Curious about just what it takes to build a custom entry door?
The Anatomy of a Custom Door
It all starts with a half-dozen 2" thick planks of kiln-dried, vertical-grain Douglas fir. The two pieces on
the right are the two inset panels. The spline grooves around all four sides have not yet been cut.
At left is the hinge-side panel with the hinge-mortise jig in place. The mortises get cut with a router, using
the jig as a precision guide. The lower pieces have already been glued and clamped overnight, and the
two inset panels are in place. The two inset panels are not glued to anything, but rather "float" on
splines and are centered in their openings by neoprene spacers that keep the panels centered
regardless of temperature and humidity conditions that cause them to expand and contract.
Here, the door is fully assembled and the necessary holes and mortises have been cut for the lockset
and deadbolt hardware. At right is a close-up showing the attention to detail and fit.
The finished door, sanded and ready for varnish. At right, the door is on its "rotisserie" and
has just received the first of four coats of marine spar varnish on all both sides and edges.
The varnish is applied with a high-volume, low-pressure (HVLP) spray system.
One custom entry door, varnished and ready to install! The varnish dried
to a lovely satin lustre. At right is the beginning of the art-glass
window that will be installed in the door.
The completed window, still on the studio work table. At right, installed in the door.
The art-glass panel is installed on the inside of a piece of tempered safety glass.
The end result! An entry door that immediately
changes ordinary into exceptional!
My shop and studio are located in Forestville, California, about an hour's drive
north of San Francisco. Feel free to contact me any time during working
hours by phone or email. We can deliver large pieces.