The next time you’re building a woodworking project that requires doors and drawer fronts, consider building a mitered door. It can make a simple piece look like something really special, and are probably easier to build than traditional rail-and-stile doors.
A mitered door is unique because they don’t involve 90° joinery. They’re a bit like picture frames, and can be made with ornate profiles that “wrap” around all four edges. To make a mitered door, you’ll start by routing the profile in the face of your door frame:
Firstly, install the profile bit in your router table and set the bottom cutting edge flush with the surface of the table.
Then pull the fence forward until it’s flush with the router bit’s bearing and lock it in place. *Tip: Use a straight edge to help you line up the bearing and fence.
You’re going to feed the frame stock through the router table on it’s edge, so set up a tall featherboard to keep the entire face of the stock pressed tightly against the fence as you route. *Tip: The Milescraft featherboards you see in the photo come with a spacer and are excellent for this task. While you can make your own if you prefer, these are quick to set up and you’ll find them handy for more than just routing.
Now you can route the profile in the face of your door stock: feed the material through at a slow and steady pace to avoid chatter. *Tip: If your router has a hard time making the cut, move the fence forward, adjust the featherboard, and make several shallow passes. *Tip: Use material that is about 1” wider than the finished door profile so that you have a flat portion that will ride along the fence just above the bit’s cutting edges.
After routing, take the stock to your table saw and rip it to width.
With your profile routed and stock cut to width, you’re ready to cut the groove for the door panel.
Cutting the Groove for the Mitered Door Panel
Remove the profile bit from the router and replace it with the ¼” slot cutter. *Tip: Set the bit height so that it will route the groove no less than 1/8” from the flat face of your stock. You need at least that much material for structural integrity.
Install featherboards to keep the stock pressed against the fence and down against the table during routing.
Route the groove in the inside edge of each board.
Then miter the ends of your frame to length.
Now take the ¼” slot cutter out of the router and install the 5/32” cutter.
You’re going to join the frame with #11 round biscuits, so set the bit height even with the center of the stock’s thickness.
Measure the length of the miter in one end of a piece of door stock. You can see in this photo that the miter is 3-1/2” long.
Afterwards, mark each side of the router fence at roughly half that distance from the center of the router bit. Align a board with one of the marks and clamp it to the fence.
Then turn on the router and use the board to help you pivot your material into the router bit to make the biscuit slots.
Finishing Your Mitered Door
Once your panel is ready, do a dry assembly (no glue) to make sure things fit correctly. Then glue in the biscuits and clamp the door. *Tip: Pipe clamps don’t work well for mitered doors; you’re better off with something that uses a strap like the Merle Clamp. It’ll allow you to put even pressure on all four corners of the joint.
*Tip: Before the glue is dry, clean up any squeeze-out with a wet rag. Because if you don’t, you’ll have an extremely hard time removing it from the profile later.
Finally, sand and finish.
That’s it; you’ve made a mitered door! And for anyone that prefers a video demonstration, there’s a full walk-through here: