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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, we are in the process of redoing the front of our house and i'm going to be building a front door. As stated in the title it's going to be oak. I've built oak doors for cabinets before but not a full size door for the front of a house.

My biggest question is: Should I glue the raised panels to the stiles and rails or leave the panels totally loose?
When I did the oak doors for the cabinets I had 1/4" ply for the panels ad I didn't glue them. I was just wondering if it's different with solid wood.


Any other suggestions would be great, I only have a few years experience in woodworking... so hearing from those with alot of experience would be nice.
 

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A front door with exterior exposure moves

with direct sun and exposure to humidity. Do not glue the panels.
A door is a complex project even for a "just a few years kinda guy" since you may need a shaper for styles and rails and depending on thickness.
1 3/4" would be my choice, that's a good size cutter. There are other ways than cope and stick, but that's the usual method. My front door is 42" x 6'8" x 2 1/4" and weighs 175+ lbs, has Northern exposure, made by my buddy, a commercial door maker, with epoxy laminated maple styles and rails faced with 1/4" oak. It doesn't not move with humidity more than 1/16" And it will never "warp". It was done right the first time. This is what I mean by complex. You could do a build up on 3/4" plywood, but I can't vouch for the stability. Mayber someone else has done it that way? :blink: bill
 

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I forgot to mention the door is going to be 1 1/2" thick and 3'x7'.

I would recommend allowing a full 1 3/4" for an exterior door. Other than the structural benefits, the hinges will look more to scale, and have a better mounting plane.

For cabinet doors, plywood panels can be glued to the frames.






 
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Steve I work in the commercial door business and not very many companies will sell a wood door with any type of a warranty if it is being used outside regardless of the environment. In my opinion, everything Bill referred to is the correct way to go including the methods used to create his front door. If you are going to do this and it is the front door to your own house I wouldn't advise trying to build it quickly or cheaply. Build something you will be eternally proud of.
A 1-1/2" thick door would not really hold up over a moderate period of time. Using the laminated methods that Bill talked about really is the way to go to ensure as little warping as possible. I personally think the 2-1/4" door would be the ultimate option but I don’t know what your existing conditions are. I would not advise using a 3/4" plywood material and adding facing material to it as the plywood is not a stable material for that kind of application.
If you can find some 7/8" thick exterior/waterproof MDF you can glue two sheets together with epoxy and build the frame of your stile and rail door from that. Use a good lag screw construction and then apply 1/4" thick oak boards to your stiles, rails, muntins and edges. You can then make your panels out of solid stock oak and DO NOT glue them when you build your door.
Good luck with your project. I’ll be more than happy to give you any help or suggestions with the hardware as well as the door construction.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The door is going to be 1 3/4" thick, It's also going to have a storm door in front of it... don't know if that makes a difference. What is a good shaper to buy? Preferably less than $500 if possible. Where is a good place to get shaper bits?

I was planning on using all solid wood, not any ply or MDF... is this a good idea?

Thanks for the guidance!
 

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Steve good advice from John!

BTW please post your location, so we will know what environmental conditions exist. A few things I didn't mention: My buddy, Doug, made the doors ( 4' x 10' high x 3" thick with architectural details and beveled glass,) to the Governor's office in Lansing, Michigan. He's an expert. His tools include a 24" planer, 16" jointer, 2 spindle 10 hp shaper, a cast iron "flat" gluing table for the expoxy glue ups, a straight line rip saw to cut the maple laminations, a 3" wide blade resaw 10 Hp to make the applied panels, and last but not least a 42" wide belt thicknessing sander. Roughly about $30,000 to $40,000 worth of equipment, to make my door 42" x 6'8" x 2 1/4" thick, nine raised panels. The stainless steel hinges were $60.00 apiece x 3, The lock set was $250.00. Are you getting a picture here.....If you would like I'll give you his phone and email if you will PM me or maybe John would like to make a door for you. This is a big door and a big project, not one normally done with standard woodworking equipment found in "home" shops. You can do a laminated style door on some substrate as John and I mentioned, but that's the only way I can think of to come in under budget on this one. I have 2 shops full of equipment and I still couldn't and wouldn't make the same quality door for what Doug charged me. Now that's just my advice and my opinion, I don't want you to feel that it's not possible, it's just not practical. :no: bill
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Would this be powerful enough for 1 3/4" stock or do I need the 3hp version for $1600?

Are these good shaper cutters?

What about these?

Is this a good raised panels cutter?

Even if I don't end up building this door I need to have the whole thing priced out.

Thanks again!
 

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Would this be powerful enough for 1 3/4" stock or do I need the 3hp version for $1600?

Are these good shaper cutters?

What about these?

Is this a good raised panels cutter?

Even if I don't end up building this door I need to have the whole thing priced out.

Thanks again!

Are you going into the door business?






 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Are you going into the door business?






Can you please post a cheaper model if you know of any?

I almost have a full shop besides a shaper (and a few other things) so it's basically the next addition... I will be using it in the future, so it will pay for itself. All of the doors I looked up online are all over $1000 and they're not even what I want.
 

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Steve,

If you really want to build the door, I support that. I've found, however, that wood doors, especially solid wood doors, are expensive for a reason. I found a $1400 door on Craigslist that someone wanted to get rid of and I paid $300 for it. I spent a few hours sanding and restaining the door to match my house and then hung it. One of the best purchases I've made for my house so far. I considered (very briefly) trying to build one and then realized I simply didn't have the skill or time to build something that has to be that close in tolerances and visible to everyone as well as surviving some harsh conditions (even with a storm door). Our front door is east facing and gets so hot it can burn your hand to the touch, and I didn't think I could build one to survive those types of conditions. The drastic temp swings in the winter time are insane from below freezing night to full morning sun...

Anyway, it's something to consider. I just searched my area on CL for "wooden entry door" or something like that.
 
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WOW!! That really is a lot equipment to look in to buying. Before you buy a shaper I would highly recomend you look into a W&H Overhead molder. This machine can do almost everything a shaper can and MORE and it is infinitley safer for operating and the cutters are much cheapr to purchase and cheaper to sharpen. You can make just about any radius molding you could think of and the set up is incredibly simple to do.
http://stores.piamedia.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=WNH&Category_Code=MOLDER
 

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Steve check out the Grizzly site for all this

Would this be powerful enough for 1 3/4" stock or do I need the 3hp version for $1600?
Are these good shaper cutters?
What about these?
Is this a good raised panels cutter?
Even if I don't end up building this door I need to have the whole thing priced out.
Thanks again!
http://www.grizzly.com/products/mach-specs.aspx?key=510000
They have a 3 HP shaper for $925.00 and tons of cutters. I own 2 of them. :thumbsup: bill
http://www.grizzly.com/products/category.aspx?key=162300
 

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There are a very few things in this life more

heart breaking than the results of a novice or hobby woodworker's attempts at a solid wood exterior door. Especially if you need to purchase a lot of equipment to get this roll of the dice underway.

Ed
 

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I've had my heart broken, but never by a door!

heart breaking than the results of a novice or hobby woodworker's attempts at a solid wood exterior door. Especially if you need to purchase a lot of equipment to get this roll of the dice underway.
Ed
We here are offering the best advice we have based on our own experience and many years of woodworking. That's what we do here. If that all well intentioned advice goes for naught that's OK.
Steve, just a few more thoughts on this project: If you use solid wood for the styles, which I don't recommend, make certain it is dry, straight and free from any grain that will cause it to twist. Have enough clamps, probably at least 8, that will open to beyond 42". Make your styles over-length by about 3", and your top and bottom rails about 1" over-length. When you go to cut the door to final size you will have enough stock to support your circular saw and it will have to be able to cut 1 3/4" in one pass, if not 2 passes. The assembly table that you glue this together on must be as flat in a single plane is you can get it, otherwise the finished door will have a built-in twist or warp. I would use a quality epoxy for gluing the exterior door. The set-up time will be important and several dry practice "fits" would be desirable, to know that all things do fit and to get a process in place when the time comes to "glue up". In spite of Norm Abrams approach "I did it all my self", this is not that type of project, in my opinion. A cool head with glue up experience would be a good helper. So, that's it for me, I'm out'ta here! :smile: Good Luck to you.:thumbsup: bill
 

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Discussion Starter #17
thanks for the advice, I have more than 8 clamps big enough, I have a workbench bigger than the door (4'x10') and I will be working with a master woodworker on this project since it is my first one.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
btw, we are working with fine lumber fully dried and straight. We're starting on monday, i'll keep you guys updated... maybe even pics!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
heart breaking than the results of a novice or hobby woodworker's attempts at a solid wood exterior door. Especially if you need to purchase a lot of equipment to get this roll of the dice underway.

Ed
I don't need to buy alot of equipment, I already have 2 TS's, BS, thickness planer, 6'' jointer, 12'' dewalt miter saw, 24" radial arm saw, router table etc...
 

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Hey Steve I'm usually the one doing everything myself so this is my advise. There seams to be a trend on this thread that is uncommon around here. Even the hardest head or most determined person could see this if they took a step back and looked again.

I've been there and done that, went against all the advise and had to do twice the work or use twice the materials because I didn't listen. It wasn't a door but hey if your going to do it anyway check the Grizzley site as Bill said or look into the the molding thing John mentioned.

Me I would look into having the door made unless you really think the cost of all the tools and equipment is worth it. I know your thinking even if I spend all this money and it cost the same as getting the door made I still have the equipment when I'm finished. Just remember it could cost twice as much and then you could have bought the door and equipment and been in the same boat with time to spare. The other option "We could all be wrong."


Good luck and we expect pictures of your progress. :laughing::laughing::laughing:
 
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