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Chris - helpppppp


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Chris, I (we) need your help to solve an argument, and having discussed it at length we decided to put it to you and your decision is final.

The background:
We visited a friend who had beautiful, rustic, solid wood doors in a farmhouse in the UK. 

The situation:
We loved them and would like them, but the moths in the wallet say otherwise.

The argument:
One of us says forget it.
One of us says we can make some.

The proposed solution:
To make a panelled door out of pine floor boards.  Fix a 'Z' frame by some method. Buy a door frame and hang it with nice wrought gate fixings/hinges, etc.

Your decision:
Can this work?
Will the weight of the door be a problem?
Or should we be sticking with the doors which we have and buy a new matching one for gap we're about to create?

Hopefully I've presented this unbiased, and you can make the decision.  I know which side I am on, but will go with your decision even if it's not mine.

Over to you!

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The Z frame that you suggest is known as ledge and bracing and was commonly used for internal cottage doors in the past, it is still used for garden and shed doors.

They usually sag with age due to the lack of internal bracing and will need regular trimming/planing and adjustment of catches etc.

This movement can be mitigated, or if you are lucky stopped, by using polyurethane glue between the framework and the cladding and even between each board in the tongue and groove, it takes a bit of cleaning up afterwards but well worth while.

I have made many doors like this, usually when I find come across some interesting reclaimed boards.

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You broke a resolution Robin...go do ten laps of your garden!

Ditto Robins post, glue is an absolute no no.

My instinct Naps is that (and I don't mean to sound harsh) you're trying to re-create a style that you both loved but without the necessary equipment or knowledge, why not draw up a design and approach a carpenter? You might be suprised at the cost...it's a simple job. If it's a feature you've both got to look at all the time then it's worth getting it right first time.

I'll get some piccies together for this evening.

I hope marital disharmony doesn't ensue!

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Chris, you are so right about glue and external doors. Unfortunately for me that bit of knowledge comes too late. Last summer I made four wooden doors for our garage. Finished and hung they looked really good and I received lots of positive comments.

Now, after six months of weather I have the most amazing two sets of 'bow-fronted doors' that you have ever seen. They expanded to become tight and with nowhere to go they bowed outwards. 1" timber as well. Can anything be done now, well only by running a saw along every vertical joint, or maybe every second joint and re-bracing them, as in virtually start again.

Expensive lesson No.37......................[:(]


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I agree wholeheartedly with you (despite my posting!), I have indeed seen these doors sagging as they were ones that I made (badly) when I was younger including one that my late father, a carpenter, showed me that I had the brace running in the wrong direction!

I  suggested glue because I thought the poster was going to use them internally within a frame, external gates are usually not in a frame or if a shed door they have lost of moving space.

I have made glued internal ledged and braced doors within a reasonably close frame but of course I used recycled well seasoned timber.

I agree that to use my suggestion, using new wood especially outside is asking for trouble.


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J.R. - you are correct that these are intended for internal use only - just as seen on old cottages, etc.  The one which we want to begin with will be leading into the kitchen. 

Chris - you're right in your prognosis that it's an attempt at something without the skill or knowledge to do it, but we've seen similar doors for sale at the local Castorama for several times the price of the material - our labour is free.  HOWEVER, on his first attempt he has glued the panels together - is this only good for firewood, or (as it's for internal use) could it be ok?

Confession - It was my who said, "Absolutely NO, it won't work!" - but the stubborn OH went for it anyway.  I guess he was right [:$]

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Mmm, firewood? Perhaps Naps (that rhymes[:D])

Think of timber as a sponge. If you put a sponge out into 40 degree heat, by the end of the day it would have shrunk and be bone dry. Leave the sponge out overnight and it would regain it's original form, having taken on the moisture from the atmosphere as the sun disappears. If it then rained, the sponge would soak up the rain through its pores and capillaries and thus expand.

Timber is like that. It reacts to humidity levels in the atmosphere, depending on it's state of drynes in the first place of course. It will expand and contract, if it is unable to move either way the forces involved are immense, it will find a way to move anyway, as Gary has demonstrated.

Robin and I both dry our own timber and have the experience to be able to select an appropriate timber for a given project, having said that there are never any guarantees with timber, so much depends on so many variables.... Mother Nature will always prevail in the end, learning to work with her and to guesstimate how her product will react to our modern demands will only ever be a game of chess, which is an equally noble game.

My project at the moment combines green , air dried and kiln dried Oak with moisture contents ranging from 40% to 10%, trying to balance the lot and get the desired results is a wonderful excercise...luckily the clients fully understand the possible pitfalls and are as excited as I am about it.

Happy chopping guys [:D]

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Thanks, I'll stoke up the fire for his return on Friday and break the news by handing him the axe.  Back to square one!


Guess we're stuck with the awful panel doors until he learns how to make a proper internal door [:'(]

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I made all the doors for our Cotswold stone cottage in Stroud with floor boards, ledge and braced and glued and screwed with brass screws. They were there for better part of 18 years and were still good when we moved out. The outside doors were both hard wood and bought from the local independant builders merchant. The ones I made were all internal and they were all OK, no problems... There were 7 of them. The wood was good quality, because the old (75 year old when we left) owner of the merchants still did all the wood buying and if it was not the best it was sent back. His sons have taken over now and I wonder what the quality is. They want to sell up to a developer!!! Very sad.

I used PVA glue and when the boards are pressed together it's a simple job with a damp cloth to wipe off any surplus. Then 2 coats of good varnish, rubbed down between, job done.

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