All Weather Front Door

Project by shipwright posted 03-07-2013 05:16 AM 3158 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been on Lumberjocks for some time now with lots of projects and blogs but haven’t dropped in here much. In response to a suggestion there about more lumberjocks supporting this site I thought I might change that. Not many of my projects there are appropriate to this forum but this is one that I thought was. I have more photos from the major overhaul we did to our home in ‘04 and I may get around to them as well if I get off my butt.

This is for you Gary

Back in ‘04 when we remodeled / built the house we now live in I did a lot of the architectural woodwork and furnishings. I had always wanted to build a front door but was worried about the effects of cold wet air on the outside and warm dry air on the inside. It seemed like a good time to give it a try. This is what I came up with and I can say it has held up extremely well for eight years now with six months of cold rain and then hot (ish) summers.

There are actually two. The front door is 42” wide by 80” high and the back is 36” by 80”. They are both 2 1/4” thick. The composition is a sandwich of solid walnut, plywood and foam. The sketchup and the photos will give you the details. The main frame around which the rest is formed is made from “boards” that I laminated up from 1” wide strips of 3/4” plywood. My reasoning being that there was no way they could warp. Then after insulating inside the frame I added 1/4” plywood skins to form sort of a torsion box. The rest is cosmetic.

Coolest part…. they are very heavy and swing closed with a very solid “Thud!”

Photos # 1,2 and 4 are the front door.
Photo #3 is the back door.
Photo #5 is the internal layup.

For the 3/8 walnut skins I re-sawed 1” boards and put the halves opposite each other on the inside and outside of the doors to carry on the illusion of a solid door.


Thanks for looking


-- -- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

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View GaryL's profile


206 posts in 2874 days

posted 03-07-2013 02:06 PM

Thanks Paul. I recall, if my fading memory is correct, seeing this on LJ’s awhile back.
This is actual perfect timing for this post. I am pricing out some doors for an OLD factory building in Detroit that they want to fit into the existing steel frames that are in brick and poured concrete walls. The doors are all odd sizes and they can’t get manufactured steel doors to fit. Your design was the route that I was thinking of going. I would have too beef up the stiles, possibly with steel, (this is in the worst area of Detroit) then it would be just exterior plywood skins. One of the doors is for an elevator maintenance shack on the roof, three stories up then through a hatch with a steep set of steps. I was thinking the foam just to lighten it up.
The worst part of this pending job is….they said they would have one of their security guards watch my work trailer and truck while I was installing. If they didn’t, they told me, my trailer would probably be empty and stripped…...yikes. And this is inside 8’ fencing with consertina/razor wire.

Anyway, your door looks fantastic with the walnut overlay. Also glad to see it holding up so well. How often do you freshen up the clearcoat?

-- The difference between a pro and an amateur, an amateur points out his mistakes

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2 posts in 2053 days

posted 03-07-2013 03:20 PM

Yes, it is a re-post. I have only re-coated it once about two years ago.
Sounds like a rough neighborhood you’re looking at there. Hope you get the work and don’t lose your truck.

-- -- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


447 posts in 2310 days

posted 03-22-2013 01:34 AM

Paul – This is the beauty I saw on LumberJocks. I’m going to attempt something like this for my front door.. Of Course, I don’t have a beautiful arch like you do but your design will still look awesome!

-- Working on my home for 2 years and counting.

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