Interior Door Construction - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 02-26-2007, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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Interior Door Construction

I might getting a bit over my head here, but I've the got the itch to try something new. I need to replace a few interior doors in my home and rather than shell out the cash for prefabbed doors, I'd like to see if I can build a few on my own. I'm sure I'll probably end up spending twice as much, but I'm really looking at this more from the challenge/satisfaction standpoint. If things go well, maybe I'll go to town and replace them all. I'm planning on replacing the jambs for the new doors as well, so I think I have a bit of freedom in terms of door thickness and the like. Anyway, I'm looking for any insight that those in the know out there might have. Here's what I'm thinking.

The doors will all be paintgrade with three smooth panels. My first idea is to go with 8/4 popular for the rails and stiles and mill this down to thickness (probably about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4-inch final thickness). Joints would all be M/T. If I go this route, could I get away with 1/3 or 3/4 MDF for the panels? Second option, I've thought about building up the rails and stiles with MDF, 1/2-inch with 3/4 sandwiched in between. I was thinking that this might make it easy to form the joints. Possibly beefing up the tenons with dowels. The third one would be using something like Timberstrand laminating 1/16 or 1/8 veneer for to the exterior surfaces. I've never used Timberstrand and don't know much about it, or if I can even get my hands on it.

Sorry to be so long winded here and perhaps a bit out of touch with reality. But you know how it is when you get an idea in your head. Just want to throw it at the wall and see if it sticks. If you think this is a crazy idea, please let me know.
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post #2 of 5 Old 02-26-2007, 09:58 PM
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I think you're crazy. Don't take that the wrong way, it just sounds like an incredible amount of work. I haven't built my own interior doors, but I just hung 8 solid core doors from Ovation, paid $230 per door (30x80) prehung. Are you sure you want solid core? They are nice once they're in, but the extra weight certainly adds some time and pain.

Good luck!
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post #3 of 5 Old 02-26-2007, 11:16 PM
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If you want to have the tenon and mortise experience (it is fun) go the poplar route, and you should be fine with MDF panels. I wouldn't tenon and mortise anything with MDF though, there wouldn't be enough strength.

I've built tonnes of MDF doors, they are a frigging lot of work but they are economical and you can get them to look pretty good with some effort.

If you're smart with how you do it, you can mill the doors, panel mold, jamb, and casing out of eight sheets of MDF, maybe even less (I don't know how big your doors are) and ten board feet of P/G maple.... which is pretty economical (the hinges are the only thing that could kill you, you're going to need some 'balls-y' ones)
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post #4 of 5 Old 02-27-2007, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input guys. C&D, the logical side of me (my wife) has convinced me that, as you noted, I am crazy for wanting to take this on. I think you're on the mark with the prehungs. From a value/time/quality standpoint, it makes the most sense, especially for the main floor of the house where we get the most traffic.

I am going to take your advice though, Shaftoe, and make up at least one door for the basement with poplar using M/Ts. At least I can say that I've given it a try and if it turns out well, I can make up a few more as time and money permits and trim out the basement at my leisure.
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post #5 of 5 Old 03-08-2007, 08:28 PM
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door thickness

make sure that when you mill your stiles/rails they will accept a doorknob. they basically come in two standard widths, and sometimes (depending on where you live) you don't necessarily have the 1-3/4 in width for interior doors.

personally i am going to do a (pain in the derriere) custom door for my santa fe when i get there. i am also doing some really wild custom cabinets like nothing i've ever seen before. tons of hand work, but. . .
i'm really comfortable with crazy.

have fun
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