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Thread: First Build of Solid Wood Doors

  1. #1

    First Build of Solid Wood Doors

    Hello to all. This is my first question to the group.

    I am planning to build solid wood (walnut) frame and panel doors.The question is whether I should use solid walnut throughout or glue up poplar for the stiles and rails and then cover with perhaps 1/8 walnut in an effortto reduce cost? Was wondering if the use of a poplar core would cause more woodmovement issues?

    Appreciate the help

    Sal

  2. #2
    They can be done either way. I've made them both ways according to situation ...and stuff written on the order.
    I don't see anything wrong with poplar cores and have used them. Thick walnut is expensive but will usually be better quality
    than the 4/4.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    WNY
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    6,123
    I assume you are talking about passage doors, not cabinet doors. I've made exterior house doors both ways, and other ways, too. You will find some who argue all doors should only ever be made with solid stock with wedged or pinned through tenons, while others will argue that skinned, stave core construction like you propose is better, while others will say the same for laminated solid stock stiles. Everyone is right; just ask them. My opinion is they all can and do work under the right conditions, while some are really challanged if the door is exposed to direct sunlight. With exposure to direct sunlight, even more so if the door is going to be painted a dark color and/or sit behind a storm door, I would favor solid wood construction. Even then I would vent the storm door and put tinted film on the glass to help reduce the temperature build up. If I used any of the glued up constructions, such as the stave core you are considering, I would only use resorcinol or plastic resin glue; and definitely not Titebond III which will lose a huge percentage of its strength at high temperature. This includes gluing up the panels. I often use epoxy to glue up the mortise and tenon joints because of its long open time and have never had any problems, but it loses substantial strength at high temperature, too, though it's far better than TB III.

    Speaking of the panels, I have always used back to back panels, not one solid panel. Solid panels will see a lot of stress from the wet outside to the dry inside conditions. Wide panels especially, like to warp and/or crack. By using two panels, back to back and separated by a vapor barrier, each sees much less stress and, therefore, has far less tendency to have problems.

    Good luck.

    John

  4. #4
    Thanks guys for the replies. They are very helpful.

    I should have been clearer. I was referring to interior passage doors. This may be a minor point; but should the face grain of the poplar core be perpendicular to the walnut skin to minimize the impact of wood movement or am I over thinking this?

    Thanks,
    Sal

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Edmonton, Canada
    Posts
    2,214
    I've built my passage doors out of solid (maple) with glued-in 3/4" plywood panels. For the exterior door I used stave core (of the same wood) with 1/8" skin.
    Alternatively, you can use LVL core and skin your wood over. Its more stable. Getting clean/nice walnut is hard and $$$$.

  6. #6
    Thanks again for the replies. Looks like I will go with the 1/8" skin over the poplar to reduce cost over a number of doors.

    Sal

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    WNY
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    6,123
    Interior doors usually present a lot fewer problems. However, I saw one at a millwork shop no less this past Winter where the lower, solid wood, full width panel was bowed so badly that it popped the retainer moldings off. So you still need to be diligent about construction, MC of your wood, etc.

    Yes, you want to build your stave cores so the faces you apply your veneer to are rift or QS. Poplar is a good choice, too, IMO.

    John

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    calif /sonoma county
    Posts
    136
    a 9' high dr I built recently -It Warped . Got it to the sight ,scribed to existing jambs And then I realize hardware side style had a little warp on the upper 1/3 .3/16 ? but enough to mean I need to make a new one . Wood was KD clear cedar .8-9% moisture . it might of dropped 1% between the build and the install . the replacement will be a lamination of 2 boards . i find reading grain direction to be a bit of a guess .though on the otherhand once the board warps i can see a clear picture of why .
    Advice to OP -higher the dr bigger the issue ,really look things over ,when issue arise really think it out there maybe a fix .I "Think" that 1 3/4" doors are less likely to give you trouble . Good luck and have fun .

  9. #9
    I can't see enough material savings there to warrant laminating stock like that. What's the savings? A few dollars a door? The trade off is some ungodly amount of clamping and veneering.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Central WI
    Posts
    5,268
    I've built a lot of doors up to 8' and had no issues with solid wood. Kiln dried quality wood, 2.5" floating tenons, doubled up if there is room and 1.75" thick. I've veneered enough that the risk of blowout or failed glue is at least as great as from using solid stock. If you don't have 8/4 you can glue up two 4/4 and oppose the rings for stability. The savings in labor makes up for the additional cost unless you have more time than money. I also use 4" hinges, three for a standard door and four for 8'. My 14 - 8' walnut doors in my office are 20 years old and look just like new. Dave

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    calif /sonoma county
    Posts
    136
    yeah i was working with what i could aquire or could get in a reasonable amount of time .

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