Pennsylvania Limestone Farmhouse Renovations to an 1863 farmhouse built of limestone

May 22, 2012

Front Door – Part III

Filed under: Front door — Duane Diefenbach @ 8:00 am

The center stile was pretty simple to mill and fit to the top and bottom rails. So now the door frame is ready for milling and fitting the raised panels.

My original plan was to make the raised panels from quarter-sawn white oak that came from the property. Unfortunately, even making the stiles slightly wider than the original door (6″) I needed an 11″ wide board to make the panels. The widest quarter-sawn oak I had was only 8.5″ wide. I considered gluing up some boards to make the panel but it would be difficult to match the grain of quarter-sawn white oak .

So instead I am using plain sawn white oak from the same tree with some 15″ wide boards

Once I planed and cut the boards to size I first used the router table with a round bit to cut shallow grooves that outlined the raised portion of the panel. Then I used a raised fence with the blade tilted to approximately 8° to cut the bevel around the perimeter of what will become the raised portion of the panel. A picture might make it easier to understand

The result is pretty ugly because of the resulting burn marks in the wood.

For the door I have to make 4 raised panels, where each space in the door frame will hold 2 raised panels back-to-back. The purpose is to allow the panels to move separately in response to the temperature and humidity differentials between the interior and exterior side of the door.

Consequently, cleaning up the burn marks and fitting the two panels into the door takes quite a bit of time. I first cleaned up the burn marks and smoothed the profile using a scraper, planes, and sandpaper. I also used a rabbet plane to essentially cut a small tenon around the outside of the panel to fit in the rabbeted groove in the door frame (see photo below).

All this took a lot of careful fitting because I wanted the panels to fit snugly – and I had to fit two of them simultaneously! The first 2 panels came out quite well but it took several hours over two evenings.

Now to work on the second set of panels! But that will be easier now that I know what combination of tools, in what sequence, will get the results I need. Once I finish the second set of panels I need to finish the panels and then glue up the door.

May 19, 2012

Front Door – Part II

Filed under: Front door — Duane Diefenbach @ 7:35 am

I have the frame for the front door, sidelites, and transom completed except for some final coats of paint (see I started on construction of the door, which I am making from white oak. The wood for the stiles and rail I had to purchase because I didn’t have any clear 8/4 but the panels I am making from the white oak that came down last year on our property.

Here’s what the final product will look like. Above the door is the transom with 6 panes of glass (most of the muntons are decorative interior muntons). Either side is a 3-pane sidelite above a raised panel (same muntons). The original door was simply a 2-panel door and I have chosen to replicate it because a 4-panel door would probably look out of proportion trying to get it to match the raised panels and sidelites.

The lumber has been stickered in my shop for the past month acclimating to stabilize the moisture content. I then started by planing the 8/4 stock and ripping and cutting it to the rough length and width.

The stiles (long vertical pieces) of the door needed grooves cut to hold the panels and mortises to accept the tenons of the rails (top and bottom horizontal pieces).

The base rail is 12′ wide and I made 2 tenons to mate with the stiles. The mortises I first used the drill press to remove most of the wood and then chisels to clean it up. For the tenons I removed most of the wood with a dado blade in the radial arm saw and then used chisels and planes to finish. It takes a good bit of fitting to get them to match (squarely!).

Here’s the door together, but I still need to make the middle stile and fit with mortise and tenon. The door is just under 1-3/4″ thick and once all together I will not be able to move this by myself!

Next post will be about finishing up the door frame and starting on the raised panels.

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