I'm looking to make a new door for the front of my house and would like to
bounce this off the group. I plan to keep it fairly simple from a design
perspective: three columns of double sided rectangular raised panels with
an arched row of top panels. Now I'd like to do this on the router table.
I'll start with 8/4 stock (Sapele, Mahogany, Macore, or Fiddleback figured
walnut -- haven't decided) that I'll mill to 1 3/4" thickness. I think the
panels can be routed in "two" passes (multiple passes per side) with
standard 3 1/2" cove panel bits (in lieu of one pass using a shaper at the
local JC for which I'd have to supply the $200 cutters). The rails and
stiles could, theoretically, be done the same way... Two passes on the
router table. Setup will be critical to acheive a centered grove that
matches the panel tounges. I think it can be done this way, though. What
do you think? I'll probably proceed with a pine prototype, but am
interested in some experienced feedback, input, and suggestions....
Another area of concern is going to be how well a south-facing solid spar
varnished wood door will stand up to 100+ degree heat and 6 or so hours of
direct summer sun... What say you to that?!?
I'll take a swing at your question. Since I work for a largish company that
makes doors, I have a few suggestions.
First, for both the stiles and rails I'd strongly suggest that you laminate
them rather than using solid 8/4. Face glue two pieces of 4/4 for stability.
You might also want to laminate your panels in a three-ply configuration.
Use a thin crossband as the center layer.
Your machining plan sounds good. Remember to let the panels float and allow
for seasonal changes.
As for your exposure -- your might want to build two doors so that you can
always have one door on the house, and another in the shop. With the direct
sun any known clear coat will start to fail in pretty short order. You may
get three years before your need to do maintenance on the finish if you are
lucky and live a pure life. If you paint the door with a light color you'll
have much less maintenance, but you'll also have a painted door.
Thanks for the input. Seems like the doors I see on display at Home Depot
are solid. Or at least I can't detect a seam on the edges. When you say
"stability" do you mean less prone to warping, etc? And by "crossband" I
assume you mean a thin layer with the grain going across (at 90 degrees to)
the two outer layers?
The doors you see at Home Depot probably have what we call an engineered
stile and rail. Basically that means that the stiles and rails have a
fingerjointed and edgeglued core with clear edge strips and veneers glued to
the edges and faces. Only the very high end product is made with solid
lumber. Some of the imports, especially from "mahogany" type woods may be
solid and not laminated. There are plenty of good doors at the big box
stores, but know that they beat the tar out of all of us on price. Some
folks do cut some corners. Some imports are made by folks new to the
By stability I do mean resistance to warp or other movement, yes. You are
also right about the crossbanding. It will help prevent the panel from
splitting through it checks do open up.
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