Door Construction

David's picture

I've had a few chances to do some more work on the entry door to the cob studio. I couldn't decide exactly how I was going to tackle it, but with a few tips from our readers, I found a system I'm happy with. Well, actually, there was a bit of trial and error as well.

I took to the store and purchased a few supplies. I wanted to try and tie all the 4x6's together using all thread, so I picked up four pieces of 3/8" all-thread and some washers and nuts to go along with it. I had also bought an 18" long 1/2" drill bit so that I could drill the holes needed for the all-thread. Lastly, to be safe, I bought a few 1/2" wooden dowel rods, as a plan b, in case the all-threads didn't work out as planned.

It's a good thing I bought the dowels because the all-thread idea didn't work. I'd like to say it was because the drill bit was too short, but it's more because my good eye is not as good as I hoped. You see, I had to drill a hole from one end of the door to the other end, all while staying straight and true. The tolerance for drift was small. The first hole I drilled demonstrated just how small the tolerance was, and just how crooked my good eye was. I drilled through half of the door, and if I had tried to continue on, I would have ended up with a hole in the face of the door, instead of on the end.

So I went with plan b. I drilled through half of the door on one end, pounded the dowels into each hole, and cut off the ends. Then I turned the door over and drilled through the other half of the door and pounded the cut-offs into those holes. Although each dowel did not go through the entire door, they did overlap in the middle. Pinned together all the timbers held as one, but without the nuts and washers to cinch them all together, it doesn't make for a very sturdy door. I guess I'll have to depend on the 1x6's for that.

I found some decent 1x6 slats I pulled off of one of the pallets I had, and scribed them onto the door. I thought about just attaching them right to the outsides of the door, but I think they would be stronger if I notched them into the door itself. Well, without a skill saw, I had to make the cuts with a trusty hand saw. No problem right? Well it wouldn't have been if I could take the timbers apart. The dowels did an excellent job of holding them together. I took a lot of prying to separate one a 1/2" from another. At this rate, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get them back together. So, I left the door together and cut it as a whole. Not an easy task when the door is wider than the saw is long. With slow and deliberate strokes of the saw, I cut in a line half way across the door from one side. Then did the same on the other side of the door, making sure the cut fell in line with the other. Once the two were joined, I was able to make long strokes with the saw from one end to the other. In retrospect, I think this method had a cleaner, straighter line than if I were to cut the timbers separately.

With more strokes than the painting of the Sistine Chapel, I had made all my cuts. Now, how do I take out the material? Only one way I know, ... a chisel. I have a 3/4" chisel and oh how I wish it was an 1-1/2". It's working, it's just like driving a 16 penny nail with a tack hammer. Not very effective. I can go to the store an purchase a larger chisel, but I can't seem to make myself do it. I'm cheap I guess.

So away I went, chiseling bit by bit. I did get a break though. The neighbor came by and asked if I could use a skill saw. I said I sure could, so he brought one over. This will make quick work of my chisel job. I'll just run the saw over the areas that need to be chiseled out, taking away most of the material. And then come back and chisel out the left overs. Nice.

After the grooves are in, I'll attach the 1x6's to the timbers with lags. I'll will have gaps between the timbers, but maybe I'll just staple some small trim over them so no drafts get through the door.

Here are a few pictures of the doors current state.


Rick's picture

With the drill bit , you couldn't drill each timber separate? Also, did you decide to inlay the 1x6 for aesthetics? I think they would work just setting right on top. Unless you are making them fit very snug (but doesn't sound like this is the case).

By Rick
David's picture

Sure I could have drilled each timber seperate, but the holes need to be inline and straight. Even drilling through three at a time, by the time I reached the 3rd with the dowel, it was a bugger to get it in. Sharpening the tip a bit would have helped I'm sure.

Yeah, I inlayed the 1x6's for asthetics. And it's a good thing too because it made for a much stronger unit. The door is really heavy and I don't think laying the 1x6's right on top would have held up for long. As far as the inlay, yeah they were very snug. I had to use the 'intimidator' to coax them in (hit them with a hammer). And now I have a stout, good looking rustic door.

By David