The front door build-up is finally complete! As it turns out, substantially more ambition was required than originally planned, but I’ll play the inexperience card again. The final dimensions are 8 feet tall by 3 1/2 feet wide by 2 inches thick. The Douglas Fir looks beautiful after the final coat of Tung oil.

After planing the panels to 2 inches, the next step in the process consisted of jointing them. Due to the weight and length of the individual door panels, fence guides were installed on workbenches adjacent to the table saw. These were clamped into place with the help of a laser line. Each panel was jointed so that the final panel width measured 10 1/2 inches.

Setting up guide fences for table saw jointing.
Setting up guide fences for table saw jointing.

After jointing, the panels were then prepped for glue-up. 3/8-inch Poplar dowels were installed between the panels using a dowel jig. The dowels are 4 inches long and extend into each panel 2 inches. Each panel seam received 12 dowels.

Gluing and placing the dowels.

The next step in the process was the panel glue up. After placing a generous amount of wood glue on the surface of each of the panel joints, the panels were clamped together with several large clamps placed on opposite sides of the glue up assembly. The assembly was tented and heated since ambient temperatures reached about 10 degrees that evening.

Glue-up and clamping.

After glue-up, the focus of the door build shifted to the stained glass installation. A frame was built for the elk stained glass. It consisted of oak trim that was jointed with a router table to the same thickness as the door. A piece of museum glass was cut to the same dimension as the stained glass. The stained glass will face the inside of the home, and the museum glass will face the outside. Each glass piece was tightly fitted into dado cuts that were made with a double-fluted straight bit. Each piece of glass was then sealed with silicone caulking.

Building oak frame for elk stain glass. 

After the opening in the door was made, the stained glass assembly was installed into the door and secured with finishing nails. The gap between the frame and door was then filled with expanding foam sealant. An oak trim frame using a cove bit was made, and this will be placed over the glass assembly and door after final Tung oil application.

Fitting the stain glass assembly.

The next step consisted of filling the check cracks with a sawdust/glue filler. The filler was made with the fine sawdust obtained from the planing operation, and mixing with glue until it had the consistency of peanut butter. The filler was forced into the check cracks with a stiff spatula and allowed to set for 1 day. Finally, the door was sanded. First with 80 grit, then with 150 grit.

After sanding, 4 coats of Tung oil was applied. Tung oil hardens upon exposure to air, and the resulting coating is transparent and has a deep, almost wet look. The oil will provide good UV and moisture protection, especially the exterior side. The oil was allowed to cure for 2 days between coats. Prior to the next application of each coat, the door was sanded with 400 grit. The finished result is seen below.

Finished door assembly. 

The next steps in the process will be to build and install the front door frame and hang the door using Soss heavy duty concealed hinges. The door frame will also include side windows, which will be a nice finishing touch to the overall entry scheme.

Until then,

Doug Jobe/Prosper Junction

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