Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Door Update

Fitting the Panels and Cutting Rabbet for the Glass

These last few days I've been busy with the door project; with the main frame essentially complete I focused on the four door panels. These are solid Oak about 1 1/8" thick and needed to be rabbeted on all four sides to slide into the 1/2" door dados. The dados were cut about 1/4" deeper than needed to allow the panels to expand and contract as all solid wood will do over time. A straight forward procedure that first establishes the width and depth of the panel rabbets with my marking gauge and then starting the cut with my skew rabbet plane by Veritas. I've read a few reviews of this plane and it seems like most have been good but to be frank, I still can't seem to find a rhythm with it. Maybe it's just me but this plane never quite lived up to expectations. After using it for a year or more now I still seem to get inconsistent results.? Perhaps it's the angled front knob that throws me off or the uncomfortable side profile while in use...could be the knobs that hold the fence in position have come loose on me a few times while in use and I find when I really tighten the little turn screws down to keep things tightly in place, I need a pair of pliers to get them open again.? anyone else have any thoughts on this plane? Whatever the reasons are it's not my favourite plane to use for the entire process of cutting rabbets. (as a side note I should say that my small plough and large router planes by Veritas are great tools that I use daily; just seems the skew block has some issues-at least in my hands!)
So with that in mind I begin the rabbet with the Veritas and once a shallow groove is established I'll switch over to my medium sized shoulder plane to finish off the cuts. I get better results with this approach and clean things up with my side rabbet planes to complete. Again I apologise, no shots of these last few steps...been so busy trying to get this project done that the camera is sometimes an after thought! Sorry...
With the panels cut and fit I'll lay out the larger rabbets around the window section. This is basically the same procedure as the last and I did remember to turn on the camera.
To begin, a nice deep scribe line with the marking gauge on the back of the door.

With the rabbet widths and depths nicely scribed into the Oak I'll go ahead and dis-assemble things to begin the process. Again it's a combination of the skew rabbet plane to start, followed by my shoulder plane. These are all stopped rabbets so each end of the channel needs to be cut with my large router plane. I work my way down through the fiber until I reach my desired depth. This procedure is generally the same for the four components but after I did the first two I started to remove the waste with a little more gusto. In the photos you may notice a large Japanese style chisel on my bench top; for removing this waste in a hurry I resorted to the bash and crash of the 1 3/8" wide steel and my heavy mallet.

Once the bulk of the material is removed I clean up the bottom and sides of the groove with again the shoulder plane and router to get tight into the corners...
another dry fit to check and I can move on.

I follow these same steps and complete the other three rabbets getting a little more aggressive with the mallet and chisel as I go; these rabbets are big and deep and in this small work space the simple task of taking a style, cutting a rabbet, fitting the rail and then taking it apart and fine tuning things is a real workout. As the door gets closer to completion my shop is feeling smaller and smaller. I can safely say that this is the first and the last door I'll attempt to build in this workspace.
From here it's on to some more hand planing but my spirits are lifted because I'm very happy with the results so far. This planing session should be one of the last and my smoothing plane is taking paper shavings off of the stock. Another dry fit and I can start to get set-up for the mouldings...



  1. This is turning out to be a really handsome door. Very no-nonsense and graceful, yet solid. It must be massive, what would you say, 100 kilo?

  2. The door is a pretty straight forward design although the mouldings around the panels and glass as well as the other dentil rick-rack will dress it up considerably. I'll see if I can weight it when it's complete but yeah, that's probably a good guess.
    All I know is that some mornings (my days start at 5 a.m.) it feels like I'm trying to move the entire tree!
    Thanks for the comments and stay tuned to see the progress.

  3. That last shot really shows off the great texture of the wood grain. Even without the moldings, it is a handsome piece of work. I think your customers will be extremely pleased. I look forward to seeing more.

  4. Wow.
    I hope you've double checked you can get it out of your shop.
    Hanging that is going to be epic.
    Thanks for sharing

  5. Simon,

    The door is only dry fit so glue. why? Because you're right-it doesn't fit out of my shop!
    I have to assemble it elsewhere.
    As for hanging it, yeah it'll be epic indeed.
    Thanks for the comments.