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Thread: New to Forum, Looking to make some exterior glass doors.

  1. #1

    New to Forum, Looking to make some exterior glass doors.

    Hello all,
    I'm a GC by trade, and I've been getting into wood working for sometime. I have recently picked up a nice Delta Unisaw and a Delta 8in Jointer.

    I'm very interested in wood working and I'm highly motivated, as I bought a Mid-Century modern home in an area of the US custom work doesn't particular exist in anymore.
    One of my first projects will be doors, interior and exterior. Right now I'm looking for information on building fullview glass doors, using 4 3/4" styles and rails. These will have to be paint grade, unless using QS WO on the interior and Ipe or Cumaru on the exterior is possible. Searching forums etc, haven't found a way to make that possible. So Paint Grade it is. Does anyone have any recommendations on wood strong enough with such thin S/R's, I'm thinking Hard Maple as I don't want any grain showing through. I'm also considering what type of joinery to use, and so far loose tenon or dowels is what I've come up with. Any helpful information or links to similar projects would be greatly appreciated. Also, time isn't really a concern, I enjoy the projects and I'm in no hurry.

    The doors I'm trying to replicate look as such.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    WNY
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    First off, welcome to SMC. You'll find a wealth of information from helpful folks here.

    I'm not a door builder, per say, but I have made several exterior and interior doors. With regards to your planned door, I recommend you start by sourcing a stock insulated glass unit and adjust the stile/rail dimensions to fit. Also, I'm not sure that bottom rail is wide enough; I've never made one less than 8" wide, but I'm sure someone with more experience will address that.

    As for wood, there's no reason you can't have any wood you want on the outside and a different one on the inside if you use stave core construction with veneered skins. Every exterior door I've built was built this way and most have a different wood inside and out. This approach is a lot more involved than using solid wood but it will give you the design aesthetic you want. That said, I would not use Ipe' nor Cumaru on the outside. I'd look more at mahogany or something similar.

    Construction wise you can't beat traditional M&T joints, but loose tenons and dowels work fine, too. I would use structural epoxy to glue up the door. It's user friendly and very durable.

    John

  3. #3
    I appreciate the information, I would be fine with paint grade exterior and QS WO interior, I will have to do more research on the stave core construction method. If you have any good links to information on that type of construction I would appreciate it!

    The reason I would go with Cumaru or Ipe because thats what the exterior will be, I'm the kind of person that woods not matching next to one another would bug me for the rest of my life.

    As for the glass, I have found several options for glass, from online places as well as a couple local glass shops.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Cumaru and Ipe' both are hard to glue; that's why I recommended mahogany. If you want to use them though, I would do it with solid stock, but that won't give you white oak on the inside.

    Google "stave core door" for more info. on that construction technique.

    If you decide to go paint grade, mahogany is hard to beat. Douglas fir or white pine would work well, too. I wouldn't use maple even though it paints well. In any solid wood construction, you want quarter or rift sawn stock.

    John

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
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    Cambridge Vermont
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    Where you live will play a part in the decision as to how to build the doors. If you live up north then insulated glass is pretty much required. But if you are towards the south and if the space between the inner and outer doors isn't heated then you can get away with 1/4" tempered glass. While you can order any size you want there are standard sizes for glass for doors. 1/4" (or slightly lighter 3/16") glass will make muntins easier. You can order insulated glass with muntins between the glass but they don't look as nice unless there's external ones covering them. Another decision you'll need to make is do you want the glass easily removable. Most manufactured doors are built around the glass and if it breaks you need to replace the whole door.

    I personally like a door made with traditional tenons. Doors have a lot of force on them (mostly on the top hinge). Anything that can stiffen up the door just seams like a wise idea to me. I also like a wood that holds screws well. Some of the softer hardwoods need to have longer screws to get a good bite. 4 3/4" should allow you to use almost any type of wood. If you want to use ipe/ cumaru I would certainly go with a traditional tenon as those woods do not play well with glues.

  6. #6
    White oak on inside AND outside. Don't mix and make good white oak "catch" bad posture.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mel Fulks View Post
    White oak on inside AND outside. Don't mix and make good white oak "catch" bad posture.
    Along this line of thought, QSWO on the inside for the look and you can use rift or even flat sawn on the outside if you are going to paint, although I'd use the rift for even more consistent seasonal behavior. That said, there's a lot of value in the stave core method that John mentions for doors like this, although probably more so for a more solid door, rather than a full pane glass door like you intend to make. But building in layers does allow you to both create known flat components and also create M&T and even the grooving for the glass without the drudgery of deep mortising.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 12-20-2020 at 6:48 PM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  8. #8
    I donít want white oak on the outside because you canít hide the grain when painting. The house will have all Cumaru or Ipe siding, and mixing materials wonít allow me to sleep at night.
    I will be using IGUís for the windows in the doors, Iím considering 1Ē total thickness double pane 1/4in glass argon filled.
    As for the glass being removable, I would like it to be just in case.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Derek, that's making a core and thick veneers look very attractive if I were building this. Removable glass is relatively easy to execute, using matching filler strips on the inside that are fastened using non-permanent means without glue. On cabinets, I tend to do that with 23 gage pin nails, but for this application, I'd honestly use color coordinated trim head screws for security.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    North Dana, Masachusetts
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    The choice of door material is heavily influenced by the door location. Derek, where will the door go?

    If the door is exposed to strong sun and water, expect to maximize wood movement.

    Full glass doors are some of the most difficult to keep flat. Three point locking hardware, a porch roof, and good finish help. I used to build them.

  11. #11
    Mr Hodge, they absolutely will be facing a harsh environment, the morning sun beats down on this wall until late afternoon.

    As I mentioned, material choice is the part Iím most unsure of, as Iím fine with doing stave core, found the glass, have a local supplier of QS WO, I think I would prefer to use lvl cores, three point locks were already in the plan. The exterior materials is my biggest concern.

    As you can see from the pictures, what is there does not suit the house, I think they look cheap and like crap.
    CD23F4E7-0DA8-4F30-B44D-A9E3B0D39200.jpegE07BAFC5-8F32-4FD7-B3BF-1BE283518A8F.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12
    Also, I would like to make the veneers 3/8in thick. I would assume that is possible on a stave core.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Woods KY View Post
    Also, I would like to make the veneers 3/8in thick. I would assume that is possible on a stave core.
    I think ,from "imposed instructions ", and subsequent experience ; that 3/16 ths, to 1/8th is the right finished thickness.
    More stable than thick stuff. Some make them thicker just for straightening ease, since glues containing any water can
    make them bow. Using glue not containing water might allow stiles with no extra thickness.

  14. #14
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    I would not do the veneers 3/8" because of wood movement. I'd stay at or below .25" for better stability.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #15
    Join Date
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    Edmonton, Canada
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    I did a stave core mahogany door for our house and after 6 years its holding up very well. If you want to use stave core and save time and material one good option is to use LVL for the core and 1/8" thick veneer of your choice on the surface. This method has been used in door construction and given the stability of LVL results in stable components of door.
    I used (and would suggest the same) traditional M/T joinery. I also used West system epoxy for all the glue-ups as it's the ultimate glue (and weather resistant).
    Last edited by mreza Salav; 12-22-2020 at 10:47 AM.

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