Advice for building a solid wood entry door

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Forum topic by yellowtruck75 posted 08-15-2013 11:19 PM 4683 views 2 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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426 posts in 1821 days

08-15-2013 11:19 PM

I would like to build a mahogany or walnut entry door for my house. I will be using my Domino for the joints and more than likely will use 8/4 stock milled down. What type of durable finish should I use? I would like to put a few small windows in it but where do I get small insulated glass windows to put in it?


8 replies so far

View mbs's profile


1504 posts in 1694 days

#1 posted 08-15-2013 11:25 PM

I don’t know of a good finish that holds up to UV light. I wouldn’t use anything but some type of oil finish that doesn’t have urethane.

Make sure your wood is extremely dry because most solid doors i’ve seen shrink and warp over time. My sister has one that looked great when it was finished but looks horrible now.

Good luck.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View nailbanger2's profile


969 posts in 1897 days

#2 posted 08-15-2013 11:42 PM

Sherwin-Williams Resilience Ultra Deep Base. It’s a latex exterior paint, and if you don’t add any tint, it will dry clear. As always, try a small amount on a sample. I’ve had some on a corner table on my screen porch for over a year and a half, and it looks brand new.

However, (there’s always one, isn’t there), I don’t know what kind of climate you are in, but here in Fla. I would not recommend a wood door. During the summer (which lasts six months) , the difference between the air conditioned interior and the sauna outside tends to give you different expansion and contraction on either side, bad news for the door.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

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Dan'um Style

13270 posts in 2737 days

#3 posted 08-16-2013 02:12 AM

try searching for the windows at menard’s … they might something

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View JAAune's profile


986 posts in 1070 days

#4 posted 08-16-2013 03:01 AM

I’d build an exterior frame and panel door using double panels with insulation between them. That will eliminate a lot of the problems caused by difference in humidity between the outdoors and the indoors.

Unless the door is well shielded from rain and sun, any clear finish will likely need re-touching on an annual basis to keep the door in good condition. You have to keep the top coat maintained because once it starts peeling, the wood will get cracked or damaged by the weather and accelerate the aging process. Spar varnish is the most common clear exterior finish but there are probably other good ones too.

If you use the Domino for joinery I hope you have the bigger version of that tool. I have doubts that the little Dominos will suffice for something as heavy as an entry door. You may also want to make your own tenon stock because a carefully fitted, smooth hardwood tenon will have a better glue surface than the stamped Dominos.

I can get insulated glass at a local glass company that installs replacement glass for homes and vehicles. There must be similar businesses in just about any fair-sized city.

Last but not least, the door must be designed to shed water if there’s any chance of rain getting on it. Wood can get damp without ill effect as long as it’s able to dry out when the rain passes. If there are joints and corners for water to get into and the wood is permanently damp, then you’ve got a self-destructing door.

Soak the bottom edge of the door in epoxy to seal the end grain against moisture absorption.

-- See my work at and

View AandCstyle's profile


1487 posts in 1011 days

#5 posted 08-16-2013 11:43 PM

I refinished the outside of this door with Sikkens Cetol Door and Window 2 years ago and it still looks as good now as it did when the pix were taken. I wish I had taken a couple of “before” shots. It is in Ft Worth and gets afternoon sun. Sorry the pix are sideways. HTH

-- Art

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7950 posts in 2806 days

#6 posted 08-16-2013 11:54 PM

shipwright Paul made some COOL doors not too long ago… with insulation, etc.

Check’em out…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View firefighterontheside's profile


5913 posts in 610 days

#7 posted 08-16-2013 11:58 PM

I would suggest the sickens as well. Very good for UV. Kind of expensive.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 1737 days

#8 posted 08-17-2013 02:46 AM

Don’t know what weather is like in Pa. But our door panels are made with reverse grain glued back to back, creating a 1-5/8” thick panel, with a 1/2” Tung. your glass windows should be stopped in from both sides.
The finish, a good one is a water base General #465; you’ll get about two years from it with a southern exposure, more, if it’s a northern exposure. I do love the sikkens if you can get it, what does it matter how much the cost, if it saves you having to redo a finish every year. everything else you asked about just follow JAAUNE’s advise.
PS… make sure you net out at 1 3/4” thickness, hinges and lock sets are finicky, for installing them.

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