If you push a tenon into a mortise now, you'll see that the ovolo molding on the mortised piece is in the way. We'll now cut away the ovolo on the stile, leaving just enough on the inside corner to make a nice joint with the ovolo on the rail. From the front, this joint will look like a miter, but it won't be. Instead, we'll cut the ovolo on the rail to cup over the ovolo on the stile in a scribed joint. The scribed joint is superior to a miter joint in that it will never open up a visible crack when the wood shrinks.
To rid ourselves of the excess ovolo, we must first determine how much to leave behind. Start by fitting the joint together as far as it will go. Find a point on the tenoned rail about 1/4 inch farther onto the board than the inner limit of its ovolo. Now mark this point on the ovolo of the mortised stile. Pare away the ovolo on the stile from this point to the end, making the surface square and fair.
Now we scribe the ovolo on the rail tenon to fit over the stub of the ovolo on the stile. When a scribed joint is viewed straight from the face, the junction appears to be a simple 45-degree angle, as indeed it is, for mitering one of the intersecting ovolos is the first step in scribing the joint.
Use a bevel gauge or a good eye to pare the end of the rail ovolo to 45 degrees. Better too little than too much. Turn the rail edge up and look right down at the mitered ovolo. You'll see that it looks like a perfect little quarter circle. It is, and that's what you need to take away with a scribing gouge. This gouge has a dead flat convex face and a beveled inner face. These are sold as in-cannel gouges in both the thick firmer and thin paring styles. You can use an out-canneled carving gouge in a pinch, but it's the proper, thin, ultra-sharp scribing gouge that gives you the edge.
Work your way in and down with the gouge, until you come right up to the line left by the mitering. Continue the reach of this hollow until it will fully house the stub of the ovolo on the mortised stile. If, when you assemble the joint, the fit of the tenon is a bit snug, it's better to use a bar clamp for slow pressure. Driving the pieces together quickly with a mallet could break open a scribed tenon that could otherwise have been fixed with a little more paring. It's satisfying to watch as this joint closes up — so exciting that we almost forgot the panels.
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