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Discussion Starter #1
Would appreciate any thoughts on this interior door design.
4.5"-6.0" Walnut planks (6/4" finished thickness), glued together to a total width of 34", and a length of 8'. The idea is to make heavy, solid walnut doors, for this new home, that show off the grain in a somewhat modern design (no grooves,etc), and doesn't look like veneer on core.
My concern is whether this would be prone to warping, twisting, etc. The home is in a dry climate in southern California. My thinking/hope is that in a dry climate the door would be stable enough.
Another twist on the same idea is to use the same thickness with a rail and stile structure (6 inch rails and styles) and have the glued planks as the floating piece in the middle, with no middle rail, just a top and bottom rail. This design seems safer but the designer wants the look of the first design.
If anyone has relevant experience of this nature would appreciate any thoughts.
Many thanks,
 

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Old School
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My thoughts are that for an 8' door either design could be problematic. As an interior door, 6" R&S, IMO, would look a bit wide for a 34" door. If the lumber is 6/4 to start, it shouldn't be planed thinner than 1 3/8".

If the lumber is properly acclimated, either as a slab, or as a R&S, the chances are about the same for the door to stay stable. If I had to pick one over another for stability, I would say the slab door has a better chance as each section of the glue up helps stabilize other sections. And last, it's a tall door, and with R&S designs the only real structure is the frame. This will be a heavy door, and it may have an innate propensity to rack to some degree.






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Glue two sides then dado inside cross rail

try and glue two three quarters panels 4.5 x 8 and then dado two or three cross rail and glue the whole panel up . The only thing to worry about is the thickness of the door for hardware. I know this will work , it will keep the door stable without gluing a piece of plywood inside especially if you use unibond 800 glue. The strongest glue I've ever come across. The Marlboro man check my website you can see other doors I've done. arthousestudiosa.com
 

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This guy is my friend and neighbor

Question: 34" x 96" seems like a tall skinny proportion.... Are they French/double doors?

My friend has been building and restoring doors for many years, including the 12' x 4' door to the Governors office in Lansing, Mi. and the 4' x10' doors in the Cranbrook Church and University. His construction method to insure they wont warp is as shown here: http://troycornersdoor.com/construction.html
This method with the laminated core stock really works and you can not tell that the door is "veneered" with the wood of choice since it's 1/4" thick at least. Then it's sanded on a wide belt sander to make it totally flat. Few door makers use this process, it is very labor intensive, but works in exterior applications. I have one of his doors, 42" x 6'8" x 2 1/4" thick on my house.

I don't follow the above post :blink: could you be more explicit?
 

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8' solid walnut door. We are talking mansion here. My experience with mansions is limited to visiting old houses opened to the public or converted to museums, but the doors I have seen were 2" or 2 and 1/4 inch. I think 1.5" would look weak.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
thank you all for the responses

In answer to some of the questions. The width of 1.5" is finished, and will likely be more like 1 5/8". I would be starting with 8/4 rough boards.
The comments on proportion were interesting (34"x96"). The idea is for a longer/taller look, as opposed to shorter/wider. I thought 34" was a generous interior width, but will reevaluate based on the comments.
I agree that the doors will be heavy, but I'm also assuming four hinges, with deep screws, and very substantial framing.
There were conflicting comments on the key question having to do with stability between the slab format and R&S. Again this is a dry climate, so I wouldn't expect issues relating to humidity. If I could be more specific with my question - In what way would the potential instability show up? Is there a risk that the slab door would expand (and bind)? or would the individual boards likely cup? or might the entire door warp?
My thinking was to use, in addition to glue, deep screws at the top and bottom edges to further tie the ends of the boards to each other.
Again, many thanks for the responses.
 

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the issue of humidity is relavite no matter where you are and what climate you are in. The simple fact is that wood moves over time. if you are wanting to build a quality piece that will last, you got to think about every aspect not only the project but also the enviroment in which it will live. With that being said if you want an 8' door then go for it if it is not out of place there. I think it should be slab like, go with a locking glue joint to join planks and to hang it what about a massive hinge or making it a pocket door? or what about a hidden top and bottom cleats between front and back planks? Its your design, it just might make it harder to sell the house or maybe easier, its all a gamble. Just dont think you will be able to plane some hardwood planks, throw on some hardware, and wham you got a door. Good luck can wait to see the finished project.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
follow up to Epatricknlw response

Edwin,
Thank you for your response. I wanted to follow up with some questions. Btw - I have about 26 of these doors to make, so I'm trying to be really careful with my research before ordering the wood. You made a comment about joining the planks with a locking glue joint. I was thinking to just lay them out flat and glue them side by side (finished planks will be 1 5/8" thick). What do you mean by a "locking glue joint"?
Regarding hanging the doors, you mentioned a top and bottom cleat as an option. I wasn't sure what you were referring to. I was thinking three to four heavy duty hinges for the swinging doors with screws that get well through the jamb into the framing studs, which I think will suffice but I wanted to understand the "cleats". For the pocket doors I will just probably use three hangers instead of the two that come with a pocket door kit.
Last question. You indicated that you though the slab method would likely work. My plan is to build one prototype, just got the sample wood for that, but my real concern is that it will look great when I'm done, but how will it look in a year or two. Any thoughts on what type of problems I might see with this slab format. Again, it would be six planks, approximately 5 1/2" wide, 1 5/8" thick, 8' feet long, glued side by side.
Again, many thanks for your help/time.
KerfKing
 

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You should consider the design the marlboro man suggested. Here is a picture of a 100 year old door in my cellar and it is still perfectly flat. The three horizontal boards keep it flat in one direction while the double vertical boards oppose one another when one wants to warp. It's a 32"x80"x1.75" door. You would make the dadoes blind and the horizontal boards loose in the dadoes so the door can move. this is a proven design. You could get lucky with one door but with 26 I am sure some of them would warp.
 

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Question 1: Locking Glue Joint is seen in furniture making, typically in the legs or drawers.

I think will make each plank to one slab and with there being a groove for the planks lock to one another it will be a stronger joint than just laying them down and gluing and clamping. Still need to use glue and clamp though.

Question 2: What are cleats? A french cleat is as ingenious as it is simple. It involves securing a strip of wood with a 45 degree bevel to the wall, and then securing an opposing beveled strip on the back of a cabinet or anything you want to hang. Its incredibly strong and versatile. Its a great way to hang cabinetry. I know cleats are normally used on wall to hang tools, cabinets, or etc. My thought was that a typical door is frame and cause of that frame it minimalizes the amout of cupping or twisting. So what if you hid your frame inside your door by using cleats or even a dove tailed groove, that might add stability, so you make a double Cleated bracket like this [ and maybe have two massive hinges or some thing to that effect. the design is much like the pic submitted be Zircon just with a V groove in the board sandwhiched between the planks.

Question 3:What problems could you run into? The biggest problem I see and worry about is separation of the planks over time, the door not being completely functional, warping, and a system that might be difficult to assemble perfectly 26 times. My Papaw says that if a can, can sweat on the counter then you have to worry about humidity. These are massive doors and need to be able to stand the test of time. I think that with a good, high quality finish that might to protect the door quality and legacy.
 

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Nice post. The doors of our work there will be a water seal around the track. If water was to overcome the seal, which must include water and run around the track and drains the fund. I'm trying to get an idea for you.

What is difficult to do is design the door to include a mosquito net that opens outward, too. It is easy to get the door shut from the outside, then cut from the inside screen, but if both are open to the outside world (because of limited space inside the camper) it is difficult to close the screen can then open the outer door from the inside.
 

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Having a fair amount of solid wood experience, my vote goes to the Marlboro Man's system. I have done similar procedure on somewhat smaller projects with good success.
 

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Marlboro Man's system is the same principle the cleats would take the place of the dado and give a groove to act like a key locking the planks on two sides. I like his system, too. My goal is not to say my idea is the best, just a way to allow him to bulid a functional, quailty door that will last, while sticking with his original concept.
 

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Here's a good discussion and more info...

Thanks a lot, thats a lot of good information, really appreciate it.
http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_base/Solid_Wood_Entry_Door_Construction.html

There seems to be 2 basic types of construction:
1. glued up solids, using a locking type glue joint, or just edge joined and glued
2. laminated solids on a core, either plywood, or of short lengths with epoxy, or loose cross stiles with dados. A variation would be exposed "X" braces on one side, probably not acceptable. visually.
My fear is in the case of a solid plank glue up that unless the wood is very straight grained that one of the boards decides to warp or twist especially close to the hinges it will multiply telegraph that movement across the entire door and it will no longer seal/lock at the opposite side.
The laminated core will prevent this. It does involve using thinner stock, unless you want a nice thick door say 2 1/4" which would be in character for the use of walnut.
The discussion above brings in a heated/cooled interior having an effect on the door which may be at a different temperature or humidity than the outside surface having the potential for warping.
You need to make very certain which ever method you chose has a proven history since a recall on 26 doors would be a disaster. Best of luck, ;) bill
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks again to all for the input. As I've thought through these alternatives another idea came to mind using some of the principles you all have shared. Given that my first choice is to use single planks in the slab format and avoid sandwiching thinner stock together, I'm wondering if I could use wooden dowels running horizontally, similar to the suggestions above with the hidden rails or cleats. That way I could avoid using the thinner stock. So in this scenario I would have six 5 1/2" wide planks of 1 5/8 or 1 3/4 thickness, with a 5/8" or 3/4" walnut dowel running horizontally through the middle of each plank. I would run three of them (top, middle, bottom) and I could make them blind on the outside boards, by not drilling all the way through the outside planks, that way the edges of the door would be clean. I could still use the locking glue joints mentioned above. The question I guess is whether the dowels would provide the rigidity I'm looking for (my sense is that they would) and whether there any potential construction issues with this method, such as getting the dowel holes to line up perfectly, etc. As always any thoughts are very much appreciated.
 

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I have never tried this but it doesn't sound like it would be effective to me. Steel rods perhaps.
 

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A varaition on the dowels

A threaded steel rod would solve the issue of clamping and the nuts could be counterbored in the 2 outside slabs to conceal them. I can't vouch for the stability/warp issue, but they certainly won't sag if you used 3 or 4 rods, say 1/2" dia. even if the glue joint failed here or there.
A typical drill press will not have enough travel 4" or so, to bore the holes in one pass so you'll have to make a straight line boring jig for a hand held 1/2" drill. Hardened guide blocks are available to make your own. A commercial jig is also available. Obviously a fool proof method of lining up the holes is a must.
 
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