May/June 2006
Volume 49
Issue 3
Archived Project Plans
Project Articles
woodworking Plan The Entrance to your Home
woodworking Plan The Rotating Benchtop Storage Unit
woodworking Plan The Kite String Winder
woodworking Plan Owners Gallery
woodworking plans Letters from Owners
Academy Notes
Spindle turning on the MARK V
Service Pointers
Lathe Tailstock and Tool Rest
What's New
Shopsmith Router Arm
woodworking plans Find A Shopsmith Woodworking Academy Near You
woodworking plans National Woodworking Academy in Dayton, OH
woodworking plans Online Accessory Catalog
woodworking plans Request Printed Accessory Catalog
woodworking plans Links Worth Visiting
woodworking plans Free Woodworking Tips
Contacting Shopsmith
Copyright 2006
Shopsmith, Inc.
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woodworking plans     

How to build a solid wood front door that will impress - Your personality hinges on it !

Planning ahead and things to consider

Door size: Most standard exterior doors are 1-3/4" thick by 36" wide by 80" high…however, you may be replacing an existing door that's a different size, or even wanting to add a double door. Just remember…doors smaller than 36" wide will make it very difficult for you to get furniture or appliances into your house…and could prevent access by handicapped individuals. In some areas of the country, building codes REQUIRE 36" wide exterior doors

Door style: The door to your home should be compatible with its exterior architectural style and interior decorating style. Whether it's arts & crafts, Early American, contemporary, English Tudor or something completely different, it should blend seamlessly. Just rely on your own good taste. We've included drawings for a couple of alternative styles in this article…but you might want to visit a local home center or door wholesaler to get some additional ideas.

Wood type: Some woods are obviously better suited for exterior doors than others. Mahogany, oak, ash, birch, hard maple and teak are excellent hardwood choices. Cedar, fir and pine are typical softwoods. However, with proper drying and some special attention during the finishing process, you should get years of enjoyment from whatever species of wood you select.
Remember, too, that moisture will be a definite factor on this particular project, as exterior doors can go through some unbelievable dimensional changes. If your door warps or swells, the fit can seriously affect its operation, as well as air and water infiltration.

Glue: Today's woodworker has a number of glue options that just didn't exist until just a few years ago. Before this, the options were limited to resorcinol and other two-part glues that had to be mixed, left unsightly glue lines and could be difficult to use. Today, there are a number of new two-part waterproof adhesives…plus many single-part options, as well. For our money, the best of these single-part choices is one of the new polyurethane glues.

Finish: Exterior doors require an exterior grade finish. For stained finishes, we recommend an oil-based stain, a sealer and a clear top finish such as marine varnish or polyurethane. Remember that not all exterior stains are sealers…and that such doors MUST be adequately sealed to prevent excessive moisture absorption…especially on all exposed end grains.
Your specific situation may call for a good grade oil or latex-based paint to match your existing doors. Just remember NOT to use lacquer-based finishes on exterior doors…and always follow the manufacturer's instructions for application.

Joinery: Review the following set-ups and procedures in your copy of the Power Tool Woodworking for Everyone textbook that came with your MARK V: - Dadoing - Rabbeting - Tongue-and groove joinery - Making raised panels - Drillng & boring - Mortising - Molding & shaping

Let's get started.

1. If you're starting with rough lumber, use your Thickness Planer to mill all materials to their required 1-3/4" and 1-1/2" thicknesses.

2. Rip one straight edge on all pieces and run this edge through your Jointer , making sure these edges are square with the faces of the stock.

3. Once all of your material has been ripped, refer to the example cutting list below and bring all workpieces to their required base dimensions. In our example, the items we want to mill first are the Panel pieces (E,F).
Start by cutting eight pieces 3-1/4" x 31-3/4" for the Panels (E) - and 12 pieces 3" x 28" for Panels (F). Assembling these panels from multiple narrow pieces allows you to run your stock through the planer to achieve the required 1-1/2" Panel thickness. Be sure to do this planing before assembly .
Assemble the Panel pieces using dowels, Glue Joint Cutters on your Shopsmith Molding or Shaping set-up or Biscuits. Once they're assembled, clamped and dried thoroughly, cut all Panel pieces to final outside dimensions, as shown on the Cutting List.

4. Cut all Stiles (A), Rails (B,C) and the Mullion (D) to size. Rip all dimensions to 1/8" wider than indicated to allow for the removal of 1/16" off each side by running your stock over the Jointer. This will produce a finished edge without unsightly blade or milling marks.

5. Lay out and mark the positions of all dowel holes for joining the Rails and the Stiles. It's important that this be done before cutting the tongues and grooves.

6. Use a Dado Blade to form the grooves on both sides of the Mullion (D), and the three center Rails - and on one edge of the top and bottom Rails and the two Stiles (A).

7. Next, cut the mating Tongues on the ends of all Rails and the Mullion.

8. Scrape, clean and square all Panels

9. Cut the bevels to create the raised panel effect. An extension fence will help stabilize your stock when cutting these. Plans for such a fence are included in the Table Sawing section of your Power Tool Woodworking textbook. Hand Scrapers make an excellent choice for removing any unsightly mill marks that could be created when cutting these panel bevels.

10. Sand all pieces prior to assembly. It's best to finish the panels prior to assembly to seal them thoroughly and prevent the absorption of moisture.

11. Glue and clamp the door assembly at the Rail and Mullion ends only. The Panels should float in the grooves of he door frame pieces to allow them to expand and contract with changes in the weather.

12. Various types of moldings could be attached at this stage to add more character to your door…or you could actually cut the molded shapes into the Stiles, Rails and Mullion during steps 6 & 7.

13. Finish to your liking as described earlier.


Cutting list...

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