Door glue ups

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Blog entry by Scott Johnson posted 03-26-2014 06:33 PM 1321 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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Gluing Doors up Flat?

I have struggled with door glue ups but I finally have a method that works very well for me and it is easy.
Most importantly your stock must be dead flat and square. The rails must be coped square to the rails so I always make a few extras as it seems once in a while one slips in the coping sled or you just got it wrong somewhere. I also make my stiles over length and trim the door after glue up to square it. I also soften the edge of the raised panel a bit on both side with a block plane so it starts easily into the frame. My raised panels are sized to move with a little effort in the frame.
I made a simple fixture of MDF base with right angle pieces as seen in photo one.
Here is the glue up procedure, first I choose my stiles and rails to best match the raised panels grain pattern and add space balls to the frame. I then take a piece of 1/4 plywood cut slightly smaller than the raised panel and put the frame with the panel in the fixture and make sure that my stiles and rails fit together perfectly, if not I use a a spare and move on. (photo 2) After i Know the frame will work I put glue on the bottom rail and right stile and fit the raised panel into the fixture with as much hand pressure as needed to bed it into the frame against the stile and rail and keep it square, I then take a cabinet clamp and pull the raised panel into the stile just a little more than it should be.(photo 3) Next I put my glue on the other stile and rail, remove the clamp and fit the stile and rails onto the raised panel. Using one clamp in the middle of the stiles and another on the bottom of the fixture I put just enough pressure on the clamps to keep everything square against the fixture.. Next I take one clamp and pull the top rail down to final length against the fixture, if you have the pressure right in the above step the rail will just slide down the stile nice and square (photo 4). I then double check everything as to this point very little clamping pressure has been used. If all looks good I move the clamp from the middle of the stiles to the top of the rails and apply enough pressure on both top and bottom stile clamps to ensure nothing moves. I then add another clamp on the left side of the rails and move the clamp from the middle of rails to the right side. Very little pressure is on the rails It is just to keep the frame square. I then tighten up the stile clamps, top and bottom and use a damp rag to clean up the squeeze out. Lastly, I clamp the frame down to the fixture to insure it drys flat. Here is the stack I just completed. Out of eighteen three had a very slight gap on one corner of the frame, (photo 5) Hope this help



Somehow my photo’s were cut off on the right side when I went to post, I don’t know how to fix so just bear in mind that the fixture has MDF strips on the bottom and right hand side keeping all square.

-- Burning wood for heat is great-- such a fitting end for all of my mistakes.

2 comments so far

View Dutchy's profile


3085 posts in 2316 days

#1 posted 03-26-2014 08:54 PM


Nice to see that you are doing it exactly the same way I do. I made a cabin from MDF


View Scott Johnson's profile

Scott Johnson

25 posts in 2811 days

#2 posted 03-26-2014 09:22 PM

Sure beats fighting it with cranking on the clamps like I used to do.

-- Burning wood for heat is great-- such a fitting end for all of my mistakes.

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