The 2 x 4 Door Project, Part 2

The Before Picture

I’ve been remiss.  I forgot to show you a ‘before’ picture.  Above is the door I am replacing.   Simple, hollow, birch plywood, stained to a color somewhere between dog pee yellow and oompa-loompa orange.  It’s was once a standard door but has since been cut to fit this short door frame, and judging by the jagged edge along the bottom they used an ax or a chainsaw or something.


Well, the old door has been re-purposed so as to again be useful.  I use it now for target practice.  Let’s get on with its replacement.

Marked for Removal

I’ve got all the boards cut and squared and (mostly) flattened and planed down to their final thickness.  Now I must cut grooves.  A 1/2 inch groove down the inside of each frame piece should be sufficient to hold the panels and the other frame pieces together.


Groovy.  And the mullions are nicely cut.


Full tenons where the rails join the frame.


Now to cut some square holes.  I had to modify my mortising machine so it could accommodate a 6″ plank of wood underneath it.

Square Holes

I own one of the world’s cheapest and most neglected mortise machines, but it still makes short work of this soft wood.  This is 2×4 and 2×6 construction lumber, some of which has sat outside for three years.  And it’s still good enough to make a door.


The frame fit together very well.  Now it just needs some panels.  I thought I might try to carve some more 2x4s down into slightly thinner sheets with tapered edges but in the interests of time and economy (translation:  I’m a cheap bastard and occasionally lazy), I’m just using plywood.


The panels fit in the frames great.


I want a curved top to this door so it’s time to scribe a line.  For a compass I use a strip of metal with a pin at one end and pencil lead at the other.

Curved Top

I just used a reciprocating saw to cut this arc.  I considered making some forms and using a router to make a nice perfect, smooth edge but this door really has no intention of being all that perfect.


So, I ran into a bit of a snag because the location I had to put the doorknob had a tight little knot right where the latch had to be carved out.  This was not an easy task.  The wood grain really works against any attempt at carving this neatly.


I think I did fairly well, despite the knot.


That’s an antique doorknob (a Schlage M45 probably from the 60s) with a beautiful mocha colored patina on a rather coppery brass.  I may play around with the fit a little bit more but it works well .


There it is dry fit.  I’m pleasantly surprised by how well this project has gone so far.  Seems like I haven’t managed to screw up anything yet!  But there’s still time, I still need to sand it and glue it together and make a custom door frame for that curved part, and I haven’t yet tried to fit it into the door frame.  Any number of calamities can happen before this project is finished.

The 2 x 4 Door Project, Part 1

More Plans

I have this small closet door up in the loft that I completely hate and I would like to replace.  Well, I’d like to throw bladed weapons at it, then burn it down, then replace it.  It’s one of those ugly hollow core doors but this one has been cut down to fit an unusually small door frame, some 25″ x 58″.  I was hoping to find a salvage door that I could saw down and fit but no luck there.  If I want to replace this thing I’m going to have to make it myself.  (I’m acutely aware that non-woodworkers don’t think this way) (and maybe even other woodworkers don’t think this way) (it’s possible that it’s just me).

2 x 6 x 16

I don’t want this to cost a lot of money.  In fact, $0.00 would be a great price, but I’m prepared to spend as much as fifty bucks including hardware.  Well, it just so happens I do have a few spare 2×4 and 2×6 leftover from other projects.  Hey, this one here is like 16 feet long.  If I leave it outside any longer it’s just going to grow mushrooms so I may as well make something out of it.


And so, the 2×4 Door Project has now commenced!  The lumber I have has been left outside with the spiders and the salty sea air for longer than it should have been, but it is still solid and durable, and I think all its dings and dents and gouges and wormholes just make it look that much cooler.


I’ll sand it down and stain it and stuff, but I’ll make no effort to fill or conceal or do anything at all about the nail holes, the saw marks, the boot prints.  This is going to be a traditional door with mortise and tenon joinery and solid wood.

Cut and Jointed

The challenges will be many.  Construction lumber is not usually flat enough to cut into a nice flat door (and doors have to be perfectly 100% flat or they won’t open or close right).  I don’t want to do too much planing or jointing because that takes away from the distressed look that I’m hoping to preserve.  But I think this door is going to be completely awesome when it’s all said and done.

That Hooman Is Crazy

I can’t say that everyone is convinced.