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Making glazed doors. Any thoughts?

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Making glazed doors. Any thoughts?

Postby AJB Temple » 28 Apr 2021, 10:44

I have never made a glazed door. In fact the only doors I have ever made are oak ledged doors for internal use. I've intended to make a fancy external door but ended up last time with a pair of reclaimed ones from a church. Now I need to make or find a nice and cheap double glazed door or pair for my connection room, these will lead outside into the garden, so not the "front door". Room built yet (just started) so no rush.

How difficult is it to do, assuming I am reasonably competent on the tools?

They will be south facing in full sun all day, not in a porch (though I could add a canopy easily enough I suppose ) and the height I have to fill from slab to ceiling is approx 2.3 or 2.4 metres including frame. Can easily build the frame into the building and the maximum width of the whole assembly is around 2 metres. This will be the main natural light source into the room (unless I fit a roof light of some kind, which I am considering. I seem to recall Mike made one recently).

Not totally bothered about wood choice, though I tend to prefer oak as I have quite a bit handy, though I would have to do a fair amount of butchery to get it to joinery sizes and that is a risk I suppose. It's all seasoned, but was stored years ago for building not joinery really and is pot luck what I get out of it.

Totally open minded on design, and eager for ideas, but it has to be within a DIY skill set and I do not have a spindle moulder (yet :D). Also trawling reclaim places and eBay in case a bargain shows up. We do have a couple of double doors (aluminium faked up to look like oak) and two pairs of some kind of hardwood double doors externally elsewhere in the house and they are a nuisance in my opinion as each one is too narrow to be used comfortably with just one leaf open. So whatever I do will need to be biggish. Maybe I should favour a single door maybe with one or two side lights.

Grabs from the internet just now to provide some context:

Oak door, double glazed new.jpg
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Oak door, double glazed new.jpg
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Handcrafted-Solid-Oak-Double-Glazed-External-French-Doors.jpg
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front-door-double-glazing-4.jpg
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hardwood-antrim-exterior-door1809.jpg
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Attachments
entrance door, oak double glazed new.jpg
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Re: Making glazed doors. Any thoughts?

Postby Mike G » 28 Apr 2021, 11:05

Making the door itself is pretty straightforward. The timber selection, though, is absolutely critical. Frankly, it isn't worth the risk trying to get your own oak down to the sizes required for the doors. If you are reducing from larger stock you always run the risk of movement, and the slightest twist in any of the components spells disaster for your doors, especially as they would have a pair with meeting stiles. If you want oak, then I would say go and buy some joinery grade quarter-sawn oak which is flawless and straight grained, and already close to your finished dimensions. However, you might just have a better chance with one of the joinery-grade tropical hardwoods, of which I have much less experience. Or, pick up some second hand doors. Don't forget, if you find some panelled doors it wouldn't be too difficult to de-bead some of the panels and replace them with glass, even if you have to deepen the rebate to suit a double-glazed unit.
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Re: Making glazed doors. Any thoughts?

Postby the bear » 28 Apr 2021, 11:28

Adrian thats quite a range of styles of door you've posted. Its going to be very difficult to give an opinion on that without seeing the bigger picture of the setting, both in the bit you're building and the rest of the house. (which I think you said on your other thread you're not keen to show?).

I agree with Mike and I'm not sure what oak you have stashed but that used for framing and joinery is usually different grades, I'd get it in especially for the job. Is the building an oak frame as personally I think any other wood is going to look odd against an oak frame unless its painted (I like painted in an oak frame, its what I have). Obv if painted you have more scope what wood to go for.

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Re: Making glazed doors. Any thoughts?

Postby AJB Temple » 28 Apr 2021, 12:15

I was rather afraid you guys would say "buy wood". I did know that but was hoping someone would say "don't be silly". And yes - I have wifely restrictions on what phots I can post, which is fair enough.

The wood I have came from whole trees at the former family farm and home. I have Elm and Ash too (much less) so there is no doubt plenty of good joinery wood in there. But the labour involved in making a door is such that taking a punt on wood moment is not smart.

We don't care about matching the house style. It's gradually getting ripped apart and re-clad in a totally different way. Barn is not listed (used to be but was bodged by a predecessor) and planners don't care now as you can't see the house from anywhere else really.

No problem with painting the wood. In the adjoining kitchen, that this timber framed unit joins, there are reclaimed modern oak church doors providing the main entrance, and on the back (garden side) a 5 metre wide two door sliding triple glazed unit in very dark grey metal.

Good idea about looking for a panelled door I can take the wood out of Mike. I've repaired a good few of those but repurposing had not occurred to me.

What I would actually like is double glazed black Crittall doors and glazed panels. However, my budget currently does not allow for the serious price that these are now. I don't want anything to do with UPVC (eBay is awash with it).
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Re: Making glazed doors. Any thoughts?

Postby droogs » 28 Apr 2021, 15:32

If you are worried about hiding mistakes, i'd suggest the style below :lol:

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Re: Making glazed doors. Any thoughts?

Postby AJB Temple » 28 Apr 2021, 16:20

Very Gaudi . I like them.
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Re: Making glazed doors. Any thoughts?

Postby Trevanion » 28 Apr 2021, 19:59

Hmm, If only there was someone on here who makes a lot of doors... :eusa-think:

AJB Temple wrote:How difficult is it to do, assuming I am reasonably competent on the tools?


It should be very simple for a man of your calibre, especially with decent guidance from the good folk here :)

Since it's basically been treaded by Mike and the bear I won't touch on it too much, but yes, you really do need a prime grade of oak that are dead-straight grained for joinery work. Even then, it will still crack and move quite a bit.

So there are a few choices, it all really depends on budget and how well you want the door to last. There's plenty of suitable timbers to choose from, but here are a few suggestions:

Joinery softwood/Scots Pine is nice to work with and fairly inexpensive but it is relatively high-maintenance to get a decent lifespan out of the timber, as much as Jacob would've stamped his feet at that statement, the timber you get now isn't the same stuff they had 150 years ago, I've seen softwood windows rot out completely in under five years.

Sapele is a well-regarded joinery timber, solid, fairly stable when the grain is nice and straight, and not silly money either, lasts a fairly long time and is pretty forgiving when it comes to maintenance.

Iroko is another one that is suited to the job but you really need to select the most straight pieces you can find as it does have a terrible habit of twisting and it is a very oily timber, which is great for work that does need to last a long time but it can be a pain to paint. It's a little dearer than Sapele but not a hell of a lot more.

Accoya practically the be-all-end-all timber, if you can stretch to the price tag of around £2400cu/M now. It doesn't move with seasons, isn't affected by water ingress, is guaranteed for 50 years above ground, and certain paint manufacturers guarantee their paint for 10 years on top of it. The only real downsides aside from the price are that it's incredibly soft and not particularly attractive, it suits a painted finish very nicely but is an absolute nightmare to stain, it is also highly corrosive to steel fasteners to the point that they'll rust within a few weeks so more expensive stainless steel hardware must be used.

So, as you already pretty much say, before you get your teeth into it you really need to decide what kind of design and layout you want for the door/s. I'm a massive fan of "keep it simple" and while you haven't even mentioned it, please do avoid thinking about bi-folding or sliding doors. Seeing as your opening is fairly wide, you can go for a door with a light on the one side or both sides as you said, or if you ever see a need to be taking awkward and large items out of the door in the future then perhaps a french/double door would be preferable, at that opening size a single door shouldn't be far off a standard door size anyway so it won't feel too constricted with opening just the one door to go through most of the time.

You also need to roughly decide what ironmongery and locking gear you wish to use as this can affect the way you need to make the door too, not in a major way but enough to affect allowances and section sizes. I like 3-point locking systems as they pull the door nice and tight to the frame top, middle and bottom, but these require a more modern style of handle with a euro cylinder lock (although there are quite a lot of handle options to suit the style these days) compared to a 5-lever lock.

Frame construction is fairly straightforward, but you tend to want the top of the frame cill to be either flush or slightly higher than the floor level of the room it's going into to avoid a trip hazard. Being either inward or outward opening makes a difference too, generally, you will need an aluminium threshold such as a Macclex to sit atop the cill (or directly on the floor for a cill-less frame) for an inward opening door but on an outward opening door you can manufacture the cill to suit. You then make the door/s to suit the frame.

If you want a bit of help with the sizes of the timber sections and allowances etc... for a double glazed system I can draw what I do up for you.
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Re: Making glazed doors. Any thoughts?

Postby AJB Temple » 28 Apr 2021, 21:56

Trevanion - you are one of the most helpful people here and I hope you will come and visit if you are down this way.

I will think it through and post some thoughts.

It needs to last until we either sell the house and move to Germany or 30 years, after which I probably won't give a damn. Painting it is fine. My wife is a bit sick of oak coloured stuff anyway: I have three completely finished oak ledged doors stored in our bedroom (I made a job lot a while ago - it's easy to make them but the renovations are 2 years behind schedule).

I'm ignorant about thresholds. Will have to ask you more about that.

This room is just a connection in essence but for me is important as a music room. Hence, I do need to be able to get a professionally moved grand piano through on a sled. That really is the only limit. I think it is sensible to make the opening wheel chair wide enough in case my brother is ever able to visit.
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Re: Making glazed doors. Any thoughts?

Postby Woodbloke » 29 Apr 2021, 07:14

Iroko is good for outdoor stuff as mentioned above by T but for a lot of people, inc me, it's very nasty stuff to work with. Once I get some dust up my hooter it's incredibly irritating with a horrible, peppery feel. I've used it for a bit of outdoors projects but I won't go near it now - Rob
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Re: Making glazed doors. Any thoughts?

Postby Trevanion » 29 Apr 2021, 08:11

Woodbloke wrote:Iroko is good for outdoor stuff as mentioned above by T but for a lot of people, inc me, it's very nasty stuff to work with. Once I get some dust up my hooter it's incredibly irritating with a horrible, peppery feel. I've used it for a bit of outdoors projects but I won't go near it now - Rob


Very true, I neglected to mention that. Iroko is a sensitiser timber so the more you work with it without protection the worse your reactions will get over time, to the point where some people can’t handle any timber without a reaction. Rosewoods, Western Red Cedar, and a select few other timbers also have the same sensitising effect.
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Re: Making glazed doors. Any thoughts?

Postby Sheffield Tony » 29 Apr 2021, 10:37

I made my front door, twenty-ish years ago, with much more enthusiasm than knowledge. I used iroko on advice of the wood yard, and it is still in one piece, if somewhat faded. It's stayed fairly flat too. Back then I didn't have to worry about part Q, but perhaps it's worth mentioning now ?
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Re: Making glazed doors. Any thoughts?

Postby AJB Temple » 29 Apr 2021, 18:08

Part Q is not an issue. I fit security hinges invariably (with hardened leaf pin) and Banham locks.

Part Q is a bit of a fantasy anyway as usually there are multiple ways of getting into a property rather than defeating locks. Windows are an inevitable a weak point.
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Re: Making glazed doors. Any thoughts?

Postby Mike G » 29 Apr 2021, 18:19

AJB Temple wrote:Part Q is not an issue.......


Correct. It only applies to new builds.
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Re: Making glazed doors. Any thoughts?

Postby Sheffield Tony » 29 Apr 2021, 21:43

Ahh good. As it happens, my door more or less meets annex b (or whatever) anyway.

Re-finishing it is on this year's jobs list ...
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Re: Making glazed doors. Any thoughts?

Postby RogerM » 03 May 2021, 17:38

Purists will turn up their noses, but when I made my 2 sets of 3 bifold doors I laminated up 3 layers of iroko, lapping the corners to simulate a mortice and tenon.

P1030678.JPG
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Advantages were that by laminating I evened out any twisting tendencies in the wood, and after 9 years installed in an exposed position all 6 doors are still perfectly flat. I glued up with TB3, and beefed up the corners with stainless steel screws driven through from the middle layer into the first layer before adding the 3rd layer which completely hid them. I built them on a flat building board, and so long as you make sure it's flat at the outset there is no reason why the door should be anything other than flat as well. My doors were 60mm thick, but 3 x 15mm layers would do nicely for a standard thickness external door. I would happily do it the same way again.
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Re: Making glazed doors. Any thoughts?

Postby AJB Temple » 03 May 2021, 18:30

That's a good idea Roger. I might pinch that. Still at the thinking stage and won't make final decision on size of doors until I start bricklaying.
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Re: Making glazed doors. Any thoughts?

Postby RogerS » 03 May 2021, 21:40

Roger, did you go for three laminates for thickness or to resist twist? I laminated two for my landing cupboard and it's still twisted slightly.
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Re: Making glazed doors. Any thoughts?

Postby RogerM » 03 May 2021, 22:51

AJB Temple wrote:That's a good idea Roger. I might pinch that. Still at the thinking stage and won't make final decision on size of doors until I start bricklaying.


I certainly found it a stress-free way to make doors that required a degree of precision. Full method covered in my Bifold Door thread from a few years back. The original idea came from Keith Smith who posts as "Woodsmith" over on the darkside, and who was most helpful, and I decided to run with it. Absolutely no regrets but you do get through a lot of glue!

RogerS wrote:Roger, did you go for three laminates for thickness or to resist twist? I laminated two for my landing cupboard and it's still twisted slightly.


Both. Also 3 laminates are required to form the corners, and it also enabled me to do it in the form of a stopped M&T as shown in the photo above, which meant minimal end grain exposed to the weather.
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Re: Making glazed doors. Any thoughts?

Postby Trevanion » 03 May 2021, 22:55

That's definitely an interesting way of doing it Roger! I suppose if you do it that way you can laminate it in such a way that you won't even need to machine the rebate, just make your first lamination 15mm wider than the other two (which looks like what you've done?).
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Re: Making glazed doors. Any thoughts?

Postby RogerM » 04 May 2021, 07:31

Trevanion wrote:That's definitely an interesting way of doing it Roger! I suppose if you do it that way you can laminate it in such a way that you won't even need to machine the rebate, just make your first lamination 15mm wider than the other two (which looks like what you've done?).


Exactly. No spindle moulder required. Just trim and mitre the end of the rebate. The Bifold thread shows how I tackled that. You are of course relying on the integrity of a large glued surface for the strength of the corners, but having added stainless screws which are completely hidden, I don't see them failing.
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