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Exterior wood door construction.


I live in Canada, located on the east side of the mountains so there is a huge variance in temperature, even from day to day.
I want to build an exterior door for my own house as my place is over 20 years old. I was wondering what the best construction practices are?
I was planning on doing some sort of a style and rail door with panels of some kind. I am not 100% sure yet, I just started to look at pictures online looking for something to catch my eye. I have a couple big shapers so will just run the pieces and glue it up with either dowels or tenons. The construction method is fairly clear in my mind.
The part that I am unsure of is the material, I have been reading and it was suggested in some posts I read that the styles and rails should be glued up of 3 pieces about 3/4 inch thick and of different species of wood. The outside 2 pieces would be the species of wood that you want your door to be made of and the middle piece would be another species.
I am wondering if this is a good idea and secondly why? I guess a solid piece that is at least 2 inches thick is a lot more expensive and maybe prone to more movement?
I find all this to be very interesting, but have come to the conclusion that I think I would be afraid to supply this to a customer, with a warranty in this climate..

12/16/18       #2: Exterior wood door construction. ...
John Member

If you can get VG Douglas fir I would use that. 8/4 for a 1-3/4" door or 10/4 for one 2-1/8". Quarter sawn genuine mahogany would be an equally good choice. If you can't get stock that thick then a 3 ply laminate of the same species for all plies will work fine, too. You didn't ask about glue, but I would only use epoxy or plastic resin glue, or some similar product not subject to softening at high temperature for all the glue-ups needed for the door.

I would use the same wood for the panels, but each panel would actually be two, back to back panels separated by aluminum foil or plastic film so they can expand/contract independently with the seasons.


12/19/18       #3: Exterior wood door construction. ...
David R Sochar  Member

It makes almost no difference in your stiles whether they are made of 1 piece, or 2 pcs, or 3, or 4 pcs. And if those pieces are all equal or thick and thin or thick with veneers. I have sent all those types stiles out into the world, and none came back or caused problems. Thousands of doors, interior and exterior, only 4-5 had problems and they were attributed to things other than glued for thickness stiles.

The bulk of our exterior work is Honduras Mahogany, 2-1/4" thick, pattern grade, solid stiles, and rails. As stated above, we have no problems. The White Oak, Pine and knotty Pine, and Cherry doors all move more than Mahogany, but they do not warp.

And the panels? Save your aluminum foil for wrapping up Christmas dinner leftovers. We did solid panels (often glued for width) for years until we realized Titebond III could not be counted upon to continue bonding. We now make a 7 ply panel that does not move or come apart. TBIII is banned from the shop.

It is wise to learn what makes wood warp. Moisture alone will not do it. Dryness alone will not do it. It is not magic or devilry. Praying will not prevent it, and wishful thinking will fail also.

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