Building an Entry Door

Sorry. This post is kinda long and contains many photos, it will take a bit to load.

Several months ago I had the privilege of helping a freindly customer named Phil who was looking for some entry door hardware. Typically customers call for help when they need to replace door hardware, or have a brand new door that needs some hardware ASAP to keep it locked.

Phil was different. He was building his own entry door from scratch and planned ahead by finding his door hardware first. Phil sent me a few pics of his door construction which interested me so I asked him to send some more. I’ve always thought it would be fun to build my own front door and I figured someone else might be interested in seeing what is involved in the process. So, with Phil’s permission I’ve posted some pictures of his progress. I’ve also included some of his notes explaining what he has done. Thanks Phil, the door looks great.

these door panels are 1 1/4 ” thick. A backband molding will cover the dado in which they are to be placed

I don’t have a shaper so I used a router and multiple router bits to create a profile. This molding was then ploughed to make the molding a back band .I ran enough for the four panels and to be used as glass stop.

I put a coat of thinned spar varnish on the panels and in the daddos that will receive them before I glued the door up. The walnut pegs are ” draw bored ” to pull the mortises tight. I used gorilla glue in the mortises and a damp rag on the tenons.

There is no sense in sanding the door until the boring and mortising is completed.I’m making the sill, the jamb lugs, and mortiseing for the lock

There is a shelf with corbels on the exterior side.The hinges probabley should have been 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2 “. I drilled the screw holes so there’s no going back.

Installing the moldings and the shelf. The glass molding will be fastened later.

The time to fit the hardware and the weather strippimg is before the finish is applied. I intend to use a long varnish with added tung oil, linseed oil, and thinner. The first coat will be applied and the wood will be wet sanded with # 220 paper, using the finish as a lubricant This will help fill the pores and knock down the raised grain . Then the wood will be wiped clean because the floating saw dust will tend to streak on the first coa

It’s a luxury to work on the jamb hardware before assembling the jamb. The finish is 50 % varnish. 25 % thinner 15 % linseed oil. and 10 % tung oil. Less oil and thinner on the following coats

This oil varnish dries slowly, so this second coat will have to drya couple of days. Enough to level with #320 and not gum up the paper instantly .I don’t have the glass yet.$600 to $800 for stained glass . This mortise lock works perfectly and doesn’t move even though it’s just sitting there. Serious mass.