craftsman style Entry door with cutom stained glass leaded light

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Project by DaytonB posted 08-17-2009 10:30 PM 16390 views 34 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

African mahogany entry door.

This was a great learning experience. I learned you can’t just build an all wood door, you mush first “build” the lumber used to construct it, nearly half of the time required to build a solid wood door, that wont warp, is spent preparing the wood. Once done with this step the average person would not be able to tell that you had done anything towards building the door.
When building the panels you must have separate interior and exterior panels so that the outside and inside environments aren’t both working on the same piece of wood. I resawed a 6/4” board in half, then planed them down to about 1/2”, I then glued the inside and out side panels to a 1/2 MDF core in a vacuum bag, (this was a tip given to me by master craftsman and fellow LJ Les Hastings) the MDF functions as a stable core and insulation for the panels.

I used a stave core design, the idea here is to glue strips or staves together with alternating grain patters so that when one stave wants to move a sertain way there are several others fighting it, keeping the over all rail or stile from warping. First off you cut the 8/4 stock down into approx 1 1/2” square staves. Then mix them up and flip some end-for-end then gluing them back together. Once dry, jointed and planed, you glue a 1/4×5 1/2” veneer, that is cut from another solid board, to both sides of each stave block , this is so that once glued the board will look like solid lumber again. The 6th picture above is end cuts of a stile and panel, you can see the staves and outer veneers, the black is end grain paint.

2” mortise and tennons along with 1/2×3” dowels (2 per side for top and middle rail and 4 on the bottom) were used to construct the door, there is also 4 bolted steel thread rods (2 in bottom rail and one rod in each of the other two rails) running the width of the door. These were covered with custom cut plugs.

I used a marine epoxy (recommended by Les Hastings) for most of the construction, but ran out so I finished with some titebond 3. The finish is 3 coats of a wiping varnish using 1/3 spar polly, 1/3 tung oil, 1/3 B. linseed oil. Then 3 or 4 more coats of straight spar varnish.

Leaded light

This was my first leaded glass project but I have a good friend who is a retired leaded light maker. He loaned me the tools needed and gave me several pointers and a couple books. I’m very pleased with how it turned out.

The door has been hanging for approx 5 months now, through very high temps and humidity outside and cool, low humidly inside, with no noticeable movement.


21 comments so far

View degoose's profile


7287 posts in 4804 days

#1 posted 08-17-2009 10:36 PM

You certainly did a wonderful job on the door and thanks for all the insider info on construction,

-- Be safe.

View Innovator's profile


3589 posts in 4863 days

#2 posted 08-17-2009 10:38 PM

That is one beautiful door, great job.

-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

View John Daugherty's profile

John Daugherty

33 posts in 4886 days

#3 posted 08-17-2009 11:04 PM

That is one great looking door. I also really like the glass. That african mahogany is some great looking stuff.

View Les Hastings's profile

Les Hastings

1306 posts in 5223 days

#4 posted 08-17-2009 11:15 PM

Looks like its holding up great Dayton. Great choice on the glass, awesome looking door!

-- Les, Wichita, Ks. (I'd rather be covered in saw dust!)

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2824 posts in 5040 days

#5 posted 08-17-2009 11:55 PM

beautiful door

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 5123 days

#6 posted 08-18-2009 12:54 AM

Nice front door.

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 4735 days

#7 posted 08-18-2009 02:58 AM

Awesome door! The glass is a perfect touch. Thanks for sharing all the info. Never knew there was so much to making a door.

-- John @

View Splinterman's profile


23074 posts in 4811 days

#8 posted 08-18-2009 11:21 AM

Good design and finish…..well done.

View dhg's profile


197 posts in 5162 days

#9 posted 08-18-2009 02:55 PM

It’s beautiful! nice job.

-- Talent on Loan from God - Rush Limbaugh

View Rick's profile


367 posts in 4660 days

#10 posted 08-18-2009 03:10 PM

That sounds difficult. Looks amazing though. I think I’ll hire you if my wife ever asks for one.

View DaytonB's profile


154 posts in 5316 days

#11 posted 08-18-2009 03:38 PM

Thanks for all the complements guys, I appreciate it.

Rob (socalwood) this door is under a N-NE facing porch so it is not exposed to much water or any direct sun, it is possible for some water/moisture to get between the bottom rail and the panel but that area was pre-finished with 2 coats of varnish, I also put a bead of 100% silicon calk in the channel before inserting the pre-finished panels during assembly. The 7 or 8 coats of finish applied after assemble should also help limit any water intrusion.



View bfd's profile


502 posts in 5257 days

#12 posted 08-18-2009 04:04 PM

Stunning! Thanks for the detailed info on the build and including the section shot. The craftmanship and design are stellar.

View woodtag777's profile


21 posts in 4791 days

#13 posted 08-18-2009 04:42 PM

Wow!!! love the door, have attempted to build 3 so far, and none as beautiful as yours. I have been using 2×4’s and pallets to practice with. I wish i could use “real” wood. Excelent job, I would not have thought to use veneers, or one to stand up to the weather.

View a1Jim's profile


118322 posts in 5027 days

#14 posted 08-19-2009 02:30 AM

fantastic door looks great


View mmh's profile


3701 posts in 5172 days

#15 posted 08-27-2009 06:02 AM

VERY impressive door! Especially for a first time effort. I’ve been wanting to build a custom door, but I think I may need some help with the techniques. Let me know when you’re in Maryland and ready to make a custom door!

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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