Wood selection for a screen door - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-11-2020, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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Wood selection for a screen door

I'm fixin' to make a screen door to replace the old flimsy one. It seems to me that screen doors are flimsy by nature since the frame is usually just the perimeter and typically only a couple inches wide. Also, they're usually made with 5/4 stock.

I'm planning to make mine with a panel in the lower third and make the stiles and rails much wider than is typical on the cheapo doors. I'm thinking 3-4" for the stiles and 4-5" on the rails. I hope to use thicker stock too.

Even with wider stiles and thicker stock, 80" is a fairly long span for a board that's largely un-supported. The hinge side is held in place, but the rest of the door is just flappin' in the wind and probably prone to warp with exposure to weather.

What wood would you use that would provide the best stability along with rot resistance?
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post #2 of 10 Old 08-11-2020, 03:21 PM
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use enough pallet wood and nails and it will last for years.
and remember to use at least two coats of Helmsman Spar Varnish.

Wood selection for a screen door-door-1.jpg

there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks.
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post #3 of 10 Old 08-11-2020, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
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That one does have a certain rustic appeal!
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-11-2020, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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By the way, I watched a video with the guys from This Old House making a screen door and they were using Dominoes for the joinery. I'm not likely to get a domino tool, but I'm curious for opinions on the strength of that joint.
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post #5 of 10 Old 08-11-2020, 05:10 PM
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I like the Festool system.. from what I can tell. At $700 it's not going to happen for me. Instead, I invested in a $30 beadlock loose tenon kit and I have to say those loose tenons are *tough* Way tougher than using a Kreg pocket screw setup (which I also have).


I used 3/8" oak beadlock tenon stock on my recent reproduction historical storm windows and (when made carefully) the results were *very* impressive in terms of strength and fit. For my reproduction storm windows, I use 5/4 kiln-dried exterior grade deck lumber for the structure and matched storm sash 1/2 router bits to cut the profile and copes. Then I used the beadlock kit to align and drill the holes and assembled the windows.



Beadlock was bought by Rockler some time back, which only sucks because only they provide the kits and parts. Also, they only make a router bit to make the 3/8" size tenons yourself, so you're entirely dependent on them for 1/4" and 1/2" tenon stock *AND* they are seriously out of stock and backordered thanks to COVID-19.



That said... if I could get an affordable Festool, I'd absolutely get one. I still prefer to make proper mortise and tenon, but I am very happy with the loose tenons for something that's not furniture.
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post #6 of 10 Old 08-11-2020, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Smith_inFL View Post
use enough pallet wood and nails and it will last for years.
and remember to use at least two coats of Helmsman Spar Varnish.

Attachment 393679

Is that your front or back door?


George
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post #7 of 10 Old 08-11-2020, 05:36 PM
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oh that's the front door - the ugly door is in the back.

.

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post #8 of 10 Old 08-11-2020, 09:23 PM
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sometime in the late 1960's, I made a screen door for my parents 'cottage' - which sat about 20' from the surf line.
treated wood (of-the-day)
bottom solid panel
half lap joints for styles/rails - with waterproof glue.

they had to remove all water facing screens for winter - because Momma Nature would mash them into mush.

eventually they sold the place,but last time I drove through in the late 1990's, the door was still there.
half-lap is imho several orders of magnitude 'more better' that any biscuit/m&t joint.
they bring the most strength width/length/depth to the joint.
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post #9 of 10 Old 08-12-2020, 11:45 AM
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that is a sweet screen door john smith made!
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post #10 of 10 Old 08-12-2020, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomCT2 View Post
sometime in the late 1960's, I made a screen door for my parents 'cottage' - which sat about 20' from the surf line.
treated wood (of-the-day)
bottom solid panel
half lap joints for styles/rails - with waterproof glue.

they had to remove all water facing screens for winter - because Momma Nature would mash them into mush.

eventually they sold the place,but last time I drove through in the late 1990's, the door was still there.
half-lap is imho several orders of magnitude 'more better' that any biscuit/m&t joint.
they bring the most strength width/length/depth to the joint.

That's an exceptionally harsh environment you describe. I think the longevity of door is due more to the type of wood, size, and strength of the glues and fasteners. M&T is tried and true for doors and windows. 100+ year old door and windows attest to the strength and suitability of such joints in those application. Now before I had good router bits and skills, I originally started making screen windows with half-lap joints on 3/4" stock. I will strongly assert from experience that aside from maybe the outside corners, the half-lap is a major weak spot on a door or window. The rail and stile are 50% thickness at such a point. The mid-point of an door or window is subject to a lot of stress. Now, if I were gluing up a screen door from multiply layers - basically laminating a door -, I would consider half lap joints if the final door or window at least 1" thick - but in that case you're just mimicking a proper M&T or bridle joint anyway.



I've seen Bob Villa do that very successfully in his post TOH career. I personally like nice stick and rail joinery, but gluing up can work in the right circumstances too.



To be clear, I would *never* try and get away with loose tenons or proper M&T joiner on any door less than an 1" thick
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