woods to use for entry doors

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Forum topic by grizzman posted 02-19-2014 01:42 AM 1524 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7836 posts in 3298 days

02-19-2014 01:42 AM

Topic tags/keywords: front door cedar

i want to get as much information as i can on this subject, as i am considering the use of red cedar for a new entry door, i’m having some cedar cut as i speak in 8/4 for the possible use for a new front door for my house, and i would like to know if there are any reasons as to either go forward with this idea or maybe not, and i want to get what knowledge you all have on this subject, thanks…grizzman

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

20 replies so far

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2670 days

#1 posted 02-19-2014 01:50 AM

Cedar would not rot but it will split easily. Most older doors were pine but today it is particle board type material because it is more stable in the weather.

View lew's profile


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#2 posted 02-19-2014 01:58 AM

A lot of doors around here are made of Red Oak. Especially if they are going to have a clear finish.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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Monte Pittman

29221 posts in 2333 days

#3 posted 02-19-2014 02:00 AM

I have seen doors made of cedar. They looked great, but I don’t know how well they hold up.may just be a matter of proper care after you build them.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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7836 posts in 3298 days

#4 posted 02-19-2014 02:07 AM

another option i’m thinking of is using walnut, and engineering the door with a plywood center, and using solid walnut around the edge, and of coarse walnut on both sides..has anyone seen a door made from walnut…i know red oak is used a lot but its not the look i want, my home is filled with antique heart pine and its a rustic look, that is why i am thinking of the red cedar..ive looked on line and have seen some doors that are striking out of cedar, but want your input…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2482 days

#5 posted 02-19-2014 02:09 AM

I’m not certain I would use solid cedar. While it doesn’t rot or attract insects easily, it will splinter at the end grain rub points.

My choice would be to make a three layer lamination, either using cedar all the way through with a harder wood one the center piece at the edges so the hinge screws don’t pull out and so it will be more likely to survive a break in.

The other way would be to use a three piece lamination with a good solid hardwood layer in the middle, not just on the edges.
Osage Orange comes to mind, or Black Locust, lol.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3572 days

#6 posted 02-19-2014 02:30 AM

Hey Bob
My father in-law made entry doors for 60+ years and he thought the idea of laminating wood together worked best.
He would take short pieces of wood and finger joint them together and then put a 1/4” veneer over the top.this approach really minimized wood movement and made a much more stable door.This approach can make it so you can put much harder wood under the veneer where the hinges go . With this kind of approach you can use any type of veneer you want.
Thinking about walnut it tends to lighten up in direct sunlight,that might be a consideration re the type of wood you select. BTW I think cedar would look very good.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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8549 posts in 2837 days

#7 posted 02-19-2014 02:30 AM

I’m thinking several thoughts. Is this going to be kiln dried or air dried, both to my understanding take time.

Is the door exposed to the sun and for how long? The walnut will lighten over time in the sun. Are you planning to do regular yearly maintenance on this door?

Oak and walnut and cedar all have different tolerances and expansion rates. My cedar fences tolerate sun well. Doing better than the treated fence planks.

Might want to ask the people who have the cedar doors what they are experiencing?

Best of luck. Cedar is great in many areas in the home.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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7836 posts in 3298 days

#8 posted 02-19-2014 02:39 AM

so far I’m for sure thinking of a lamination, i know i’m going to need to have a good hard wood for where the hinges will need to be and i want it to be stabile ..I’m looking at all of what your saying and you have brought some good info to the table, lots of good info here guys..lets see who else comes with more info..thank you.

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

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7836 posts in 3298 days

#9 posted 02-19-2014 03:19 AM

and doc, yes the woods will be air dried, ive done that for years, so yes it will take time to dry, however i have found red cedar to dry at a much quicker rate, the cedar is being milled at 2 inches thick in case i needed that for door thickness but can plane or rip it down for what is needed…and i know this is not a project that will be done this year, its a good year off or so, the wood will be dry when i make the door…and the door is not exposed to sunlight, i have a wide porch all across the front of the house.

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View cajunpen's profile


14575 posts in 4061 days

#10 posted 02-19-2014 03:27 AM

Grizz you have had some good input to make a solid decision as to the best door that you can build. Ultimately you have to go with what My Grandfather used to say – “Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased” makes sense to me :-)

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Frady's profile


19 posts in 1599 days

#11 posted 02-19-2014 04:14 AM

Grizz, I have a store bought solid walnut door and I love it. That being said, I have many exterior cedar projects. I think it would make a great looking door that would stand the test of time. Occasionally you can find a large standing dead eastern red cedar that is nearly all heart. Snap up all of those that you can. They seem to be extra weather hardened. Check out the front entrance on my projects. The left front post log is just such a log.
Your brother in Christ.

-- Frady in Denton,NC _Trying to bring what was to be firewood to life! Semper Fi!

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Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2851 days

#12 posted 02-19-2014 10:47 AM

Grizz I think Cedar would make wonderful door.
I’m making two doors at the moment that are going to the Isle of Arran
I’m using 4 layers of Marine plywood and epoxying it. The edges and glass
trimming will be in white oak. It wont look as good though, a layer of cedar
on the outer skin. Shipwright aka Paul made a neat plywood door recently.
However you do it I’m sure it will look great.

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Don W

18707 posts in 2563 days

#13 posted 02-20-2014 12:13 AM

Its also going to make a difference if the door is directly in the weather. For Instance my front door is under a porch, so although its outside, its somewhat protected from the elements. So hard rain at 4pm and direct sunlight at 4:15 wouldn’t affect it nearly as much as a door without the shelter.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

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1857 posts in 3456 days

#14 posted 02-20-2014 01:27 AM

Ok Grizz, I just had to jump in. My experience with doors is that none are perfect. It all boils down to how well the are protected from the elements. If the door is under a substantial stoop or porch and relatively well protected from the weather, they will last a lot longer. I wouldn’t worry about using good red cedar, it’s a good exterior wood and with the finishes we have available today and the water resistant glues. I’d go for the look you want. I have metal doors, fiberglass doors, aluminum doors, and doors I’ve made, solid mahogany, cypress, pine, sooner or later they wall wear out. I’d save the walnut for something inside because it will not look as nice in 5 years as it did new and you’ll need to be refinishing it


-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

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7836 posts in 3298 days

#15 posted 02-20-2014 01:48 AM

thanks ken for the comments, and i agree, ive leaned a lot from this forum and ive come to a conclusion so far that is, the it will be stronger if its engineered…i know the wood where the hinges will be needs to be strong, so as for now im going to probably do a 3 layer lamination…and make it so everything is where it needs to be all under the illusion that the door looks like its all red cedar, but not, i know everyone will get that, so for now that is where i am at, the door has a 9 foot porch in the fron, that goes the whole length of my house, so its well protected from rain and sun..thanks everyone for your input, its helped me a lot.

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

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