Before gluing up the rails, stiles and panel, take the time to dry-fit the parts. If the pieces do not fit perfectly, make final adjustments, as necessary. A slight shaving with a wood chisel will usually do the trick.
Since the individual ffame-and-panel assembly is only one component of a piece of furniture, some further planning is required at this stage. You need to decide which methods you will use to install a bottom panel (page 60) and a top (page 64). Some of the methods of installing those components require you
Test assembling the pieces
Join a rail and a stile, then seat the panel between them. Set the stile on a work surface, and add the second rail and stile (above). Mark each of the joints using a pencil to help you in the final assembly, when you apply the glue. If any of the joints is too tight, mark the binding spots, disassemble the pieces and use a wood chisel to pare away some wood at the ill-fitting joint. Assemble the frame again. Once you are satisfied with the fit, disassemble the frame and sand any surfaces that will be difficult to reach once the assembly has been glued up.
2 Applying the glue
Make four clamping blocks, cutting them as long as the rails are wide and as wide as the stiles are thick. Lay out all of the components in their relative positions with their outside surfaces facing down. For mortise-and-tenon joints, squeeze glue into the mortises and on the tenon cheeks and shoulders; for cope-and-stick joints, apply glue to all the contacting surfaces. In either case, use just enough adhesive to cover the surfaces completely when it is spread out evenly (right). Do not insert glue in the panel grooves; the panel must be free to move within these joints. After applying the glue, assemble the frame-and-panel.
Tightening the clamps
Lay two bar clamps on the work surface and place the glued-up assembly face down on them, aligning the rails with the bars. To keep the clamps from falling over, prop them up in notched wood blocks. Place clamping blocks between the stiles and the jaws of the clamps to avoid marring the stock and to distribute the pressure evenly along the joint. Tighten each clamp in turn just enough to close the joints (left), then use a try square to make sure that the corners of the frame are at 90° angles. Continue tightening the clamps until a thin bead of glue squeezes out of the joints, checking for square as you go. Once the glue has dried, remove the clamps. Protecting the surface with a wood pad, clamp the assembly to a work surface. Use a paint scraper to remove any dried glue that remains on the wood, pulling the scraper along each joint (inset).