French Doors

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Project by Twodeuce posted 11-07-2014 09:08 PM 2166 views 7 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Holy cow that took some doing! I read somewhere before I attempted the project that full size interior doors were not as easy as they seemed. So true.
I started off with maple from a local sawyer. Most of it was spalted! Let it dry for several weeks and got started. I had plenty of White Oak already in my garage acclimated, so I decided to use it as the stave core. Plus White Oak’s movement is close to Maple. If you don’t know what a stave core door is, don’t worry. I didn’t either until I started this journey. You can see a cross section of it above, but essentially it’s a bunch of small pieces glued at random lengths and oriented in a quarter sawn pattern to help minimize any bowing or twisting in the doors. The thought is, all of the little pieces will even out movement. Not the easiest or fastest route, but the right one for longevity.
The doors are 1 3/4” thick (most interior doors are 1 3/8”). Why this thickness? Cause I can! They are 92” high and 44” across for both doors.
I bought the Festool Domino XL for this project with many future projects in mind, but it was a definite time saver here (LOVE that thing FYI). Used 14mm dominos.
Glued the cores and rails/stiles with Titebond III. Used Unibond 800 for veneer. I tinted the glue with the same TransTint Dye (another bonus for whipping up your own glue batch) I used on the final doors. Dark Mission Brown. Used water as the carrier.
The finish is wipe on Poly I used by mixing Minwax Gloss Poly with mineral spirits. 1st 2 coats were 50/50 ratio. Last 4 coats were around 75% poly, 25% MS. For good hand applied Poly application, there are some great videos on YouTube for that. Final sand with brown paper bag…don’t laugh, try it!
I built my own jamb and stops as well. Hung them myself. Gary Katz’s videos and book I purchased on Amazon Kindle were indispensable for this build. I really enjoy his teaching methods.
I built MDF I-beams for flatness. Paired together, they also they worked well for support of the clamps. There were other jigs I made as well such as hinge mortise jigs and such.
I am glad to be finally done (about 3 months of work in the evenings off and on), but I feel great after doing it and would (and will) do it again!

6 comments so far

View brevort's profile


72 posts in 3331 days

#1 posted 11-07-2014 11:43 PM

Looks great…. you did it right.

-- Rick

View Northwest29's profile


1707 posts in 3495 days

#2 posted 11-08-2014 01:50 AM

Now that is one involved and time consuming project. Great craftsmanship! Are these for your own home?

-- Ron, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View NormG's profile


6508 posts in 4008 days

#3 posted 11-08-2014 02:42 AM

Very nice color and that you can see thru them

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View geekwoodworker's profile


378 posts in 2465 days

#4 posted 11-08-2014 10:34 AM

Those are some fine looking doors. And tall too. I find nothing more difficult than cutting long stock on the table saw.

Very nice.

View Twodeuce's profile


21 posts in 2863 days

#5 posted 11-08-2014 12:39 PM

Thank you. Yes these are for my office. The other side is an 8 ft opening that will require sidelights as well. Another first for me.
Geekwoodworker- yes long stock certainly has its challenges. The jointer, router table, bandsaw (resawing, i thought I was going to fall asleep) all brought with it a lot of problem solving. Infeed/outfeed rollers were very helpful.
I forgot to mention I used acrylic for the “glass”. Stonger and clearer than glass. Biggest plus is I could cut and shape it with my woodworking tools. Local plastics manufacturer sells 4’x8’ sheets. They recommended 3/16 thickness. Glad I went that route.

View schroeder's profile


702 posts in 5130 days

#6 posted 11-09-2014 02:01 PM

Excellent work! – Thanks for sharing the process! – They look great, excellent craftsmanship!


-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

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