Interior door making #1: Some people say I'm nuts...

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…for attempting this project. I decided to make all of my interior doors to replace the home despot special slabs that are currently here. I’ve blogged a little about this before and I kind of took a hiatus from the shop but now I’m back in business and also back to the doors, so I figured I may as well do a little blog about it. I’m about halfway done with this project. I’ve made 6 of the 12 I need.

Why am I nuts? I’m spending about $40-$50 in materials per door. Sounds great! Until you factor in the time. Then they become very expensive. I could buy pre-hung doors in the style I want for about $250 each and knock them all out in a couple of weekends. But they’re MDF skinned and just not as “natural” as the home made ones. I’ll get into that more later.

I’ve learned a lot by doing and, although I’m not any faster than when I started, I’m making fewer mistakes as I go along.

So this first entry is just a teaser, I guess. I started by going to Lowe’s this morning and buying the lumber I need. I bought (4) 2×6s for the rails and stiles, and (3) 1×6s for the frame. This is just untreated Douglas fir construction grade lumber. The doors will be painted. Here is the lumber:

And here is one finished that will be hung today:

Tomorrow I’ll start milling the lumber I bought today and hopefully have it assembled tomorrow night. Is important (yes – lesson learned the hard way) to assemble immediately after milling. There’s a lot of moisture left in this stuff and all the planing and dadoing opens it right up to be released. Once I waited a week and I had to junk the whole thing. So, one at a time from now on unless they are the same width and I can clamp them together on top of each other.

One nice thing about making your own is you can custom size them. I built a small closet and to maximize the door width, I ended up making a 23" wide door. Where can you buy that? ;-)

-- Losing fingers since 1969

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Haha Bruce! I feel your pain even though my doors have a lot fewer pieces I know exactly what you’re talking about. You must have used very clear, nice lumber for the louvers. Knotty old 2bys work great for the stiles but knots would kill louver slats.

-- Losing fingers since 1969

Really nice door Brian , that’s quite a project that you took on . I built a louvered door once , used 2×4 s to make the main frame and 1×2 s to make the louvers . Had 2 dowel pins in each side of the louvers , they went right in on the hinged side. It took me hrs to get all the pins lined up on the other side. I would get 6 in and have to pick up just 1 thousand of an inch for number 7 and 3 of the 6 would fall back out ! I finally got that thing together . never built another one .

-- Wheaties

Here is the one I just hung. I have to say, it’s absolute perfection. It closes like a car door. Very tight and no rattling. It took me about 4 hours by myself including demoing the old door, but I am very, very pleased with the outcome.

I had to reuse the crap old hardware because stoopid home despot was out of stock of the one I’ve been buying there. Thank God for Amazon prime. The shiny new one is coming in the mail tomorrow.

My wife hates this but I’m going to wait until all but 3 of the doors are installed before trimming any of them. So she’s going to have to wait a couple of months more. Haha… When all of that’s done I’ll roll through and fill nail holes, touch up, etc. Then my wife will be very, very happy and I’ll get to start on renovating one of the bathrooms. Less carpentry, more tile. God bless.

-- Losing fingers since 1969

I like poplar too, but around here it’s simply too expensive. A couple of these doors are 2 years old now and I haven’t had any movement issues with them whatsoever. My experience with them so far has been excellent, as a finished product. The only reason for me to go with poplar or something else would be because it would be easier to finish. This construction stuff requires more effort to sand and fill. One side benefit is that the grain raises so much after priming that the pattern shows through the paint. It gives these doors a very organic appearance that under other circumstances would not be acceptable, but I think it gives these doors a unique character. I really like that, so when I go to finish them, I don’t even attempt to sand very finely. 120 grit does the trick. When I get to the finishing stage I’ll post pictures of what I’m talking about.

-- Losing fingers since 1969

Nice looking door Brian
You might have better luck with the wood moving if you use KDF instead green Doug fir it’s not that much more especially if you buy it from regular lumber store instead of a box store.

-- woodworking classes, custom furniture maker

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