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Forum topic by reconstyle posted 05-24-2019 12:57 PM 1024 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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reconstyle

11 posts in 414 days


05-24-2019 12:57 PM

Hi, I am fairly new to wood working – I mostly tackle smaller projects like trim work, but I wanted to try my hand at making an interior door like this:

It was suggested that I use poplar for the rails and stiles with dowel joinery and 1/2” MDF for the paneling. My plan was to get some 2x poplar and plane it down to 1-3/8, but I’ve notice that 2x poplar isn’t really available. So I’m just looking for some advice on the best way to go about constructing this style of door.


29 replies so far

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439 posts in 1148 days


#1 posted 05-24-2019 01:44 PM

For a light interior door that you are going to paint, I would go with white pine rails and stiles and good both sides plywood panels in 1/4” or 3/8”. Dowels will work but a better door would use mortise and tenon for your joints, The pine is easy to work and if you haven’t done mortise and tenon before pine is a good wood to start out on.

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bondogaposis

5791 posts in 3127 days


#2 posted 05-24-2019 01:54 PM

but I’ve notice that 2x poplar isn’t really available.

What you want is 6/4 poplar, you can get from a lumber dealer, not the big box store.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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bilyo

1112 posts in 1878 days


#3 posted 05-24-2019 02:30 PM



For a light interior door that you are going to paint, I would go with white pine rails and stiles and good both sides plywood panels in 1/4” or 3/8”. Dowels will work but a better door would use mortise and tenon for your joints, The pine is easy to work and if you haven t done mortise and tenon before pine is a good wood to start out on.

- Carlos510


May I add. If you do use pine, I’m assuming that Carlos510 does not mean to use construction grade pine. Get some from a lumber dealer that is fully kiln dried to a similar degree as hardwoods.

I prefer poplar. It is a hardwood and will be more stable. I agree with the use of M&T joints and plywood panels.

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pontic

797 posts in 1385 days


#4 posted 05-24-2019 03:01 PM

You can also use big box popular. It is usually 11/16”, laminate 2 of them together and you will have a 1”and 3/8” rail. put half laps on all the ends and half rabbits for the inside pieces and rout a groove to what ever thickness you want and glue it all up. Thats how I’ve done it. Still do it when 8/4 stock is too pricey.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

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439 posts in 1148 days


#5 posted 05-24-2019 03:31 PM

Your right BILYO not construction grade, to many knots and defects if you need to select a large amount. I mean clear furniture grade pine, like in the picture below. There is a big cabinet project in my future and a couple of years ago a local lumber dealer got in a big order of furniture grade pine, he let me select 100 bd. ft. and I couldn’t have been happier.

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Rich

5621 posts in 1365 days


#6 posted 05-24-2019 03:34 PM

You want 8/4 poplar for the rails and stiles. 6/4 is going to be 1-1/2” at the outside, and probably closer to 1-3/8”. That leaves no room for milling down to straight and flat. If you do manage to find 6/4 that’s thick, straight and flat, go for it, but odds are against finding it.

Plywood panels are going to be flimsy. A 1/4” panel is going to look and sound cheap. Remember, the frame is 1-3/8”, so you’d have a 9/16” reveal on both sides. A 3/8” plywood panel is better. Take a look at my project page and the interior doors there have 7/8” raised panels that fit into 3/8” grooves in the rails and stiles. The garage entry door has 1-1/2” inch thick panels that fit into 5/8” grooves in 1-3/4” frame pieces.

I use 1-1/2” tenons on the rails for a good strong joint. Make them 3/8” to match the groove in the stiles, and of course, mortise the stiles to accommodate the tenons.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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439 posts in 1148 days


#7 posted 05-24-2019 03:53 PM

I find the fast growing poplar around now is not that strong, its great for many uses but I find for painted exposed surfaces it takes extra work for a good finish, its stringy and fuzzy and it feels like you could sand or scrape for ever sometimes and not achieve the smoothness your looking for. It also moves more than many woods and for a close fitting door you could end up with binding problems down the road. 3/8 ply is good for large panels but for a light door with small panels I find 1/4” will also do nicely.

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Rich

5621 posts in 1365 days


#8 posted 05-24-2019 04:27 PM

We’re not talking cabinet doors. Anyone who thinks a 1/4” panel for a 1-3/8” interior door will work nicely hasn’t built one. I’ve built well over 100 doors, interior and entry. I know what works and what doesn’t.

The whole reason for building doors for your house, or buying custom built from someone like me, is to enhance the beauty of the house and increase its value. If you’re going to build cheap, flimsy doors, why bother?

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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439 posts in 1148 days


#9 posted 05-24-2019 05:03 PM

Relax Rich nobody is challenging your knowledge or ability. I am just sticking to what I have experienced in my builds. Here is my latest build a sliding door for my ventilated shop space, 3/8” panel very solid and rolls smoothly. Its 5’ X 6’6”.

I am speaking to the posters request, he is relatively new to woodworking and wants to build a light relatively easy door. I think we all can see you build a high quality product, nobody is doubting that.

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Rich

5621 posts in 1365 days


#10 posted 05-24-2019 05:20 PM


Relax Rich nobody is challenging your knowledge or ability. I am just sticking to what I have experienced in my builds. Here is my latest build a sliding door for my ventilated shop space, 3/8” panel very solid and rolls smoothly. Its 5 X 6 6”.

- Carlos510

Yes, and it’s hanging, not mounted to hinges on one side. Big difference. It would never hold up mounted on hinges without bracing or a turnbuckle. Besides, I was commenting on your assertion that 1/4” panels would “do nicely.” Go back to my first post and I said 3/8” would be better. That is the width of the groove in a standard interior door anyway.

And please don’t be pompous by telling me to relax. I’m not in the least bit concerned about my ability. What I am concerned about is the OP getting bad advice.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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439 posts in 1148 days


#11 posted 05-24-2019 05:28 PM

This porch half door has a much smaller 1/4” panel it has been in use for 2 years now, no problems.

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reconstyle

11 posts in 414 days


#12 posted 05-24-2019 06:01 PM

Wow, thanks for the replies everyone, lots of good info here.

I noticed everyone is talking about using ply for panels – is there any reason why no one has talked about using MDF? I would think since there’s virtually no expansion/contraction (correct me if I’m wrong) and the door is being painted, it would be a suitable material to use for the panels.

I have never done a mortise and tenon joint before, but I’m definitely willing to try. Are there any good jigs or methods you recommend?

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pottz

9903 posts in 1760 days


#13 posted 05-24-2019 06:01 PM

ill have to go with rich on this one if your gonna upgrade,upgrade or get those cheap crap doors from the box.the nice thing about 1/4” doors is you dont have to open the door to talk to someone in the next room-lol.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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reconstyle

11 posts in 414 days


#14 posted 05-24-2019 06:02 PM

And yes, although I mentioned that I was a beginner at working with wood, I am the type who likes to build something that going to be solid and last a long time.

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Rich

5621 posts in 1365 days


#15 posted 05-24-2019 06:39 PM


This porch half door has a much smaller 1/4” panel it has been in use for 2 years now, no problems.

- Carlos510

Looks like a half door to me…lol. Listen, you obviously like to cut corners, I’m just trying to lead the OP in a direction that will result in a door that will be around for more than a couple of years.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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