All Weather Front Door

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Project by shipwright posted 10-18-2012 05:54 AM 6678 views 31 times favorited 52 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Back in ‘04 when we remodeled / built the house we now live in I did a lot of the architectural woodwork and furnishings. I had always wanted to build a front door but was worried about the effects of cold wet air on the outside and warm dry air on the inside. It seemed like a good time to give it a try. This is what I came up with and I can say it has held up extremely well for eight years now with six months of cold rain and then hot (ish) summers.

There are actually two. The front door is 42” wide by 80” high and the back is 36” by 80”. They are both 2 1/4” thick. The composition is a sandwich of solid walnut, plywood and foam. The sketchup and the photos will give you the details. The main frame around which the rest is formed is made from “boards” that I laminated up from 1” wide strips of 3/4” plywood. My reasoning being that there was no way they could warp. Then after insulating inside the frame I added 1/4” plywood skins to form sort of a torsion box. The rest is cosmetic.

Coolest part…. they are very heavy and swing closed with a very solid “Thud!”

Photos # 1,2 and 4 are the front door.
Photo #3 is the back door.
Photo #5 is the internal layup.

For the 3/8 walnut skins I re-sawed 1” boards and put the halves opposite each other on the inside and outside of the doors to carry on the illusion of a solid door.

Thanks for looking


-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

52 comments so far

View bobasaurus's profile


3645 posts in 3995 days

#1 posted 10-18-2012 06:11 AM

Looks nice. What finish did you use to hold up to the weather? The insulated plywood torsion box is a clever idea.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View peteg's profile


4436 posts in 3634 days

#2 posted 10-18-2012 06:39 AM

Another “tricky” piece of work Paul, but then why aren’t I;m supprised, great door Mate, has a bit of a medievale look about it to my eye,
Just fabulous
Man I would love your all round skills :: ))

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View littlecope's profile


3097 posts in 4313 days

#3 posted 10-18-2012 06:40 AM

Very Elegant statement for the front of your home Paul… As always, Excellent Work!!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3667 days

#4 posted 10-18-2012 07:11 AM

Paul they are super doors

Was the plywood exterior grade?


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30564 posts in 3149 days

#5 posted 10-18-2012 09:23 AM

Very beautiful build. Thank you for sharing the construction techniques.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View patron's profile


13707 posts in 4152 days

#6 posted 10-18-2012 09:23 AM

well done paul

i did the same for a sauna door recently
(with 1/4” T&G cedar skins)

glad to know it works

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6869 posts in 4791 days

#7 posted 10-18-2012 10:27 AM

Hi Paul,

You are every bit as anal as I am. Which is great news…wait till I tell my wife. I told her there were others as bad as I am. LOL

Great job.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1116 posts in 3123 days

#8 posted 10-18-2012 10:39 AM

Nice work here as always. At first glance I thought you had incorporated some marquetry but I think they are real.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View Schwieb's profile


1902 posts in 4272 days

#9 posted 10-18-2012 10:50 AM

Leave it to a boat builder to come up with this. I wouldn’t be surprised if you used the same clear epoxy finish you used on your boats. Nice work Paul. I’m betting they’ll last longer than any commercial door and how nice to have a 42” opening on moving day.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View SPalm's profile


5336 posts in 4693 days

#10 posted 10-18-2012 12:12 PM

I agree. It looks like the boat builder came out to play.
Well done.

Nice to know that they are holding up. The wife unit and I were just talking the other day about the kitchen cabinets that I built 15 years ago. They are still working extremely well. Funny how time flies. It is fun to look back at old projects.

I bet you epoxied it.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3615 days

#11 posted 10-18-2012 12:13 PM

Nice design, and very stout

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Jim Jakosh's profile (online now)

Jim Jakosh

24985 posts in 3916 days

#12 posted 10-18-2012 12:23 PM

Beautiful doors, Paul. I love the shape and I like the little window with the door and grate on it. That is so neat.
My friend,Doug, has one like that and it is like a castle door when he opens that little door on the window!!
Thanks for sharing!!......................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1132 posts in 3018 days

#13 posted 10-18-2012 12:23 PM

This is great work Paul. I love the curved top and walnut was an excellent choice!!


-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

View sedcokid's profile


2737 posts in 4409 days

#14 posted 10-18-2012 12:50 PM

Beautiful Doors!! I love it when doors shut with a quality sound of ‘Thud’.

Thanks for sharing

-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

View WoodenFrog's profile


2737 posts in 3724 days

#15 posted 10-18-2012 01:06 PM

Wow! that is Beautiful!
Great work.

-- Robert B. Sabina, Ohio.....

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