All Replies on woods to use for entry doors

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woods to use for entry doors

by grizzman
posted 02-19-2014 01:42 AM

20 replies so far

View Grandpa's profile


3264 posts in 3759 days

#1 posted 02-19-2014 01:50 AM

Cedar would not rot but it will split easily. Most older doors were pine but today it is particle board type material because it is more stable in the weather.

View lew's profile


13357 posts in 4839 days

#2 posted 02-19-2014 01:58 AM

A lot of doors around here are made of Red Oak. Especially if they are going to have a clear finish.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30615 posts in 3422 days

#3 posted 02-19-2014 02:00 AM

I have seen doors made of cedar. They looked great, but I don’t know how well they hold up.may just be a matter of proper care after you build them.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4387 days

#4 posted 02-19-2014 02:07 AM

another option i’m thinking of is using walnut, and engineering the door with a plywood center, and using solid walnut around the edge, and of coarse walnut on both sides..has anyone seen a door made from walnut…i know red oak is used a lot but its not the look i want, my home is filled with antique heart pine and its a rustic look, that is why i am thinking of the red cedar..ive looked on line and have seen some doors that are striking out of cedar, but want your input…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 3571 days

#5 posted 02-19-2014 02:09 AM

I’m not certain I would use solid cedar. While it doesn’t rot or attract insects easily, it will splinter at the end grain rub points.

My choice would be to make a three layer lamination, either using cedar all the way through with a harder wood one the center piece at the edges so the hinge screws don’t pull out and so it will be more likely to survive a break in.

The other way would be to use a three piece lamination with a good solid hardwood layer in the middle, not just on the edges.
Osage Orange comes to mind, or Black Locust, lol.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View a1Jim's profile


118162 posts in 4661 days

#6 posted 02-19-2014 02:30 AM

Hey Bob
My father in-law made entry doors for 60+ years and he thought the idea of laminating wood together worked best.
He would take short pieces of wood and finger joint them together and then put a 1/4” veneer over the top.this approach really minimized wood movement and made a much more stable door.This approach can make it so you can put much harder wood under the veneer where the hinges go . With this kind of approach you can use any type of veneer you want.
Thinking about walnut it tends to lighten up in direct sunlight,that might be a consideration re the type of wood you select. BTW I think cedar would look very good.


View DocSavage45's profile


9048 posts in 3926 days

#7 posted 02-19-2014 02:30 AM

I’m thinking several thoughts. Is this going to be kiln dried or air dried, both to my understanding take time.

Is the door exposed to the sun and for how long? The walnut will lighten over time in the sun. Are you planning to do regular yearly maintenance on this door?

Oak and walnut and cedar all have different tolerances and expansion rates. My cedar fences tolerate sun well. Doing better than the treated fence planks.

Might want to ask the people who have the cedar doors what they are experiencing?

Best of luck. Cedar is great in many areas in the home.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4387 days

#8 posted 02-19-2014 02:39 AM

so far I’m for sure thinking of a lamination, i know i’m going to need to have a good hard wood for where the hinges will need to be and i want it to be stabile ..I’m looking at all of what your saying and you have brought some good info to the table, lots of good info here guys..lets see who else comes with more info..thank you.

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4387 days

#9 posted 02-19-2014 03:19 AM

and doc, yes the woods will be air dried, ive done that for years, so yes it will take time to dry, however i have found red cedar to dry at a much quicker rate, the cedar is being milled at 2 inches thick in case i needed that for door thickness but can plane or rip it down for what is needed…and i know this is not a project that will be done this year, its a good year off or so, the wood will be dry when i make the door…and the door is not exposed to sunlight, i have a wide porch all across the front of the house.

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 5149 days

#10 posted 02-19-2014 03:27 AM

Grizz you have had some good input to make a solid decision as to the best door that you can build. Ultimately you have to go with what My Grandfather used to say – “Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased” makes sense to me :-)

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Frady's profile


19 posts in 2688 days

#11 posted 02-19-2014 04:14 AM

Grizz, I have a store bought solid walnut door and I love it. That being said, I have many exterior cedar projects. I think it would make a great looking door that would stand the test of time. Occasionally you can find a large standing dead eastern red cedar that is nearly all heart. Snap up all of those that you can. They seem to be extra weather hardened. Check out the front entrance on my projects. The left front post log is just such a log.
Your brother in Christ.

-- Frady in Denton,NC _Trying to bring what was to be firewood to life! Semper Fi!

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3940 days

#12 posted 02-19-2014 10:47 AM

Grizz I think Cedar would make wonderful door.
I’m making two doors at the moment that are going to the Isle of Arran
I’m using 4 layers of Marine plywood and epoxying it. The edges and glass
trimming will be in white oak. It wont look as good though, a layer of cedar
on the outer skin. Shipwright aka Paul made a neat plywood door recently.
However you do it I’m sure it will look great.

-- 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 Don W's profile

Don W

20055 posts in 3651 days

#13 posted 02-20-2014 12:13 AM

Its also going to make a difference if the door is directly in the weather. For Instance my front door is under a porch, so although its outside, its somewhat protected from the elements. So hard rain at 4pm and direct sunlight at 4:15 wouldn’t affect it nearly as much as a door without the shelter.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Schwieb's profile


1916 posts in 4545 days

#14 posted 02-20-2014 01:27 AM

Ok Grizz, I just had to jump in. My experience with doors is that none are perfect. It all boils down to how well the are protected from the elements. If the door is under a substantial stoop or porch and relatively well protected from the weather, they will last a lot longer. I wouldn’t worry about using good red cedar, it’s a good exterior wood and with the finishes we have available today and the water resistant glues. I’d go for the look you want. I have metal doors, fiberglass doors, aluminum doors, and doors I’ve made, solid mahogany, cypress, pine, sooner or later they wall wear out. I’d save the walnut for something inside because it will not look as nice in 5 years as it did new and you’ll need to be refinishing it


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

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4387 days

#15 posted 02-20-2014 01:48 AM

thanks ken for the comments, and i agree, ive leaned a lot from this forum and ive come to a conclusion so far that is, the it will be stronger if its engineered…i know the wood where the hinges will be needs to be strong, so as for now im going to probably do a 3 layer lamination…and make it so everything is where it needs to be all under the illusion that the door looks like its all red cedar, but not, i know everyone will get that, so for now that is where i am at, the door has a 9 foot porch in the fron, that goes the whole length of my house, so its well protected from rain and sun..thanks everyone for your input, its helped me a lot.

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4248 days

#16 posted 02-20-2014 05:13 AM

I don’t know much about doors….......but I do know you have a lot of friends…..........

The cedar laminate sounds like the way to go….......



-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 4067 days

#17 posted 02-21-2014 07:12 AM

Grizzman, I work for a door manufacturer, and we build doors of any species you want. typically we use a LVL core.
(laminated veneer lumber) or a wood stave core. which is typically, vfg fir finger jointed scraps. then we laminate a 1/4 inch veneer. then goes thru the wide belt sander, to flatten everything; you end up with a 3/16 inch skin.
you can rent time; at a local cabinet shop that may have the sander for you to flatten the stile and rail unit; then,at your shop; add your panels and raised molding or flush sticking according to your design.
email me back if you have any other questions.
Oh, and YES; we build cedar doors and they are fantastic!

View shipwright's profile


8716 posts in 3882 days

#18 posted 02-21-2014 03:01 PM

Hey Bob do you remember this post. I know you saw it and it sounds like you are describing it but don’t remember where you saw it…..... :-)

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

View CJIII's profile


157 posts in 2688 days

#19 posted 02-25-2014 02:32 AM

You can use any wood you chose, as long you give it a good coat of stain or paint.

-- Woodworking with Limited Tools

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4418 days

#20 posted 02-25-2014 07:12 PM

Without direct exposure to sun and rain your door should last a long long time Bob. My present doors are painted, but I had wood finish doors on my last home and I used an outdoor varnish with tung oil to finish them with. Even with our terrible weather, they stayed nice for about 4 years before needing refinishing. The laminate solution sounded good to me since the cedar is soft, but I would leave that laminate pretty thick if I were you. I love red cedar, it should make a beautiful door!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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