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Door Making Process5/12
After buying doors for 20 plus years, I am going to start making them again.
Not knowing what equipment you have now, its hard to make a suggestion. Wide belt sander is a must, a random orbital wide sander is also needed.
I have a Unique 250 door machine. I like this, easier to set up. I also use carbide insert knives, they last a long time.
As for the blow out, that is not a problem, just put a block of wood behind the piece being machined.
Having said all of that, we have all the equipment, but I buy most of our doors. Labor is an issue for me and I think the cost of buying doors is not much more than making them ourselves. We can make more money doing other things.
If you have a moulder wouldnít you make the inner profile on the rail stock not just S4S? With a moulder you can also make mitered door rails if you choose.
Donít forget, glueing panels, squaring/sizing panels, shaping panels raise, sanding the panel profile.
If you are making stain grade panels staining the panel tounge when itís apart is not a bad idea.
Why have you decided to bring doors in-house?
With a higher volume of doors that we arenow buying, I think we can shift the doormaking in house. Our number of employees have grown, and the overhead burden, per employee has gone down.
Paul has it covered, with one exception. For 40 years I have heard one can run sticking first then tenon/cope. Use of a block of wood, or a coped scrap will back up the rail end work with no blowout.
I have never been able to make that work. We build a lot of passage doors, and we oversize the rails in width. Tenon and cope, then joint or plane to remove 1/8", then profile and plow the rail. We remove the 1/8" to take care of any cope blowout.
Even with cabinet doors, we follow a similar process. We have wood rails on all our coping sleds, but there is still blowout.
If you look at the top cabinet door equipment (Unique comes to mind), you will see cope cutters with two counterrotating spindles. Cope the first half of the width of the rail feeding one way, and the second half feeding into the other cutter. No blowout at all.
This allows you to run stock to pattern on the molder, eliminating a few large steps.
I like to cut the S4S stock to length first, flipping/turning as needed to get best face and crown up. Then we cope rails with a simple square backer to minimize blowout (losing maybe a couple pieces on a kitchen if the inserts are getting dull). Then feed the sticking shaper in a continuous flow for each stack. This only takes a bit longer than running sticking full length and simplifies the cope machinery/process requirements.
It is all about quantity - how many doors will you make in a batch? Will you make them every day? or once a week? or once a month?
I also like the rough length, rough width, face and edge method. You can defect better, and get better parts. Great for a few doors. However, there is nothing like a ripsaw and S4S molder or profile molder for making hundreds or thousands of parts.
Congratulations on making your own doors. It is about taking pride in your work, and 'doing the work'. You will produce a better product, with more employee pride and self-respect.
I like to run full lengths for sticking, cut to length then cope.
You should thickness, size, and stick in one pass on the moulder if that's available to you. Saves one step, and should be able to run a higher feed rate than a shaper.
Coping on a shaper is asinine in my opinion. It's how I do it, but it is slow and depends too much on the operator to keep his head out of his posterior. I'd look into a automatic coper. That's the direction I plan on going soon. Tooling costs double with the one I'm looking at since it uses counter rotating heads to eliminate needing a backer block.
You'll need a door clamp. Clamping with pipe clamps can give good results, but it's painfully slow.