Solid Wood Door glue-ups / Tips and Techniques

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Blog entry by KnotWright posted 02-11-2010 03:15 AM 9430 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

One of the best things about Lumberjocks is that an individual can be exposed to so many different ways to do the same task. While you are working in your shop, you aren’t really exposed to too many different ways, normally the way you were taught, or how you figured it out, tends to be the way we always end up doing things. This way might not be the most efficient or productive, but it does get the job done.

My question for everyone is how do you do the following task:

I”m getting ready to put together a number of solid wooden doors, 3/4” stock and varying widths, some of the doors might only be 12 ” wide, others could be as much as 25” wide.

I’ve already run the material through the thickness planer and cut it into random widths from 2 1/4” up to a max of 3” now its time to do the glue ups.

In the past I’ve just glued the sides and clamped them up, working them as I go to get the surface as flat and true as possible. Then scraping and sanding to finish them.

I’ve also used a biscuit joiner to try to speed up the process of keeping the faces all in the same plane so there’s less scraping and sanding.

I’ve used a spline to achieve this also.

My shop does not have a drum/panel sander so its just me and my ROS and 1/2 sheet sander. I also have a limited amount of clamps so I’ve been forced to do the doors a few at a time and work on other jobs while the glue-ups dry.

So basically what I’m interested in is your tips and techniques for achieving nice flat doors when you do your glue-ups. FIRE AWAY!

-- James

6 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117060 posts in 3540 days

#1 posted 02-11-2010 03:48 AM

Well James
It’s going to be next to impossible with out enough clamps. Unless these are cabinet doors 3/4” is not thick enough, most doors are 1 1/4” – 1 1/2” thick . You normally join doors together with mortise and tenon joinery . So you have to have at least 6 clamps wide enough to go across the width of the doors prefirable strong 3/4 pipe clamps or there equivalent,That’s enough to do one door. after you have dry fit all the parts
Then your ready for glue depending on the type of glue you use you may have to move pretty fast so you need every thing all set out ready to go. you then start gluing on rail( the horizontal cross pieces) at a time
place your panels in place then attach the other vertical member(the stile) and then place clamps over and under all the way up the door.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View KnotWright's profile


258 posts in 3451 days

#2 posted 02-11-2010 04:08 AM

Jim, sorry I should have included some photos, there are solid slab doors I’m gluing up, no frames. Each door will be glued up from individual pieces of stock ( 4 sticks of 3” wide x 3/4” thick, x 32” long for a total door width of 12” x 32” tall) Sort of like glued up a table top blank, but on a smaller scale.

Once these door blanks are glued up, they will get run through the shaper to put the edge detail on them.

I have about 15 pipe clamps I use, but I’ve also see somewhere, shops use a glue up table, that has a frame on one side and they jamb up the blanks against it and then use the clamps to pull the doors tight against that frame.

When I’m building rail and style doors ( 5 piece doors) , I have a squaring table I use to glue up and clamp that type of door. Its built out of a piece of 3/4” plywood with a hard maple edge to align the doors pieces.

I’ll try to get some photos posted, but I’ve got to set up the external photo sharing deal first.

-- James

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3660 days

#3 posted 02-11-2010 04:12 AM

I was going to comment but Jim you have me confused with door 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 thick, every cabinet doors I ever made were 3/4 thick.

View a1Jim's profile


117060 posts in 3540 days

#4 posted 02-11-2010 04:14 AM

Only 3/4” thick doors?Are these cabinet doors James? If you’ve done that you must have glued them up before. Just alternate clamps and use some cauls to help keep it flat.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View KnotWright's profile


258 posts in 3451 days

#5 posted 02-11-2010 07:27 PM

Below is a couple of photos of what I’m building. This is a set of Beech cabinets for a job in Houston.


Door panel assembly

Spline assembly option used on curved doors

Curved solid doors with spline assembly

Upper cabinets with glass door frames

-- James

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2781 posts in 3401 days

#6 posted 02-12-2010 03:16 PM

What I’ve done to make the doors flatter and the finishing easier is to glue up sections 12” or less and run them through the planer. Making sure that each 12” width section is the same thickness when I’m done. Then I glue the larger sections together to make a panel larger than 12”. It limits the number of seams you have to deal with in scraping.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

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