I have to make up a new door for a client and thought I'd show another method of building, as this door has its own special circumstances. The client wanted me to keep and re-use the existing leaded glass panels, so the new door had to be like the original. The original wasn't made with a shaper and door cutters, but rather picture frame moldings to hold the panel's and glass. This meant the door had to be mortice and tenon joinery.
I should have taken shots of the wood prep, but didn't think of doing this page till after it all had been done. Anytime I do any woodwork, I always acclimate my wood to my shop. Meaning that, eventhough lumber is bought as kiln dried, it still may have enough moisture levels that may affect it as your working on it. Door parts need to be as straight, true, and stable to avoid warping or twisting later. This is best avoided by bringing in the lumber to a heated shop for at least 2 weeks prior to working with. I also have a dehumidifier going to pull out whatever slight content it may have while being stored in another environment. To often I've brought in lumber only to find the grain raised in a few days, telling me that moisture left while being in the shop.
I have a piece of aluminum flat stock I use as a straight edge. The two stiles have to be dead on the money, and I use this to check my lumber. This will show me if there are any crowns and then decide on dealing with them before and milling to be done. You can also use a 6' level, but the flat stock just seems better at seeing daylight under as opposed the the level showing shadows.
I'm using 2" Ash, that I milled down to 1 3/4" as standard for entrance doors. Once I joined all my edges and sized everything, I cut all my parts and laid them out. The door is 36" x 80" and by laying everything out this way, I will avoid doing double parts and also see where all the mortice and tenons will go.
The bottom rail of the door is 9" and the top is 11". The top will have two arches cut out to receive double panes of arched glass panels. 11" was needed so that when the arches were cut, the remaining wood would be the same thickness as the stiles and they are 5 1/2". I didn't think anything about doing this because I had a bench mortiser and figured I'd blow right by this operation, but sure had a surprise when it came time. The mortiser only has a throw to do about 5" stock, so that meant mortices couldn't be done with it..........so a shift in plans. I ended up using a fostner bit method and the drill press. Using the drill press, set up is important and sometimes its not the prettiest in the world, or something ingenious........just "doing what works".
I'll do this door with a Fostner bit. Fostner bits make a nice clean hole, with a flat bottom
The first thing is the fence. It has to be dead flat, and joined so that it sits flat on the work table. I also make the fence the height of my stile which is 5 1/2". Reason being, I can better control my piece and make sure it stays tightly against all the while I slide, and bore.
The next this is support. The work piece has to sit perfectly flat on the table and any slight space under, will have the bit at an angle. General rule is, tenons should be 1/2 the size of the stock being used so my mortices will be 1" and 1 1/2" deep for the 1 1/2" tenon. At that depth, a slight space under the stock from material not level with the table, could be a problem. You'll notice a slight gap under the stile......... a 1/2" shim between the bucket and the step leveled everything off. I then clamped the bucket and step together with a bessy clamp. Its not real purdy........ but it worked! You'll also notice a feather board keep the stock against the fence. Very important to make sure debris doesn't get behind the work and keep it away from the fence.
Centering the hole is easy. Mark the center of the stock with a rule. Lower the bit down and mark the entry hole with the point of the bit (while the drill is off) then turn the stock end for end and lower the quill and see if the point lines up with the previous mark. If not...... make adjustments here, making sure that the stock is held against the fence, and table perfectly. Start boring, but don't try and complete the entire hole at one time. The bit will heat up like crazy, metal will expand, and debris will clog the bit, and eventually the bit will dull out. Also, forcing and heating the bit will cause the hole to out of alignment.
I go about 3/4" down, then move the stock over about a half hole then start another one. This hole I may take the full cut, as debris has a place to empty out (in first hole).
Once the hole is done, I set the depth so it will be consistent. Two ways of doing this..... mark the bit with tape, or adjust the depth by the stop rod
Now its just a matter of boring a bunch of overlapping 1/2 size holes the length of the mortice needed. The ends of the mortice will be rounded. You have an option of squaring with a chisel, or filling the corners with a rasp (which is what I'll do) no rule as to which is better, I just prefer the round.
I make all my mortice and tenon joints first, then I'll cut the arches out in the top stile later. I couldn't use my tenon jig, or shaper for the tenons due to the pieces being so big, so the Radial saw was the only solution. I used a Forrest Dado set and made my adjustments. Used a stop block set fro the length of the tenon and started the first pass at the very end, then move the stock toward the stop block with the other passes. Reason being, the saw has less tendency to walk on its own plowing through solid mass, as opposed to starting at the end, for better control of cut. Also I found the Forrest gives a nice clean cut, so in the end it will look as it it came off the shaper. I try scrap first and insure fit before I cut the tenons
Once I have one cut, I always try for fit
Now that all my tenons are cut, now I can cut the arches for the glass
A little sanding on the Oscillating sander and its ready to round the corners
Now that the arches are cut, I'll start fitting the tenons. Doing tenons with a fostner bit you have an option of squaring the mortice, or rounding the tenon to fit. I chose to round these with a rasp.
A good sharp chisel to clean up any nubs left from the drilling
Now for a quick fit
Once I'm content with the fit, I take the rail and put a slight bevel at the end of the tenon for a gathering spot for any running glue. I'm using a Stanley #90 bull nose finishing plane, which is my favorite plane in the shop. It fits nicely in the hand, has micro adjustment and can get into just about every rabbet or corner. I also make the tenon about 1/16th- 1/8th shorter than the mortice, so that any access glue has a place to go.
Once I'm sure everything fits well, then I will assemble the whole door without any glue just to make sure everything falls in place so there isn't any major adjusting later. I start by gluing and clamping the bottom dividing section and making sure its squared. I use "Pro Bond", a urethane glue because its the ultimate for exterior use. I coat every part of the tenon and shoulders, then slip into place. Pictured you see me using Bessy clamps, but not in area's where I need muscle. I prefer the 3/4" pipe clamps to do the job right.
When clamping anything that has some width to it, always make sure the door is sitting flat on the clamping bar. Shown is a small space, and if allowed to stay like this, the door will be bowed. I'll just back off a tad on the clamp, and use a small hand clamp to bring it down, the re tighten
With all the clamps on, this is what it looks like. You'll note the center clamp is an 8 footer. Always nice to have a couple of these when you need them. Also note the small clamps keeping the door flatto the bar clamp.
The only thing about urethane glues that most don't like, and that's the foaming that goes on. I purposely left the door alone to show how much it gets out of hand as it dries. Best to wipe as you go with mineral spirits, or lacquer thinner, but this will go on for over an hour. I found the lacquer thinner acts as though it draws it out more, than using mineral spirits, but when wet..... the mineral spirits is better. Oh..... be sure and wear disposable gloves when doing this. The stains on your hands are unbelievable and seem to stay forever. It takes on average about 4-12hrs to set up, and I just leave everything clamped up over night just to be sure.