Interior door lumber
I’m considering building some doors for an arts & crafts bungalow I’m renovating. I want to match the existing doors, which are painted, but I really don’t want to use the vertical-grain Douglas Fir which I’ve used before. It would be a crime to paint it. Is there something else I could use that would be neither painful to paint nor as expensive as V-G fir, yet stable?
My cabinet guy uses poplar on his paint-grade projects. Might be worth checking into.
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I remember seeing somewhere about using MDF to make mortice & tenon, raised panel doors.
It makes sense- it's very stable, paints well, comes in different thicknesses, and is fairly inexpensive.
Another vote for poplar
yet another vote for Populus________
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Poplar or maybe hemlock?
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- Fyodor Dostoyevski
count mine poplar
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The only objection to poplar is that it's not as stable as cvg fir. You'll get far more seasonal movement from it, which might make the fir worth the money. I've got an exteriror custom door on the horizon, which will be painted. It's going to be cvg fir.
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Yes, stability is a concern. Having finished previous fir doors with varnish I don't know if I can bring myself to use paint. And I want to keep the doors consistent. I guess I could discard the existing doors and build all new with CVG fir....
Poplar with MDO or MDF panels.
In random lengths/widths ordinary oak is relatively inexpensive, available everywhere, comes in various thicknesses, easy to work with, hard enough for edges to hold up well over time, provides a solid feel to the end product, and with a quick filling of the pores it paints well. My favorite paint-grade wood for interior items that typically get dented and abused over time.
Why not use a non-1/4 sawn cut of doug fir? At least in the western states, it's not uncommon to get "recycled" tight grained, old growth doug fir posts with very low moisture content for cheap. I've used this stuff for all sorts of paint-grade items from face frames, balastrades, door jambs, table legs, etc.
Last year we threw away close to 200 board feet of fine old growth fir taken from a 100 year old house during a remodel simply because none of the carpenters had enough indoor storage to keep it dry. Until the girlfriend nixed the practice, stuff like that would get pressure washed, planed enough to get rid of the black crud, cut into 7' lengths and stacked under the bed or behind the couch for safe keeping.
Having said that, the current price of clear, but ordinary, old growth doug fir can be near red oak from some sources. I don't care for the wide rings on most new doug fir since the soft new wood rings telegraph through paint if sanded hardly at all, splinters more easily, has more irregular movement with moisture, and just seems harder to work with than the tight grained stuff from larger trees.
However, if you have a few months of indoor storage to properly dry the stuff before use, I wouldn't think twice about ordering up some doug fir structural select framing lumber in the wider widths. The wide boards come from bigger trees and can have excellent grain width and orientation, albeit not nearly as good as old growth, and very few knots to contend with. About half our latest 2x10 framing order of this stuff had such good grain that it was painful to not cull it out for finish use later instead of sistering old floor joists with it.
It's hard to get excited about poplar, or any of the low-end hardwoods that are actually softer than doug fir, even if they are relatively inexpensive and easy to work with.
Have fun building those doors.