Basically there are three designs if cabinet doors; these are Slab (or Plank), Cope & Stick and Mitered.
Slab, or Plank doors are simply edge-glued strips of wood. Slab doors are very susceptible to warping and twisting caused by variations in humidity. Most cabinet door manufacturers don’t offer Slab doors for the reasons stated, but some small, local cabinet makers still make this door style. Sometimes “look-alike” Slab doors are made of laminated MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) and offered as Slab doors. These doors overcome the slab’s tendency to warp but have a plastic-like look along with all the negatives of MDF.
Cope & Stick doors are the oldest of the 5-piece cabinet door designs. They have been manufactured for several hundred years and are still popular today.
Cope & Stick doors consist of a frame made up of two stiles (the vertical side pieces), two rails (the horizontal top and bottom pieces), and the center panel. Those two stiles, two rails, and panel make up the components of the 5-piece cabinet door.
By using various machining methods and cutter profiles Cope & Stick doors can be manufactured in literally millions of design variations. A large door manufacturer may have 40 different Stile Cuts, 40 Panel Cuts, and 60 outside edge designs. When multiplied by several hundred different style possibilities, twenty wood types, and the various arch possibilities, the permutations multiply to many millions of unique door designs.
The most recognizable of the Cope & Stick door designs from the 1700’s is probably the Shaker Cabinet Door, which is actually still very popular today.
Mitered Cabinet Doors are also 5-piece doors with a different method of attaching the stiles and rails. Mitered rails attach to the stiles at a 45-degree angle, while Cope & Stick stiles attach to the rails at a 90-degree angle. Examples of Cope & Stick and Mitered cabinet doors can be seen on our site, CabinetDoors.Com.
With the invention of computer controlled mitering machinery, mitered doors have dramatically increased in dependability and popularity. Computerized machining allows for a mortise & tenon joining method that produces mitered joints that are as durable and tight as cope & stick joints. This dependability improvement, coupled with the greater design options have accounted for the steady growth in mitered door popularity.
Today, properly machined mitered doors are even more sturdy and reliable than cope & stick doors. Also, because of the increased productivity provided by the CNC Mitering machinery, mitered door prices are now equal to, or lower than comparable cope & stick doors.
See the CabinetDoors.Com Blog.