Bad Door Made Good (Part 2)

Continuing straight on from Part 1 then; I picked up a few lengths of 4x2in redwood (unsorted) from my local timber merchant, Staddons. I went in with the intention of buying saw boards and preparing them myself but, I knew I would only struggle to plane even two 2.1m lengths in my workshop (those 1.8m lengths I used for my workbench last year proved to be enough of a challenge!). So, I payed a bit extra (about Β£50 in total) I bought my materials with a finished size of 94x44mm, which is ideal. They were even kind enough to select a couple of straight lengths for the stiles, at my request – I couldn’t fault the timber that was chosen for me. Perhaps not the kind of service you’d expect to find at a larger yard, which is why I like using these guys for small orders like this. You’re not allowed anywhere near to the timber for H&S reasons but, having them select the boards for you is the next best thing. 😎

After taking a few key measurements off the old stiles, both before and after the old door’s destruction, I could set out all the mortises on both of the new stiles; marked up in pairs. The hard part was then cutting the mortises, in a space that’s only 5.4m long x 3m wide and filled with machinery and wood! I know my mortiser would’ve done a great job but, it’s very heavy and difficult to move out of the corner it currently lives in. I have plans to rearrange everything again in the near future but, on this occasion, I decided to remove most of the waste on my pillar drill and then clean up with some chisels:

My workshop really is set up for making furniture only, which is a bit of a shame as I’d like to be able to offer joinery items on the side… One day! I don’t think I’ll drill the mortises out ever again though – next time, I’ll buy a dedicated router cutter.

Next, I cut the tenons using a simple ‘large tenon jig’ that I first made a few years ago for the router (these rails are too big for my router table).

Each rail is clamped in place using a pair of Clamp Knobs and, with a large acrylic baseplate fitted, the Β½in router runs over the top. Again, I used one of Wealden’s tenon cutters with the router set on a slow speed. It still leaves an excellent finish but, as my test piece revealed that the jig was cutting slightly off-square, I scribed the shoulder lines with a knife and finished them by hand, afterwards.

I still wonder whether I’d have been better of using my sliding mitre saw to cut the shoulders, since I couldn’t be bothered to find out why the jig was ‘out’?

With all the joints cut, it was time to start cutting the ovolo mouldings and the rebates on the otherwise. Both of which presented a challenge – again, working with 2.1m length in my workshop. πŸ™‚

I was tempted to try and cut grooves for both the timber and glass panels but, I decided to copy the 10x28mm rebates as on the original. At the very least, it makes it easier to replace any damage parts, later. Oh, and don’t forget to fit any rebated door with the rebates on the inside, for security! πŸ˜‰

I didn’t fancy trying to feed those long lengths over my 600mm-long router table (I’m sure it wouldn’t have been practical, either) so, again, I opted to cut them with my hand-held router, using the side fence. My bearing-guided rebate cutter wasn’t large enough so, I opted to do it as below; using a second rail to help support the router…

It wasn’t perfect and I’m certain there are better ways to do this, without a spindle moulder. πŸ˜• I now reckon I could’ve done it with the timber lying flat, using two cutters – first, the bearing-guided rebate cutter, set to 10mm/3/8in wide. This wouldn’t cut the full 28mm depth though, but, I think I probably could’ve finished that off with a straight trim-cutter. Oh, well – maybe next time! At least this door is being painted; meaning that, where I did ‘wobble’ a couple of times, I could at least patch the damage with filler…!

If you haven’t done anything like this before, I’d advise you to draw a full-size rod immediately after preparing all your timber to finished size. This’ll allow you to set out the correct dimensions of all the joints – for example; you may not realise how rebates and moulding can effect the width of a tenon:

Don't forget your rebates!

I’d done this sort of thing before and I had the original frame to work with so, I didn’t bother to draw up a rod, on this occasion. I was well aware of this and that it would appear on both top and bottom edges of the middle rail. πŸ˜‰

With a moulding cut on all the inner edges of the frame, this presents an issue where the rail meets the stile:

(In that photo, I have cut away enough of the bead so that the shoulder would butt up flush.)

Back in the first year of college, I think we simply mitred these joints… Trouble with mitres is that, as the wood expands and contracts, they will ‘open up’, which is going to be a problem when your door or window frame is exposed to the elements. So, I decided to scribe these, which does first involve cutting a 45Β° mitre on the rail-portion of each moulding, using a saddle I made earlier that day:

A Mitre Saddle.

It’s just like scribing the internal mitres when fitting skirting boards – the 45Β° cut gives you an outline to follow for a perfect fit. Remove the waste with a gouge and chisel and it should butt up nicely.

The alternative is to scribe the end-grain of the rail itself, using a matched pair of profile cutters, which you should be able to see below:

For this though, you would almost certainly need a spindle moulder or tenonner with the appropriate tooling for the job. There are some large router cutters available in the US for external doors like this but, I haven’t use them myself and they cost around Β£100 a set! Scribing the moulding instead presents a cost-effective solution for the average home woodworker. πŸ˜‰

Getting read for the glue-up, I found that both tenons on the bottom rail were slack. I can’t figure out why, when they were actually slightly thinner than the stiles, where I had joined two lengths of 94x44mm together to give the required width of both mid and bottom rails (it was more economical than buying 8in wide pine boards). They had to be flattened with a belt sander after, gluing up.

I didn’t alter the setting from my test cuts with the top rail, either. Anyway, I glued a scrap of veneer on to one face of each tenon and that seemed to do the job. No idea what species this was, by the way. It was something I found in a Β£5 Offcuts bag I bought at Yandles, last year.

Note the twin-tenons used to stabilise a wide rail and prevent it from cupping or distorting (this is a shot of the bottom rail). I also added a haunch on the top rail, which is designed to prevent rails from twisting.

When it came to gluing up, I wanted to use the draw-boring technique to pull the joints up tight, without the need for sash cramps. I gave each dowel an offset of 3mm, which usually works well. But, on this occasion, it wasn’t enough and I had to resort to adding sash cramps… Which kind of defeats the object of this exercise – I may as well have just clamped them up tight and then drilled straight through both parts to secure with dowels. πŸ˜›

Perhaps it was because I used 10mm dowel and, with this being soft pine, the beech dowels elongated the holes I’d drilled, without pulling the shoulders up… I did taper the ends of each dowel…?

My new saw horses in action: 😎

Yep, that’s certainly looking much flatter than the original door!! πŸ˜‰

While the glue was going off (Titebond II – left for only one-hour in the cramps and it’s been fine since), I machined up some scraps that I could use for beading on the inside of the door, when it comes to fitting the panels, later.

Most of it is oak but, without breaking in to my stocks of good wood, I didn’t have anything long enough in the same species to hold the DGU in place. So, I machined up this scrap of southern yellow pine, which I’d been hanging on to for at least… Four-years! πŸ˜€

I’ve already started painting the door in preparation for hanging, sometime this week – when, exactly, depends simply on the weather… More on that to come in Part 3! πŸ™‚

Thanks for reading.

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