Work Around the House #1: New Screen Door

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Blog entry by b1v1r posted 04-21-2017 02:28 PM 1117 reads 2 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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We recently bought a ~22 year old house that needs some work and updating. As one of my first real projects around the house, I needed a new screen door to enjoy our screened in porch. The old door had decayed to the point of falling apart. I thought this would be a great place to start with a new found hobby of woodworking.

The finished project is here:

I won’t go into too much detail here – just wanted to go through my steps.

As I have just recently moved to the area, I have yet to find a good source of wood. So, lacking the time to explore my options, I just picked up some 5/4 clear pine from the big box store. I rough cut everything and laid out what I wanted.

I decided to roughly stay with the same way to attach the screen as the old door. It used a simple rabbet with a slot cut in for the screen spline. A trim piece was then used to cover the rabbet and spline. Here is a test piece next to a section cut off the old screen door for comparison. I went with a simple beveled edge that would be easy for me to match on a table saw for a rail and stile frame. In hindsight, I should have gone with a bit more of a bevel – this one is barely noticeable and more of an angle would have helped keep it centered later in the glue up.

I ended up needing some downward pressure to keep the joint from separating. As I stated before, more of a bevel might have helped here to keep it centered.

Everything was fit into place after the glue up and then I applied a penetrating stain. The stain was a mix of Dark Walnut and Gunstock to try to match the dark, but slightly red tinted existing wood.

This is a picture of the stained frame with the unstained trim fitted in place, followed by the (nearly) finished door with screen in place.

I also coated the door (pre-assembly, then another coat post-assembly) with a deck waterproofing that had a slight tint. This will (hopefully) keep it from the elements and also helped me match the existing deck color.

Here is a final picture with the hardware on and door installed.


-- Brian - Ellicott City, MD

4 comments so far

View Holbs's profile


2262 posts in 2636 days

#1 posted 04-21-2017 04:30 PM

looks fantastic! A family relative bought me one of those vinyl framed screen porch doors for my front door. It has no…’flavor’ and looks to be made out of white milk cartons. I favor your screen door! Can explain the spline bevel that you thought was important?
And if this is the final end to your screen door project, should also post up on the ‘project’ portion of LumberJocks so you can give other’s inspiration and thought, instead of just here in blog.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View b1v1r's profile


22 posts in 1008 days

#2 posted 04-21-2017 06:51 PM

The bevel was for quite a few reasons:
  • I liked the look and simplicity of it
  • I wanted the water not to pool on the lip, but to have a bevel for it to run down
  • I could cut it on a table saw as I don’t have a router table (yet)
  • I did not use a mortise (or biscuit as it was too tight), so I wanted the bevel to lock the joint in place so it could not slide apart
  • I wanted the bevel to help center the wood when clamping by pushing the middle portions together

It turned out that the bevel was not quite enough to give good clamping force (forcing the two pieces together when clamped). A steeper bevel would have helped resolve this. Though, if I were to do this again, I’d just drill some extra holes and put in dowels – I just did not have this and was pressed for time a bit.

-- Brian - Ellicott City, MD

View Paul Bader's profile

Paul Bader

14 posts in 2194 days

#3 posted 04-21-2017 07:23 PM

Nice work thank you for sharing this. I need to build a screen door also before the summer.

View htl's profile


4872 posts in 1766 days

#4 posted 04-22-2017 12:03 AM

Nice job on your first of many blogs here I hope.
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