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Thread: Tooling discussion for building interior doors

  1. #1
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    Default Tooling discussion for building interior doors

    Hi!
    I just moved in a new house and I would like to build all the doors from solid wood. I have about 20 doors, including wardrobes and everything. I own a Powermatic 5 HP shaper.

    I saw multiple cutter heads for making 1 3/8 - 1 3/4 in doors:
    - Busy Bee
    - Grizzly
    - Amana
    - Infinity
    - etc.

    However, what catched my attention is the Infinity cutters. They come with an extended tenon cutter to make extended tenons. This way, I would not have to use dowels or floating tenons to build the door.

    Their first kit is a matched rail and stile pair of cutters, with interchangeable slot cutter : 1/4 slot for 1 3/8 in door, and 1/2 slot for 1 3/4 door:
    http://www.infinitytools.com/Rail-St...products/1163/
    They have an extended tenon cutter that permits a 1 7/8 tenon length, but you have to substract the spacer thickness above the cutter of about 1/4 in.

    They also have a more professional version of these cutters with carbides insert. Instead of sharpening the cutter, you change the inserts. This is a reversible cutter head with shims instead of a pair of matched cutter heads. I heard that reversible cutters were very time consuming to adjust properly. However, the tenon cutter is much larger and would permit to make tenons a little bit less than two inches long. This cutter set is very expensive.

    Any of you have ever used these cutters?
    What would be the minimum tenon length for a solid wood door 30x80x 1 3/8 in?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Tooling discussion for building interior doors

    I suggest checking out tooling manufacturers / suppliers in your area. They are often cheaper than any of the companies you have listed and higher quality.

    I use Royce Ayr http://www.royceayr.com/ near Kitchener Waterloo. I guarantee there are similar companies in your area. They will have an expert on staff to help suggest exactly what cutters you should use given the task you are working on. They will likely provide sharpening services, blade replacement, etc.. as well.

    It truly is worth hunting in your area.


    Ian

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Tooling discussion for building interior doors

    Hope you have a good supply of dry wood. Frankly I wouldn't even dream of making them. I know I could make them but the wood movement would drive me nuts. BTW, What wood are you using?
    "Do it Right!"

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Tooling discussion for building interior doors

    Why not use the supplied cutters for the sticking ,cut the tenon any length you want either with tenoning knives or any method.Then get a custom ground ,flat top router bit for the cope and come up under the tenon to do the cope.Lastly draw bore and glue the tenons.By the way, a jointer with a long bed 6-8 ft helps with getting the stiles straight.As posted wood selection is critical.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Tooling discussion for building interior doors

    FS Tool have a set of cutters that work quite nicely for making doors and as others have stated Royce Ayr also do the same thing. I just took a look at your link. I don't think you will find anything at Royce or FS Tool in that price range. I would have no difficulty with either Amana or Infinity for quality. If you went with the ones in the link I would make a jig for drilling the rails and stiles for a large dowel, something in the 3/4 inch round and 6 in. long. It would reinforce the joint nicely. Over the years I have made 1 1/4 in. panel doors for bifolds using just the regular cutters w/o the dowels and they have lasted years.

    Brian
    " It is nice to be important but more important to be nice"

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Tooling discussion for building interior doors

    Too early in the morning....nice cutter set in your link...and actually pretty cheap. I'm liking the long tenon...but how do you cut the long mortise that they go into? And does it have to go the whole length of the stick?
    I built almost 100 clear cedar raised panel doors for a guest ranch once. I made a jig for my router and used tenons that I used to make with 1/2" x 2" wide larch. Figuring out the jig took some monkeying around but once it was perfected it was suprisingly fast to make the mortises in each piece. That was about 20 years ago..and there has never been a problem with the doors.
    Yep...a long bed jointer is critical. Building doors...you are going to learn a whole lot about wood movement. And you will learn a lot about juuuust a little too much glue....lol!
    But the end product is one of the most satisfying things I've ever done.
    Round off the corners of your panels...wax them a bit on the corners and water down your glue...DON't over tighten the clamps...tighten them until you get a bit of glue squeeze...then relax the clamps a bit and clamp a straight edge to the door top and bottom...you'll be glad you built them...
    Russ

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Tooling discussion for building interior doors

    Thanks everybody.
    IanW: I will look local tooling company, but I expect them to be more expensive than import tooling.

    Rusty: I have 20 doors to build in the house but I have many years to complete it! It is not a 2 month project. In this case, I would have to rent a separate garage just to store the wood! I plan on using birch. I also plan on using two layers of 4/4 to create the 1 3/8 in thickness to reduce warpage. I don't know if it is necessary. As for wood movement, it would be a frame and panel door, so wood movement is limited to the stiles width.

    I want to avoid custom knives, I expect them to very costly. Infinity have a tenon/cope cutter that would produce a 1 3/4 in. tenon with the cope. I guess it is enough for interior doors.

    I would prefer using floating tenons than dowels. I think that the floating tenons would me easier to adjust that dowels that need to be drilled very precisely. The mortises for the loose tenons would be cut with a hand held router with a fence. Or I could make a jig like suggested and use a collar. Maybe this would be easier.

    I'm glad that the Infinity cutters have a good reputation from you.

    Thanks!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Tooling discussion for building interior doors

    Quote Originally Posted by lescopo View Post
    Thanks everybody.
    IanW: I will look local tooling company, but I expect them to be more expensive than import tooling.

    Rusty: I have 20 doors to build in the house but I have many years to complete it! It is not a 2 month project. In this case, I would have to rent a separate garage just to store the wood! I plan on using birch. I also plan on using two layers of 4/4 to create the 1 3/8 in thickness to reduce warpage. I don't know if it is necessary. As for wood movement, it would be a frame and panel door, so wood movement is limited to the stiles width.

    I want to avoid custom knives, I expect them to very costly. Infinity have a tenon/cope cutter that would produce a 1 3/4 in. tenon with the cope. I guess it is enough for interior doors.

    I would prefer using floating tenons than dowels. I think that the floating tenons would me easier to adjust that dowels that need to be drilled very precisely. The mortises for the loose tenons would be cut with a hand held router with a fence. Or I could make a jig like suggested and use a collar. Maybe this would be easier.

    I'm glad that the Infinity cutters have a good reputation from you.

    Thanks!
    Personally I feel that birch is a bad choice of wood for doors and that you will have serious problems with movement.For sure with any exterior application.Secondly go with floating tenons rather than dowels .It gives more glue surface area, generally,and can sit in the panel rabate within the rails.These comments are based experience on building windows and doors commercially over many years. Hope this helps and doesn't rain on your parade J

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Tooling discussion for building interior doors

    I often think solid doors are the reason hand planes were invented. Unfortunately wood movement is not limited to the stiles alone.

    Caution; Solid door panels in doors have been known to grow enough to break the cope and stick joint.

    Caution; Solid door panels have been known to shrink enough to rattle loudly.

    Caution; Solid door panels glued into the rails and stiles of a door have often shrunk and cracked in half.

    Caution; Birch is a BITCH to stain.

    Loose tenons can definitely work very well.

    DSCN0452 (Small).JPGDSCN0464 (Small).JPGDSCN0458 (Small).JPGDSCN0462 (Small).JPGDSCN0457 (Small).JPGDSCN0453 (Small).JPGDSCN0470 (Small).JPG
    "Do it Right!"

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Tooling discussion for building interior doors

    Wow, that's a nice door!
    Thanks for the advices. I plan on not staining the birch. I will seal it with blond shellac and then use lacquer.

    I meant that wood movement was limited to the stiles regarding the width variation of the door. The panels will expand but will not change the finished width of the door. Only the stiles will affect the finished width of the door.

    @Jay: Birch is only for interior doors. I would go Hemlock or red cedar for exterior door (or mahogany). You still think it is a bad choice? How about gluing two 4/4 thick boards to create a 1 3/8 in thick board instead of using 8/4 boards to limit warpage? Am I wasting my time?


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Tooling discussion for building interior doors

    Quote Originally Posted by lescopo View Post
    Wow, that's a nice door!
    Thanks for the advices. I plan on not staining the birch. I will seal it with blond shellac and then use lacquer.

    I meant that wood movement was limited to the stiles regarding the width variation of the door. The panels will expand but will not change the finished width of the door. Only the stiles will affect the finished width of the door.

    @Jay: Birch is only for interior doors. I would go Hemlock or red cedar for exterior door (or mahogany). You still think it is a bad choice? How about gluing two 4/4 thick boards to create a 1 3/8 in thick board instead of using 8/4 boards to limit warpage? Am I wasting my time?

    My suggestion to you is buy enough wood to build one and see how it goes, then it is only a small outlay and it burns well.For outside doors for painting I use white pine with MDO panels or mahogany .Especially Mahogany if the doors are 2 1/4 " thick for paint or not. Tension wood, bad kilning, resulting in winding of the stiles is the menace of door building . Hence a lot of door makers finger jointed stock.Mill the stuff in stages allowing plenty of time for it to stabilise.Then seal it as soon as possible.There are some very good door /window companies in PQ go and talk to some ask about birch.Some years ago my friend bought $30000 of doors from a company in PQ, I think the name was something like Martin they were excellent,pick their brains suggest birch to them.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Tooling discussion for building interior doors

    I built several 6 panel pine doors for a house I renovated many years ago. I had a 3 hp shaper and a 6 cutter set from BB. I had bought 3 pine doors at $120, but the price increased to $200 for the next door I ordered. I decided to try building my own doors. I found I could make a decent copy of the ones I bought for $60 each. I even made bifold doors for the entrance. No different than making raised panel doors for kitchen cupboards. Cope and stick and glued together.

    hobby woodworking since 1972

  13. #13

    Default Re: Tooling discussion for building interior doors

    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan @ Woodstock View Post
    I built several 6 panel pine doors for a house I renovated many years ago. I had a 3 hp shaper and a 6 cutter set from BB. I had bought 3 pine doors at $120, but the price increased to $200 for the next door I ordered. I decided to try building my own doors. I found I could make a decent copy of the ones I bought for $60 each. I even made bifold doors for the entrance. No different than making raised panel doors for kitchen cupboards. Cope and stick and glued together.
    That's what I would recommend for interior doors -- Pine or even hemlock and fir. Straight grained fir makes a very nice door and if lightly stained can look very nice and is quite stable. Here's an exterior Fir door that I made for a cabin and it goes through all the temp changes.
    Last edited by Wally in Calgary; 01-26-2012 at 07:12 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Tooling discussion for building interior doors

    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan @ Woodstock View Post
    I built several 6 panel pine doors for a house I renovated many years ago. I had a 3 hp shaper and a 6 cutter set from BB. I had bought 3 pine doors at $120, but the price increased to $200 for the next door I ordered. I decided to try building my own doors. I found I could make a decent copy of the ones I bought for $60 each. I even made bifold doors for the entrance. No different than making raised panel doors for kitchen cupboards. Cope and stick and glued together.
    Did you reinforced the coped tenons or you left it untouched to probably 1/2 in. length or so? Did you used 8/4 lumber milled to 1 3/8 in?

  15. #15

    Default Re: Tooling discussion for building interior doors

    Quote Originally Posted by lescopo View Post
    Did you reinforced the coped tenons or you left it untouched to probably 1/2 in. length or so? Did you used 8/4 lumber milled to 1 3/8 in?
    Just glue, no reinforcement. 20 years and still holding together. 8/4 lumber. Pics from MLS realtor website, my old house I renovated is up for sale.
    67-983_12.jpeg
    67-983_18.jpeg
    67-983_23.jpeg
    Last edited by Bryan @ Woodstock; 01-27-2012 at 06:45 AM.

    hobby woodworking since 1972

  16. #16

    Default Re: Tooling discussion for building interior doors

    I too have built several doors, and all I would say is sit down and do your math very carefully to figure out if you will save any money. If you are going with a traditional design, the professional firms can bang these out on their CNC machines and turn them over to you for a fraction of what you might think. Sure the project seems be fun and we all love buying new cutters, but I bet their are other projects that may be a better investment for your time and energy. It gets incredibly boring quickly.

    Best of luck whichever way you go.

    Brad

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Tooling discussion for building interior doors

    You might want to take a look at Woodweb in the Architectual Woodworking Forum as there are a couple of guys there that building doors is their full time occupation.

    Brian
    " It is nice to be important but more important to be nice"

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Tooling discussion for building interior doors

    I've been building my own interiors doors. I made 7 so far and want to make 3 more (one is almost done). I think I started in the spring, but also did some other projects. It's a lot of work but I love the look of my doors. There are some pictures in my gallery, but the pictures are not very good. The white doors are the ones I'm replacing. The ones in that picture are already gone. I also made the stairs in the picture.

    The work does not stop when you finish the door. You still need to build the door frame, moldings, and install it. Mine are solid maple with solid raised panels. They are very heavy and hard to lift. But the weight makes them feel great when you open and close them. They are close to 100lbs each.

    All pieces are 4/4 maple laminated to make a 1 3/8 door (including the panels). Despite this they all warped by January. Not enough to be a serious problem, but its something you need to expect. I had to re-position the door-stop molding on two of them to follow the new profile of the doors otherwise they were hard to close. Try to install and finish those molding in such a way that removing them and re-attaching them in a different spot won't be too much trouble. But I've had no other problems with movement so far and my joints are all still very tight.

    Chris

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Tooling discussion for building interior doors

    Couple thoughts...

    Definitely use quartersawn grain and/or laminate the rails and stiles.

    Depending on the look of the panels you don't need anything fancier than a dado blade.

    This door has the mortice and tenons cut on the table saw. In lieu of glue I used a threaded rod just in case the glass had to be repaired.

    For the stiles I ripped and laminated three pieces out of 8/4 to get quartersawn grain. Also made the door frame and mouldings out of ash.

    Couldn't find a picture with the door installed..

    Stained glass by Lee Brady.

    Stained glass door.jpg

    Cheers, Don

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Tooling discussion for building interior doors

    Thanks for all your valuable advices.

    @Jay: yes, I will plan on milling stock in steps. Better to see the board warp before it is on the door.

    @Bryan: thanks for sharing your construction technique. I think I will do the same, except for the firsts doors I plan on using two 4/4 boards to get the 1 3/8 in. thickness. This will reduce my cost.

    @Brad805: I expect the doors to cost a little more than cheap thin-veneer MDF core doors. I can get a thin veneered door for 100-150$. They all have minor defects. And when the can decide to scratch it, it looks like crap, and the peeled veneer is almost impossible to repair, especially if pieces are missing. This being said, a solid wood door would cost me about that with domestic wood. So I don't really save money. But if the dog chew a corner of the door, it will still look like wood under it!

    I asked for a custom door at Rona and Home-Depot. I asked for a standard 30x80x 1 3/8 door, solid wood. They both quoted me from Portes Lemieux. It was around 650$ for a special order, but with standard dimensions and standard design. Pretty expensive. Of course, I would never buy 15-20 doors at that price, so I don't really save 500$ per door! But at least they would cost about the same price as cheap veneer door, and I hope last longer. (but may need seasonal adjustment )


    Woodweb is a great source of information. I checked it regarding all sorts of subjects. It seems more aimed at professionals in the trade. For doors, they seems to have all professional equipment, like veneer press, tenon machines, custom shaper cutters, ...

    @Ckowal: thank for the advice. I will anticipate seasonal movement. Maybe I will try to make the adjustments with the latch plate if possible.

    You all show beautiful doors! I'm looking forward to begin. Couple of other projects to do before, like an acceptable assembly table

    Thanks!
    Philippe

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