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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.
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.
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.