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There was a good question about reinforcing miters as mentioned in my post "Ten Years After" in the Galleries: Project Forum in Woodweb.
The drawing below shows that we plow the inside edges of the stiles and rails. After assembling the door frame, we add an accurately S4S'd "molding land". In the case of a 2-1/4" door, this is usually 3/4" thick and wide enough to fit into a 3/4" x 3/4" plow, and will protrude enough to give a solid back to the panel molds, and create a rabbet/plow for the panel or glass. The molding land is butted snugly at the corners - not mitered. It is made tightly enough to need to be tapped into place once glue is applied, and then self-clamped. This will make it align correctly and be dead parallel to the frame faces.
The panel mold is accurately mitered and assembled with Ulmia spring clamps. It is then quickly plowed across the miter - in the rabbeted area - with a 1/4" groover, deep enough to cross the bulk of the joint but not enough to come out into the profile. We do this on a small shaper with a push jig holding the mitered frame at 45 degrees to the fence/travel. It can also be done with a saw blade, standing up on the table saw, for smaller molds and frames. Splines are made and glued into the plows so as to not protrude out into the rabbet of the panel mold. The grain of the splines runs 90 degrees to the joint, 45 degrees to the miter faces and bridges the joint with long grain.
The splined frame is then glued into the molding lands in the assembled and rough sanded door frame. No nails in most cases, just clamps and glue on all contact surfaces. Turn the door over, lay in the panel, and glue and clamp the second side.
This reinforces the miter since the bottom of the panel mold is glued directly to the molding land, and since the molding land is butted, the miter/panel mold is on solid footing. Then the spline also reinforces the miter in a more conventional manner.
This may be seen as overkill, but we obviously have absolutely no problems over time, and fully expect the doors to last as long as they are maintained. The customer is usually bored if I try to explain these things to them (as a means to understand the pricing....). But they have no problems and often say the doors are a favorite part of their project.
Historically, we would see older doors with nice moldings where the miter opened up over time, and the nailed moldings were merely rabbeted onto a square edge door frame, and held the panel in place. Once the miter opened, the integrity of the corner was gone, and it is possible to see daylight thru some of these doors.
Interior doors get the panel land, or a splined miter, but no need for both since the threats are minor in comparison to an exterior door. Couple the methods above with pattern grade Honduras Mahogany and good craft throughout the door, and it is something that takes the product out of the the realm of disposable.
I'm trying to upload a couple of photos......
Here is a photo with the molding land exposed before the panel and molding are added. Secondary woods are sometimes used. After all, water is not supposed to be in there anyway, right?
Very nice article David, thanks for providing such detailed explanations. This is certainly something we can use on some of our work.
We had problems with large applied moldings opening up on exterior doors. Even small glass beads sprung into place seem to open up after nailing. A few years ago we started using a Hoffmann dovetailer for this and making all moldings large and small as a preassembled frame. This works well and is quick. The assembled frames are easier to finish than loose moldings.
For years on our Victorian style doors we ran a custom large diameter panel raiser with a flat for the applied moulding and deep enough to go into the door groove. This thing was a bit scary on small panels and we went to a inserted spline similar to what David shows.
Here is a second image from Dave:
David and Joe,
Thank you for sharing your methods on how you keep your miters tight. I am interested to know how you keep moisture from getting between the molding and panel?
A common "look" in my geographic area is a door with glass on top and a v-groove panel on the bottom. Having glass with either TDL or SDL makes it difficult to do an applied molding door, Additionally, the v-grooves act as a channel for water to get behind the molding.
Thanks again for your contributions to this website.
When applied moulding is used in combination with a plank panel we make sort of a raised panel out of the planks so the groove does not drain into the moulding. In addition we put a caulk notch in the applied moulding and caulk after finish. The moulding is held like the pictures in my above post. Picture 2 shows this on a normal profiled door. We have venting channels in our doors to drain moisture if it gets in also. With the best efforts applied mouldings are going to get moisture behind at some point in bad exposures. Our Victorian Mountain mining town has a lot of historic store fronts with appled moulding doors to the weather. The old doors did not do well in this situation either.
We have done doors like you describe with applied mouldings below and SDL above. I donít have pictures of the finish door but we make the upper grills same profile as the raised moulding below. Not as wide and profile both sides of the bars and cope them into the vertical and horizontal mouldings. Picture 3 is a bar being shaped
Here are some door pictures from a shop in Belgium. This door is plank bottom and glass top. You will almost never see Euro shops putting panel doors to the weather. They overlay the planks. Sometimes leaving the inside frame and panel.
Some great information, thanks for sharing. I really like your idea of reversed cope and stick.
Have a good weekend.
Nice work. Question: Do the splined corners make it more difficult to remove the moldings should it be necessary to replace the glass?
If we have art glass piggy-backed over insulated glass, we fasten the assembled frame to the door with oval head screws. This allows for easy removal for cleaning or repairs.
If just stopping insulated glass, we usually only nail the stops in place, with no assembled miters. We also do it with assembled miters - we have no standard on this..... The nails are few, since we use sealant on the interior side as well, and it does more to hold the stops in place than nails will, long term. So far, we have not had to remove the stops for glass replacement. It may not be pretty.