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How do I avoid this expensive mistake in the future??

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Forum topic by albachippie posted 1219 days ago 1471 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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albachippie

532 posts in 1631 days


1219 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: tip question oak finishing

Hi guys and girls. I’ve not been around here for a while, and I’ve missed it! I wonder if you can help.

I made a set of storm doors at the end of last year. They are oak frames with a horizontal oak lining board fixed to the face of the frame. Both frame and linings are made from 3/4” timber. I suspect this was my first mistake. During our particularly harsh winter, the doors warped and twisted really badly, deviating by about 1 1/2 inches from straight in there height of 6’8”. I finished the doors with 3 coats of a natural oil wax.

What appears to have happened is the grain in the horizontal lining boards has warped, causing the stiles to just bend under the stress. When I made these, I was advised not to glue the panels, just screw them and plug the holes, allowing the timber to move, second mistake?

As I need to now rebuild these doors, I have a few questions to throw out there.

1) Should I use a substantially heavier timber for my stiles than for the panelling, to reduce the effect of the panelling warping?

2) Should I glue the panelling onto the stiles, or should the screws be adequate, allowing the timber to expand and contract?

3) Would using laminated stiles stop the warping altogether?

4)What finish would you recommend

This was my first foray into exterior doors, and I am now paying for my inexperience in this area!!

Any help or advice would be hugely appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Garry

-- Garry fae Bonnie Scotland - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Garry-Macdonald-Woodwork/425518554215355?ref=hl


13 replies so far

View Don's profile

Don

506 posts in 1669 days


#1 posted 1219 days ago

1. 3/4” is pretty thin for an exterior door in my experience. I think the most comon is probobly around 1-1/4” or 1-1/2”

2. Definiately do not glue them in fully. You can glue a few inches of the middle on the end grain if you want but the panel has to have room to expand and contract.

3. A laminated style may reduce the warping of the style but not the panel.

4. Use something designed for exterior use like Deck finish.

Also, use a wood that can hold up better outdoors like Cedar, IPE, or White Oak. Red oak is not a good outdoor wood due to the open poors.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

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albachippie

532 posts in 1631 days


#2 posted 1219 days ago

Hi Don, thanks for the reply. I don’t think I explained myself very well!

The overall thickness of the door is 1 1/2”, made up from a 3/4” frame with a face mounted 3/4” lining board panel, fitted horizontally. Similar to this photo

The whole thing is made from white oak. I have never taken on a project such as this before, and now wish I researched a little better before hand!

-- Garry fae Bonnie Scotland - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Garry-Macdonald-Woodwork/425518554215355?ref=hl

View traupmann's profile

traupmann

124 posts in 1383 days


#3 posted 1219 days ago

check this out It’s a company that makes only screen doors out of wood.

-- chas -- looking for Serta sponsorship to go Pro...

View drewnahant's profile

drewnahant

218 posts in 1685 days


#4 posted 1219 days ago

I have done a couple screen doors without problem. mine are a full inch thick and cherry, but 3/4 oak should work. I used 1/2 inch strips to make up the 1 inch with opposing crown to cancel out the warping tendencies making the wide strips had more waste and more work, but it put the seem on the edges instead of the face. I did this for all pieces, though mine had an open grate design over screen on the bottom so my dog can see out, but I would recommend it for the panel too. I used spar urethane, not sure how other finishes would effect it.

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a1Jim

111999 posts in 2173 days


#5 posted 1219 days ago

I think it may be the material, if it’s red oak it does not hold up to weather very well. It may also be that the material you used was not completely dry. If you are painting these storm door you might consider some other wood like poplar and I would also think about making them at least 1” thick and closer to 3 1/2” wide. Also use a weather proof glue like tite bond III. Wood panels should not be glued in place other than perhaps gluing a small spot in the middle to hold the panel in place then the panel can still move from the center out.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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ART LACKEY

103 posts in 1975 days


#6 posted 1219 days ago

It sounds like you made a frame,and then attached the horizontal parts to the face. Is that right? If thats what you did,and with just an oil finish the horizontal wood swelled up with moisture and bent the frame all out of wack. If you had the same boards on the back as well it would have equal tension front and back,and less likely to warp so bad. you also need to seal out the moisture. try also to paint the parts front and back before assembly.

-- IF YOU GIVE A MAN A FISH,YOU FEED HIM FOR A DAY,BUT IF YOU TEACH HIM HOW TO FISH---HE'LL SIT IN A BOAT AND DRINK BEER ALL DAY!

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albachippie

532 posts in 1631 days


#7 posted 1218 days ago

Thanks for all the input guys. The oak is European oak, which is generally fine for exterior joinery. I think it is mainly my lack of experience in exterior joinery that has been my downfall.

My proposal now is to use a laminated European oak stile and rail. I will reduce the existing linings from 20mm to about 15mm. This way I can remove the twist from the boards and make them reusable. I then intend to coat all the components with at least two coats of this product which has been recommended. I then will dry fit all ironmongery, remove and coat all new cuts. Then give a final coat of the osmo. My main problem is how will I refit all the lining boards without face fixing? The client doesn’t want face fix marks. I did intend to glue and clamp but this appears to cause problems by not allowing the timbers to move in opposing directions.

I really feel like I have bitten off more than I can chew this time and I am wasting a lot of money trying to remedy many schoolboy errors. I think in the future I will stick to internal joinery which is what I know best!

-- Garry fae Bonnie Scotland - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Garry-Macdonald-Woodwork/425518554215355?ref=hl

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albachippie

532 posts in 1631 days


#8 posted 1218 days ago

I’m quite embarrassed to show this photo but I figure I can’t afford to be proud! This is what happened to the original door#

-- Garry fae Bonnie Scotland - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Garry-Macdonald-Woodwork/425518554215355?ref=hl

View Don's profile

Don

506 posts in 1669 days


#9 posted 1218 days ago

Garry,

You shouldn’t be embarrssed about this. I’m sure most LJs have similar stories we could tell. I only wish I had some pictures of the time my dad and I glued some solid wood table tops down to their solid wood trellises with opposing grain and then moved them from our hot shop into an air conditioned customers office…

Also, external jointery methods really aren’t any different than internal methods. You just have to allow even more room for wood movement due to a wider range of temperature and humidity.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

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Paul C.

154 posts in 1841 days


#10 posted 1217 days ago

I assure you I’ve never done anything like that….unless you count the last time, and the time before that and….

It’s how we learn. Sorry it was so expensive.

View Loren's profile

Loren

7223 posts in 2244 days


#11 posted 1217 days ago

“1) Should I use a substantially heavier timber for my stiles than for the panelling, to reduce the effect of the panelling warping?”

A: I would. I’d recommend at least 1.25” thick for this style of design
at this size in an exterior application.

“2) Should I glue the panelling onto the stiles, or should the screws be adequate, allowing the timber to expand and contract?”

A: Screws. No glue. Finish the insides too. Grooving the cross boards
and putting splines in between will be an easier way to allow a greater
range of movement with less material loss.

“3) Would using laminated stiles stop the warping altogether?”

A: No, but it might offer you more control over the situation.

“4)What finish would you recommend”

Something durable and tough like spar varnish or paint.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View drewnahant's profile

drewnahant

218 posts in 1685 days


#12 posted 1217 days ago

From your picture I think the big problem is that the two different grain directions are in different layers, and not balanced. if the cross grain was a panel fit into the frame, so it is all on the same plane, it would not have caused bowing, or if you had put another long grain piece on the back, to sandwich the cross grain, it would have balanced out, though it would have tremendous internal stress.
If you had left a generous space in the tongue and groove joints of that crossgrain layer, it may have been alright.
Good luck with the repair, and in the future, really pay attention to the expansion issue in your designs, I guess you will never forget that lesson

View albachippie's profile

albachippie

532 posts in 1631 days


#13 posted 855 days ago

Hi all,

I just remembered about this cry for help, and that I hadn’t posted an end result!

I’m going to post a new project for this too.

I know it’s a bit overdue, but thanks all for your input into this project.

I ended up using 1.25” laminated styles with an engineered face, edged with solid oak and sealed with 4 coats spar varnish.

Thanks all again,

Garry

-- Garry fae Bonnie Scotland - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Garry-Macdonald-Woodwork/425518554215355?ref=hl

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