Architectural Woodworking

You are not logged in. [ Login ] Why log in
(NOTE: Login is not required to post)

Entering the entry door Business

Kip  Member


I am traditionally a cabinet maker but now I have at least two large entry door projects to build and I'm searching for door hardware suppliers. Can anyone recommend a good supplier who services central South Carolina?

7/24/14       #2: Entering the entry door Business ...
David R Sochar Member

Hardware? The better ones won't let you buy wholesale, you will have to pay retail and try to mark it up, or send your customers to the retail showrooms. If you want to be a dealer, you will have to buy displays, etc.

Then there is weatherstripping and sills. Lots of alternates there, and your market may or may not have its own ideas about what that should be.

Then there is glass. Find a vendor that can do anything at a reasonable price and in good time, with access and willingness to lots of different glass. Know the code and how to work within it.

Finish is another set of issues. A big set.

I have told people that doors are different from almost all other types of woodwork, and that they are much harder and problem prone that any other niche one could find. Not for the casual shop to enter into just because someone asked. Often a potential customer will ask a cabinet shop to make a door after they price one (even off the internet), looking for a cheaper alternative. Just like you get people thinking you can make a kitchen for 30% less than Home depot.

But, beyond all the problems, it is a fair way to make a living.

Click the link below to download the file included with this post.


7/24/14       #3: Entering the entry door Business ...

We do lots of entry doors but also cabinetry and millwork. Entry doors are a good niche but not for the faint of heart. As mentioned, there are lots of potential problems, finishing being the largest. My only advice would be to charge enough to cover some risk and some warranty liability. Do not under bid to get work on entry doors! Charge to make a high quality product or stay away.

7/24/14       #4: Entering the entry door Business ...
Kip  Member


yep, all good advice. I am mainly wondering if I could find an interlocking brass threshold for less than $12 per foot, or is that what I should expect to pay? If it is, that's cool. I know there will be some semi-rookie mistakes but paying too much for hardware is one I hope to avoid if possible. What are some good names to look for in thresholds and hinges? I've heard that sikkins is a good name for finishing products.

7/24/14       #5: Entering the entry door Business ...

We use ball bearing hinges from Onsward. They are available in Canada through Richelieu and likely available elsewhere. We charge for door and frame and them have a line item for reimbursable hardware. It includes thresholds, hinges and lock sets.

7/25/14       #6: Entering the entry door Business ...
David R Sochar Member

Just like your cabinet materials, you need to buy wholesale - including your bronze thresholds. Accurate Metal Weatherstrip in NYC is one of my favorites. Buy a quantity for stock and set up terms to get the better pricing. Even then it is expensive - nature of the beast.

Expensive hardware - or paying too much - is the least of your worries. A good argument on hardware can be made about passing it off to the owner, contractor or anyone else. You will never make any money on hardware.

You will need an excellent lumber source, a large joiner and a large planer, fast, accurate and efficient way to mortise and tenon, including coping. Effective glass sealing technology is also very important.

No disrespect intended, but this is a little bit like a bird house builder asking you what he needs to know to start making kitchen cabinets, since he has had a few people ask.

View higher quality, full size image (2421 X 1949)

7/26/14       #7: Entering the entry door Business ...
Pat Gilbert

"No disrespect intended, but this is a little bit like a bird house builder asking you what he needs to know to start making kitchen cabinets, since he has had a few people ask."

I see you have recovered from your being humbled outlook?

7/26/14       #8: Entering the entry door Business ...
David R Sochar Member

Pat - I get humbled weekly. Hell, sometimes more. Its like getting a splinter- I'm used to it. Perhaps it is thick skin or thick-headedness, but life goes on.

My recent adventures notwithstanding, there is a lot that goes into the making of a decent exterior door unit, and it all has to work. If a kitchen design is off a bit, the kitchen still works - you can cook and eat. If a door won't close, or lets rain in, then it has failed in at least one fundamental aspect.

Kip may have what it takes - or will learn it - so he can make doors profitably and continue. I do wish him luck though it may not sound like it. However, out of all the folks I have seen get into the area of doors, especially exterior doors, none have stayed that I know of.

7/26/14       #9: Entering the entry door Business ...

David, I have great respect for your work. with that said, I am a commercial/residential cabinet shop. I have also built a few very nice doors/entryways that have stood up to time. True, you do have special set of skills and extreme knowledge, but there are a lot of stunning doors out there and you could have not built all of them.I am with you on the guy getting a few tools and then jumping into building doors in his garage, it happens in cabinetry and even commercial casework as well. But with that said, some one needs to learn and keep with it. I am well known for my quality and even design, but I can tell you that look back at some of the things I built 20 years ago and got paid for were not so great...

7/26/14       #10: Entering the entry door Business ...
Kip  Member


A follow-up question I just thought of. What software is available for simple presentation of my bird houses.....Er.....uhhhh.....I mean entry doors? Don't care about fancy renderings just simple line drawings.

7/27/14       #11: Entering the entry door Business ...


7/28/14       #12: Entering the entry door Business ...
David R Sochar Member

My first response to anyone wanting to make money making doors is to chase them off. Like becoming a Marine, the casual need not apply, and still only the most dedicated make it. An inquiry on the internet is considered casual until the poster convinces me otherwise.

Once someone shows the native talent and acquired basic knowledge, I will be the first to help them out by answering questions and giving them an idea of what is involved. Mostly to let them know what they are getting into. Then, if they are still interested, I will continue helping if I can. One reasonable caveat - they don't compete with me in my area.

I am not software savvy, but as I have heard there is precious little for making doors/windows beyond the European style doors. I myself make each door from scratch, so I start with blank sheets and light format for estimating, material ordering, labor tracking and shop building. Multiples are nice since I can have less up front work for more doors.

If you are really serious, let me know, and I'll add some help privately.

7/28/14       #13: Entering the entry door Business ...
Pat Gilbert

Solid Works, Inventor, Autocad 3d with Smartlister would work because you can drag and drop and stretch and export parts or a cut list. But not sure this would be the choice until you are grounded on the subject.

Sketch up is free and might be good enough for a while.

7/28/14       #14: Entering the entry door Business ...
Joe Calhoon

Pat has good advice.
Also, if you have a cabinet program it may have a module to do wainscot paneling.
We used this feature for years to cultist, material takeoff and shop drawings for custom interior and exterior doors in cabinet ware. Not something you would use for a presentation drawing though.

There are domestic and european programs for this. Way more than what you need for occasional doors.

  • Post a Response to this thread
  • Notify me of responses to this thread
  • Subscribe to email updates on this Forum
  • To receive email notification of additions to this forum thread,
    enter your name and email address, and then click the
    "Keep Me Posted" button below.

    Please Note: If you have posted a message or response,
    do not submit this request ... you are already signed up
    to receive notification!

    Your Name:
    E-Mail Address:
    Enter the correct numbers into the field below:

    Date of your Birth:

    Return to top of page

    Buy & Sell Exchanges | Forums | Galleries | Site Map

    FORUM GUIDELINES: Please review the guidelines below before posting at WOODWEB's Interactive Message Boards (return to top)

  • WOODWEB is a professional industrial woodworking site. Hobbyist and homeowner woodworking questions are inappropriate.
  • Messages should be kept reasonably short and on topic, relating to the focus of the forum. Responses should relate to the original question.
  • A valid email return address must be included with each message.
  • Advertising is inappropriate. The only exceptions are the Classified Ads Exchange, Machinery Exchange, Lumber Exchange, and Job Opportunities and Services Exchange. When posting listings in these areas, review the posting instructions carefully.
  • Subject lines may be edited for length and clarity.
  • "Cross posting" is not permitted. Choose the best forum for your question, and post your question at one forum only.
  • Messages requesting private responses will be removed - Forums are designed to provide information and assistance for all of our visitors. Private response requests are appropriate at WOODWEB's Exchanges and Job Opportunities and Services.
  • Messages that accuse businesses or individuals of alleged negative actions or behavior are inappropriate since WOODWEB is unable to verify or substantiate the claims.
  • Posts with the intent of soliciting answers to surveys are not appropriate. Contact WOODWEB for more information on initiating a survey.
  • Excessive forum participation by an individual upsets the balance of a healthy forum atmosphere. Individuals who excessively post responses containing marginal content will be considered repeat forum abusers.
  • Responses that initiate or support inappropriate and off-topic discussion of general politics detract from the professional woodworking focus of WOODWEB, and will be removed.
  • Participants are encouraged to use their real name when posting. Intentionally using another persons name is prohibited, and posts of this nature will be removed at WOODWEB's discretion.
  • Comments, questions, or criticisms regarding Forum policies should be directed to WOODWEB's Systems Administrator
    (return to top).

    Carefully review your message before clicking on the "Send Message" button - you will not be able to revise the message once it has been sent.

    You will be notified of responses to the message(s) you posted via email. Be sure to enter your email address correctly.

    WOODWEB's forums are a highly regarded resource for professional woodworkers. Messages and responses that are crafted in a professional and civil manner strengthen this resource. Messages that do not reflect a professional tone reduce the value of our forums.

    Messages are inappropriate when their content: is deemed libelous in nature or is based on rumor, fails to meet basic standards of decorum, contains blatant advertising or inappropriate emphasis on self promotion (return to top).

    Libel:   Posts which defame an individual or organization, or employ a tone which can be viewed as malicious in nature. Words, pictures, or cartoons which expose a person or organization to public hatred, shame, disgrace, or ridicule, or induce an ill opinion of a person or organization, are libelous.

    Improper Decorum:   Posts which are profane, inciting, disrespectful or uncivil in tone, or maliciously worded. This also includes the venting of unsubstantiated opinions. Such messages do little to illuminate a given topic, and often have the opposite effect. Constructive criticism is acceptable (return to top).

    Advertising:   The purpose of WOODWEB Forums is to provide answers, not an advertising venue. Companies participating in a Forum discussion should provide specific answers to posted questions. WOODWEB suggests that businesses include an appropriately crafted signature in order to identify their company. A well meaning post that seems to be on-topic but contains a product reference may do your business more harm than good in the Forum environment. Forum users may perceive your references to specific products as unsolicited advertising (spam) and consciously avoid your web site or services. A well-crafted signature is an appropriate way to advertise your services that will not offend potential customers. Signatures should be limited to 4-6 lines, and may contain information that identifies the type of business you're in, your URL and email address (return to top).

    Repeated Forum Abuse: Forum participants who repeatedly fail to follow WOODWEB's Forum Guidelines may encounter difficulty when attempting to post messages.

    There are often situations when the original message asks for opinions: "What is the best widget for my type of shop?". To a certain extent, the person posting the message is responsible for including specific questions within the message. An open ended question (like the one above) invites responses that may read as sales pitches. WOODWEB suggests that companies responding to such a question provide detailed and substantive replies rather than responses that read as a one-sided product promotion. It has been WOODWEB's experience that substantive responses are held in higher regard by our readers (return to top).

    The staff of WOODWEB assume no responsibility for the accuracy, content, or outcome of any posting transmitted at WOODWEB's Message Boards. Participants should undertake the use of machinery, materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB's Message Boards after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages it deems inappropriate. (return to top)

  • Forum Posting Help
    Your Name The name you enter in this field will be the name that appears with your post or response (return to form).
    Your Website Personal or business website links must point to the author's website. Inappropriate links will be removed without notice, and at WOODWEB's sole discretion. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages with links it deems inappropriate. (return to form)
    E-Mail Address Your e-mail address will not be publicly viewable. Forum participants will be able to contact you using a contact link (included with your post) that is substituted for your actual address. You must include a valid email address in this field. (return to form)
    Subject Subject may be edited for length and clarity. Subject lines should provide an indication of the content of your post. (return to form)
    Thread Related Link and Image Guidelines Thread Related Links posted at WOODWEB's Forums and Exchanges should point to locations that provide supporting information for the topic being discussed in the current message thread. The purpose of WOODWEB Forums is to provide answers, not to serve as an advertising venue. A Thread Related Link that directs visitors to an area with inappropriate content will be removed. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages with links or images it deems inappropriate. (return to form)
    Thread Related File Uploads Thread Related Files posted at WOODWEB's Forums and Exchanges should provide supporting information for the topic being discussed in the current message thread. Video Files: acceptable video formats are: .MOV .AVI .WMV .MPEG .MPG .MP4 (Image Upload Tips)   If you encounter any difficulty when uploading video files, E-mail WOODWEB for assistance. The purpose of WOODWEB Forums is to provide answers, not to serve as an advertising venue. A Thread Related File that contains inappropriate content will be removed, and uploaded files that are not directly related to the message thread will be removed. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages with links, files, or images it deems inappropriate. (return to form)