensions for the parts.

I made a dynamic drawer for projects for one of my clients that sizes the drawer boxes to suit the undermount drawer glides based on the opening and cabinet depth and gives the information required to price and order the drawer boxes from the supplier. Makes quick work of getting that info even for a very large project.
 

Jeff

New User
Jeff
That's a pretty nifty calculator. It doesn't allow for different widths of the rails vs the stiles which is often used in door construction but one width for all 4 isn't bad either.




I'e been using this calculator. Hope you try it. Also been adding about 1/16" for inset doors to the "calculator dimensions so that I can "sneak up on finished numbers and reveals around inset doors as well as taper the sides of the doors if there are two doors that meet when closing. I've been using about a 5 degree taper for inset doors that meet at center when they close so they don't bind when closing (if that explains it properly).

www.inchcalculator.com/cabinet-door-calculator/
 

Willemjm

Willem
Corporate Member
Questions:

1. What factors go into determining the shrinkage allowance for the panel?
2. Is that shrinkage allowance affected by the use of spaceballs or other elastic spacers?
3. Do you take into account the relative humidity and moisture content of the panel when sizing it?



I'm thinking that for those who use SketchUp, anyway, a Dynamic Component could be made which allows the user to enter the opening dimensions, rail and stile width and other needed info. You'd get a nice graphic representation of the doors in the project and a report could be generated that includes all the dimensions for the parts.

I made a dynamic drawer for projects for one of my clients that sizes the drawer boxes to suit the undermount drawer glides based on the opening and cabinet depth and gives the information required to price and order the drawer boxes from the supplier. Makes quick work of getting that info even for a very large project.

1.) For furniture, I use 1/8" per 12" as a rough guide in movement design, as generally my lumber is at 11% mc. For residential cabinets though I use wood which was kiln dried and stored in a conditioned building, and generally MC is between 6-8% meaing there is little movement once installed in a home here in NC.

2.) I use spaceballs which are 0.26" in diameter with a manufacturers recommendation of 5/32" clearance each side of the panel. I take care to have my panels and rails and stiles perfectly flat, true and square, so the space balls do a great job of centering the panel in the frame.

3.) When it comes to residential cabinets, wooden floors and the trim overseen by a GC, it is best to make sure the materials used are conditioned already to the moisture content which it will be at ultimately in the residence. Just too much risk otherwise.
 
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Jeff

New User
Jeff
1. What factors go into determining the shrinkage allowance for the panel?
2. Is that shrinkage allowance affected by the use of spaceballs or other elastic spacers?
3. Do you take into account the relative humidity and moisture content of the panel when sizing it?



This FWW article is handy for sizing the panels for year round use for expansion/contraction with changing humidity levels. Maybe space balls aren't needed but I haven't built frame and panel doors.
 

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frankc4113

Frank C
Corporate Member
1. What factors go into determining the shrinkage allowance for the panel?
2. Is that shrinkage allowance affected by the use of spaceballs or other elastic spacers?
3. Do you take into account the relative humidity and moisture content of the panel when sizing it?[/S]

I think doors made when the humidity is high would basically have a little tighter tolerances when installing in that the wood probably is at its maximum size as long as it has been in that high humidity area for a while before working on it. Thus, I add the 1/16" to the measurements the calculator gives and then have enough to "play" with when installing.
I use space balls or some other type of spacer (twine or something similar) for the panels no matter what the humidity level is. I think that generally there is enough allowable space for the panel when using the calculator. As long as I can fit the panel in comfortably, I haven't had an issue.
 
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JimD

Jim
Senior User
I've never used a calculator for this. The width of the rails and stiles is for appearance. I used to use 2 1/4 mostly but we bought the kitchen cabinets we did because my wife liked the 3 inch wide rails and stiles. I often make the doors to fit the opening with no clearance and then trim to fit. So the rails and stiles may be 1/16 less than I just described when I am done. This extra material can help if things don't turn out just right in either the door or the box. The horizontal pieces are the opening width minus the vertical pieces plus two times the cut width of the cope and stick cutters.

Sometimes I plan on 1/8 clearance all the way around - which often isn't enough but leaves less to trim.

I usually make the panel so that it will have a minimum 1/8 engagement in the off side groove if it bottom out on the other side. Depends some on when I make the doors. It tends to be drier in the winter than the summer so I might make the minimum engagement 1/16 if building the doors in winter. I do not use space balls. Maybe it's my wood or glueups but my panels have never been so flat they move freely in the frame. They always have a little friction to keep them from rattling. I also finish the inside of the frame and the panels before glueup and flush up the frame and finish it after glueup. But I put one more coat on everything after finishing the frame. So there is a coat of finish helping to keep the panel in place too.

The above is for raised panels. Flat panels I like to use plywood and at least spot glue it into the frame.
 

Willemjm

Willem
Corporate Member
I've never used a calculator for this. The width of the rails and stiles is for appearance. I used to use 2 1/4 mostly but we bought the kitchen cabinets we did because my wife liked the 3 inch wide rails and stiles. I often make the doors to fit the opening with no clearance and then trim to fit. So the rails and stiles may be 1/16 less than I just described when I am done. This extra material can help if things don't turn out just right in either the door or the box. The horizontal pieces are the opening width minus the vertical pieces plus two times the cut width of the cope and stick cutters.

Sometimes I plan on 1/8 clearance all the way around - which often isn't enough but leaves less to trim.

I usually make the panel so that it will have a minimum 1/8 engagement in the off side groove if it bottom out on the other side. Depends some on when I make the doors. It tends to be drier in the winter than the summer so I might make the minimum engagement 1/16 if building the doors in winter. I do not use space balls. Maybe it's my wood or glueups but my panels have never been so flat they move freely in the frame. They always have a little friction to keep them from rattling. I also finish the inside of the frame and the panels before glueup and flush up the frame and finish it after glueup. But I put one more coat on everything after finishing the frame. So there is a coat of finish helping to keep the panel in place too.


Then there is the matter of growing up in a country where we used metric measurements and did not have the challenge to deal with fractions, so my brain is already at a disadvantage to yours.

The above is for raised panels. Flat panels I like to use plywood and at least spot glue it into the frame.

No offence intended, but I am probably not very good with numbers in comparison to you. Not using inset doors, so there are overlap dimensions included. Multiple cabinets, some double doors, some single doors, bottom door and drawer overlap is less than upper, with multiple drawers the face frames are 1 1/2", compared to 2" elsewhere in the cabinets to save space as compared to a single door with a drawer it gets real risky for mistakes. Then there is the factor that I speed up the process, by milling all the rails and stiles for multiple cabinets together and marking them as I go, then move on to the panels and do multiple cutting, jointing and glue-ups. One small mistake and there will be a whole lot of scrap.
 
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JimD

Jim
Senior User
Partially due to the small size of my shop (14x24) and partially due to my preference, I do not cut parts for multiple cabinets at once. I just don't have the space. That forces more machine setups but I am not in a race. I usually make the box the doors will go on first, then make the doors. So I know the size of the opening. I like inset doors but have made overlay. In my opinion, they are easier.
 

McRabbet

Rob
Corporate Member
Hey guys, there has been a pretty useful EXCEL spreadsheet Rail & Stile calculator for raised panel doors that I uploaded to the Download Library more than 10 years ago. Here is the Link to it. I modified it from the original and have used it many times (please note, I did not test it afresh, but I'm sure it will operate under newer versions of Excel).

Hope this helps.

Edit: Oops, I just looked at the OP's post and realized he includi=ed a link to this download. My Bad.
 
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