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Thread: Exterior door

  1. #1

    Exterior door

    Hello, I am looking for some advice on building an exterior door. The door will be for a small post and beam cabin my son is building in Maine. My plan is to use quarter sawn white oak. The final thickness will be 2". I am planning a Shaker Style door. I have looked for 10/4" white oak. As mentioned the final thickness will be 2" after milling. I have not had a lot of luck locating 10/4 stock and when I have it is relatively expensive. My question is, would it be a reasonable approach to laminate 5/4" stock for the rails, stiles and center mullion. The stiles will be 4" to 5" in width with the bottom rail being 8 1/2" in width. If this is a reasonable approach any suggestion on an appropriate glue. The joinery will be mortise and tenon for the rails and stiles and the center mullion. I have made an interior door before but this will be a first exterior door for me. Any advice is welcome. Thanks

  2. #2
    White oak has nature made “over kill” strength.” I would make the door I and 1/4 ,or 1 and 3/ 8ths . Don’t forget shutters for the
    windows.

  3. #3
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    I would not try and source 10/4 material; not only will it be harder to find, it's going to be darn expensive and there some level of risk that it may not be as dry internally as you might prefer. (that's not a given. it's just a risk) Personally, I'd do a three lay lamination as that will allow you to construct very stout mortise and tenons without having to cut the mortises after the fact. (I like this method for interior doors, too) You should end up with a very stable and strong door using this technique.
    --

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

  4. #4
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    I'd look for 8/4 and make the door 1-3/4" like standard exterior house doors. If it just has to be 2" then multi-layer, as Jim recommended, 2 layer, 3 layer, both are fine. I'd make the stiles twice the width of your lockset setback. As for glue, I use epoxy because it stands up to anything and is forgiving if your joinery isn't perfect, and it has a long working time to avoid stress during glue-up. If you don't like epoxy, then I'd use Gorilla Glue or some other PU glue because it's waterproof and retains strength at high temperature (direct sun).

    John

  5. #5
    John,
    Any suggestions on an epoxy for this job? Having never used epoxy there will be a learning curve.

  6. #6
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    West Systems 105 or System Three T-88 would be my choice. Besides being weatherproof, strong, and gap filling if you add filler, epoxy with the right catalyst has a really long working time which makes assembly possible w/o heartburn. It behaves like a lubricant, too, as you slide the pieces together.

    You can clean up squeeze out and runs with lacquer thinner or, hard to believe but true, white vinegar. White vinegar makes it possible to use epoxy to assemble prefinished parts, when that's a preferred option with some projects.

    If you have the larger Domino, I would strongly consider that option instead of traditional M&T's. Far easier and more than strong enough for the application.

    If you are using traditional solid wood panels and have to glue up stock to get them wide enough, I advise not to use TB III as it does not behave well if the door is exposed to direct sunlight. The high temperature performance of TB III is terrible which can easily cause the glue line to fail. TB II would work fine, as would Gorilla Glue or of course epoxy. My preference is not to set the panels in a dado in the stiles/rails, because if it should crack you're faced with a big job to replace it. I set them in a rabbett and capture them with molding which is easily removed should the panel need replacement. Q-Lon weatherstripping is a good choice for sealing the door in the frame (jamb) and easy to install.

    Have fun. Doors are such a great project. Lots of details, pretty small tolerances for such a large object, but a lot of satisfaction when it fits right and the design compliments the structure.

    John

  7. #7
    I recently put a lockset on a 2 1/4" thick door. What a PIA!

    No one has parts to fit, including the old school door shop that has everything. Finally ordered a lockset from Build.com that they said would fit,

    but still had to have a follow up order to make it work.

    The door was also big and heavy- easily 125lbs.

  8. #8
    John,
    Thank you for all of the information. I have never used epoxy so I am a little bit apprehensive. I will research West Systems. I do not have a Domino so I believe I will go with standard M&T. Trying to get my head around the mortises as they will be deeper than I can accomplish with a router. Should be a fun and challenging project. This is for my sons post and beam cabin that he and his girlfriend are building in Maine. He has cut the tress on his own property and he and has hand hewn the timbers using a broadax and slicks. Quite an accomplishment. He has asked me to make the door for the cabin and I want it to be a wonderful addition to their home.

  9. #9
    John, Thanks for the information. This is the first exterior door for me. I am building it for my son for his home in Maine. I am still trying to work out the details to make it weather tight and hold up to Maine winters and change os seasons. I need to further research locusts. Thanks for the advice, I will check out Build.com.

  10. #10
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    RAKA epoxy is a cheaper alternative to West System. I used it to build a couple of canoes and was very pleased with it.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cameron Wood View Post
    I recently put a lockset on a 2 1/4" thick door. What a PIA!

    No one has parts to fit, including the old school door shop that has everything. Finally ordered a lockset from Build.com that they said would fit,

    but still had to have a follow up order to make it work.

    The door was also big and heavy- easily 125lbs.
    Emtek is mid range hardware and will prep both tubular and full mortise locks for doors up to 3” thick. You have to specify at time of order though. Baldwin, Rocky Mountain and other high end suppliers also do this. You just need to specify. Low end lock sets from the home centers are tough to make work on thicker doors.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by John TenEyck View Post
    I'd look for 8/4 and make the door 1-3/4" like standard exterior house doors. If it just has to be 2" then multi-layer, as Jim recommended, 2 layer, 3 layer, both are fine. I'd make the stiles twice the width of your lockset setback. As for glue, I use epoxy because it stands up to anything and is forgiving if your joinery isn't perfect, and it has a long working time to avoid stress during glue-up. If you don't like epoxy, then I'd use Gorilla Glue or some other PU glue because it's waterproof and retains strength at high temperature (direct sun).
    John
    I highly recommend you don’t use Gorilla glue. We do wide belt sanding for other shops and when I see panels coming in glued with Gorilla they are usually failing coming out of the sander. Long time user of TB3 here and never any problems. It is a very inconsistent product for viscosity though. I always stir up the pails before using and any panel joints are reinforced when used on exterior.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 09-05-2023 at 10:59 AM. Reason: fixed quote tagging

  13. #13
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    I'd opt for T-88 epoxy or similar for this application as they are structural epoxies, designed for this kind of work.
    --

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

  14. #14
    Jim,
    Thanks for the information. As I said earlier I have never used epoxy with the exception of the small tubes available at Lowe's, Home Depot etc. I am little concerned but will give it a shot. I think I may go the laminate route it may make the mortises easier since I may actually cut the mortise slot prior to glue up. I was thinking mortises 3" deep and difficult to do with a router setup. I have never cut mortises this big by hand and if I can measure and align properly I think I can allow for the mortises prior to glue up. Do you recommend a respirator while using epoxy.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Calhoon View Post
    Emtek is mid range hardware and will prep both tubular and full mortise locks for doors up to 3” thick. You have to specify at time of order though. Baldwin, Rocky Mountain and other high end suppliers also do this. You just need to specify. Low end lock sets from the home centers are tough to make work on thicker doors.

    Yes, this was an on-the-fly project, practically an emergency, and I started out trying to use something from the various ones on hand.

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