Understanding Cope n’ Stick

The term Cope n’ Stick is one of the more obscure phrases when it comes to cabinets and kitchen hardware. We often get questions specifically about Cope n’ Stick here at Fast Cabinet Doors.

Cope n’ Stick maintains an integral role in the cabinetry industry, so it is an important term to understand. Especially if you’re about to get started on your own DIY cabinet door project, you’re going to want to know exactly what the term Cope n’ Stick means.

So, what is Cope n’ Stick?

Let’s get right to the punch. The term Cope n’ Stick refers to the tongue and groove joints used to assemble cabinet doors. This is one of the oldest and strongest joints used in cabinetry and is still the strongest type of joint used for doors.

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To further break down the term, the cope is the recessed mirror cut that is put into the opposite edge so the stick can be seamlessly joined. The result is a much more ornate design, with the greatest advantage of strength and tight fitting durability.


Stick is a term used by carpenters that refers to the molded edge that is along the inside of a cabinet door. The pieces that meet at a right angle must be “coped” to match the profile.

What does it look like?

There are five pieces to a Cope n’ Stick door. Four of those parts make up the frame, called stiles and rails. The stiles are the vertical pieces, or sides, of the frame and the rails are the top and bottom pieces. Finally, the last piece is the panel, which is surrounded by the frame.

What are the benefits of Cope n’ Stick?

This type of door can be more dependable than the slab door due to the design’s response to humidity.

All wood species will expand as humidity increases and contract when humidity decreases. An average width slab cabinet door will expand and contract as much as three-sixteenths of an inch as humidity changes during the year. This change is enough to prevent the hinges from being able to close during high humidity.

However, with a Cope n’ Stick door, the panel is suspended in the frame which allows room for expanding and contracting without changing the size of the door. When humidity causes the panel to expand, the edges move deeper into the stiles, making the movement of the door undetectable.

Fast Cabinet Doors offers Cope n’ Stick doors, amongst many others. Need help measuring for replacement doors? Check out this post! Call us today to start building the kitchen you’ve always wanted!