Building a Cherry Entry Door
Easy-to-follow steps for making a strong, elegant door and a weatherproof threshold.
Synopsis: Carpenter and cabinetmaker Rex Alexander faced a big challenge: a request for a custom-made entry door. He met the challenge with this cherry door featuring two big lites of frosted safety glass. To assemble the door’s laminated stiles and rails, Alexander used two types of glue (waterproof Titebond III and West System two-part epoxy). The article features a sidebar about the new door’s custom concrete sill, made by builder Jeff Louwsma.
Finding a company to make a special-order entry door in northern Michigan can be a daunting task. So when a valued client requested a new door, I knew the challenge would be to avoid complicating the process, yet to make a substantial, well-crafted door. The design was to be clean and modern, clear-finished cherry that framed two big lites of frosted safety glass. To add to the design challenge, the client loves the look of concrete and decided to have a cast-concrete door sill, a task ably handled by fellow carpenter Jeff Louwsma.
For laminated stiles and rails, two kinds of glue work better than one
To create a 1-3⁄4-in.-thick door, I planned to laminate the rails and stiles from 5/4 stock and assemble the frame with loose tenons. Working with rough stock cut locally, I planed the cherry to a thickness of 7/8 in. The door rails were wide enough so that it was easier for me to join and glue narrower stock to get the right size.
Because it has a faster working time, I used waterproof Titebond III to edge-glue the stock. For the face-to-face laminations, I wanted something bulletproof and went with West System two-part epoxy, which also has a longer working time.
To make the jamb, I milled 8/4 stock, then ripped its shape on the tablesaw and cleaned up the…