Tests done, filling bags with shavings. Making the rails and stiles.

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Rich posted 12-04-2016 06:47 PM 1227 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

At this point, I felt I was as ready as I was going to be to get started. As a first effort, I chose a 30 inch closet door in the entry hall. I did the standard prep to the 8/4 lumber, flattening, squaring, planing and ripping to width. I spent a lot of time setting up in feed and out feed rollers to support the longer pieces. I went ahead and crosscut the rail pieces to 24 inches to make them easier to work with, but the stiles needed support on the jointer and planer.

One thing that should have occurred to me, but didn’t, was the enormous amount of shavings I would create. The 8/4 lumber is 1-7/8 inches and an interior door frame is 1-3/8 inches thick. That meant I was planing 1/2 inch off of each stile and rail piece. I have a large chip separator for my dust collector, but that thing filled up right away and before I knew it, the bag on the dust collector was full. Let’s just say that over the course of milling for all of the doors, the horses got to enjoy some premium bedding.

I glued up the pieces for the kick rail and lock rail and set them aside to dry. I wanted to wait until the dry fit of the frame pieces before gluing up the wood for the panels. I had rough calculations for the dimensions of the panels, but wanted to wait and measure it before I made any cuts.

It was time to start cutting the rails and stiles on the router table. I decided that two inch tenons would be sufficient to bear the weight of the door.

I tossed together a coping sled out of some MDF and toggle clamps. With the sled, coping the rails went smoothly. It took two passes because the diameter of the bit is less than the width of the cut.

I won’t bore you with all of the fuss setting up the cuts, but eventually I had three rails and two stiles all milled up. The top rail tenon I left in one piece, but cut back 1 inch. The lock and kick rails were cut back 1 inch as well, but I split them in two.

The stick cuts were easy. I had bought a router table that was a bolt-on extension for my table saw as a space saver, but it turned out to have the added benefit of giving me a huge working area on the saw side of the bit. The weight of the entire thing also gave me the stability I needed to push the stiles through with four feather boards holding everything in place. They add a lot of friction.

I needed to mortise the stiles for the long tenons. My Jet mortiser didn’t have the clearance to handle the 5 inch stiles, so I had to detour and make a stand for it. The mortiser is designed to be able to be turned 180º for mortising taller pieces. I built a base and riser for it out of MDF, and cut MDF pieces to stack for various wood dimensions. I didn’t want to have to change it when I work on smaller cabinet frames.

Once that was complete, it was easy to do the mortises for the stiles, and I was ready to do some dry fitting, make the panels, and glue it up.

— Rich

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

2 comments so far

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3471 posts in 4318 days

#1 posted 12-05-2016 04:46 AM


This is a great blog and very helpful. I’ve put off making doors for two closets that have 42” openings. I’m not altogether certain if I will make 2, 3 (1 bi-fold, 1 single) or 4 (2 bi-folds) doors for each closet, but I want them to coordinate with 6-panel doors.

I didn’t realize the importance of the long tenons. I’ll be following your blog. Maybe one day we’ll actually have doors on those closets!


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Rich's profile


5137 posts in 1195 days

#2 posted 12-05-2016 05:22 AM

Thanks, Lefty (if I may call you that). I lived in Milwaukee in the late ‘60s and ‘70s. I do not miss the cold. Great shot of the northern. I’ll have to tell you sometime about the muskie I caught in the moonlight on a 14 foot aluminum boat on some lake around Eagle River whose name I can’t recall. It was quite an experience.

Funny you mention bi-folds. Those are next. These will be simple beaded frames with mortise and tenon joints. My wife loves the rustic look, so the field will be salt cedar instead of panels. I’m not sure when I’ll get started on them, but I will definitely be posting it here.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics