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Stiles construction interior shaker doors7/20/19
We are making 20 interior Shaker doors for a customer in Red Grandis and plan to make Stave Core Stiles also in Red Grandis. Size 84" x 36" x 1 3/4"
Rather than using finger joints in the make up of the core [which seems to be the most common method] we plan to use 4 or 5 solid lengths of Red Grandis. My question - is this a bad idea? Would it make any difference in terms of stability not having finger joints in the core?
Probably not. What is the core species? Within the core, are you just butting for length?
If your sticks that make up the core are narrow enough, you can safely butt them. I would not allow any more than 25% of the width be butted sticks. Be sure to make them clean butts, with glue. They can telegraph their presence if the faces are thin. The photo seems to have them at 1/4” or so. Plenty thick enough to avoid telegraphing.
David the core species is also Red Grandis in 84" lengths there will be no joins in the lengths at all [no butt or finger joints] The reason we are thinking of doing the stiles this way instead of just solid wood stiles is for stability. Solid wood stiles have a much higher chance of warping as I understand it. The sticks which make up the core will be 84" lengths, each length approx 1/2" thick. Glued together along the lengths with Titebond 3.
I have bought hundreds of door stiles from Wolf Lumber in PA. The two outer pieces are full length (obviously) and the core is butt jointed random length pieces, I see no reason to use TBIII for interior doors,
Ross do you think using one piece lengths in the core is as stable as using short lengths butt jointed together in the core?
Conventional wisdom is that if a shorter piece warped it would be less likely to effect the stile then a full length piece. I think a more truthful reason is you can use up short pieces and therefore have less waste. Also you can also take a full length piece that is bowed and cut it into shorter lengths and still use it. Either way, any core material that is twisted or significantly bowed should not be used.
Thanks Ross yes I tend to agree with you - "I think a more truthful reason is you can use up short pieces and therefore have less waste" We are not set up to do allot of finger jointing efficiently so I'm going to go ahead and use 84" lengths for the cores. I doubt there will be much difference in terms of stability.
I'd like to interject a fact here. What makes wood warp (bow, twist, cup, etc)?
Only one thing. It is not magic. It is not bad karma. It is not length of parts. It is not joinery. It is not glue. It is not the thickness of the skins.
It is - a change in moisture content! That is it folks. Nothing more, nothing less.
To read the posts here on Woodweb, it is like we are all plagued with warping wood several times a day. How a door ever gets shipped, I'll never know! Look out - that one's warping and likely to twist its way out of the racks!
In 45 years as a working professional, I have had 6 doors 'warp' to the point of replacing. Against maybe 3,000 that did not warp. I worry about about 6 or 7 thousand other things before I worry about warp. I tell customers that if our doors make it thru the first year, then they are good for the next 100 years.
Use the best wood you can find. Be sure it is dried properly. Bring into the shop and let it acclimate a few days. Cut to rough length then to rough width. Face and edge it on a jointer, then plane to size. Nothing more, nothing less. You should be able to make a solid wood stile dead flat, or with a slight crown. Crowned doors is a good thing, if you know what I mean.
The stile should not move after S4S. If it does, then it is not dried right, or it could be reaction wood, though you would find that out at rough rip, where the two ends of the board diverge more than 3-4 times the kerf size.
If a stile 'warps' after going into the door, it is - here it comes - due to a change in moisture content. Nothing more, nothing less. If it got that far, you will have to replace it. But I bet lunch you never have the problem in a completed door without having ignored the obvious before then.
Cheers David for spelling it out plain and simple - yes absolutely it's a change in moisture content which causes a door to warp or twist and this fact can get confused and forgotten.
Could I ask, do you make all of your door stiles from one piece of solid wood or do you make some of them with a laminated core?
The reason I'm being super careful in this case is because we are shipping these doors from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere so taking all possible precautions. Have not used Red Grandis for doors before but it's the best wood we can get at the moment and has been known to move from time to time. It's not as stable as genuine mahogany by any means.
We use solid wood for 98% of our doors. We know our vendors and don't by from strangers. Charles Shiels Lumber has been dealing in Hardwoods, Pine and Mahogany for over a century, and know what they are doing. We also buy from Frank Paxton.
We have shipped all over the US, but in small lots. We have never had a problem from any of those jobs.
However, I have never seen seen doors shipped a long distance do well. Several years ago, a local billionaire rejected my proposal for large, expensive doors. The owner opted for doors made in France.
The French doors warped - every one of them. The thought was they picked up moisture in the containers. But no one would listen to me. They just wanted to shake their head and murmur "I don't know why they would warp..."
I have seen warp rates up to 5% with commercial white Pine interior doors shipped across the US - from the Southwest to New England.
Are you saying the reason for the warpage was because of moisture difference in one local to the other. But further than one end of the US to another?
David if we could get decent timber like genuine seasoned Mahogany properly dried I'd also be making the stiles in solid timber. We have used solid genuine Mahogany many times in the past and have never had a problem, not even once. Unfortunately is it's not available here at the moment. Hence all the precautions using Red Grandis which is coming from an unfamiliar supplier.
Agree the doors shipped from France have picked up moisture in the sea container along the way and this is why they warped. When shipping doors around the world we have found the trick is to put them into thick plastic bags or wrap them in plastic to stop moisture getting into them. Also use a sealer on any exposed end grain. It's the moisture stupid as Bill C would say...
Pat - Yes. I am aware of one manufacturer of 6 panel pine interior doors (in the 1980's) was making stiles and rails in Illinois, and the raised panels and assembly was going on in New Mexico. After a month or two in the Southwest, the panels were rattling in the openings, sliding around.
Nothing wrong with using solid vs finger jointed staves. The finger jointed probably adds to the stability but difficult for the smaller shop to produce economically.
One thing we do when making these is to reverse the grain of each piece when gluing up the staves and make sure the skins are the same m.c. Every time I have seen these bow it is because the grain is not reversed. We also carefully face the staves before gluing the skins and also reverse the grain of the skins.
My big concern here would be the Red Grandis. I have experimented with this material and all I can say is it has a mind of its own!
Thanks Joe - yes for sure we are reversing the grain when gluing up the cores cheers for the tip!
Agree with your comment "My big concern here would be the Red Grandis. I have experimented with this material and all I can say is it has a mind of its own!"
I have also seen it do some weird things over time and certainly caution is required when using it.
Regarding the Red Grandies having a mind of its own. Did you have problems with it during construction in the shop or did you have problems with it as a finished product after delivery and installation? We have never used it so far. In western Canada it is a bid hard to get it.
Rufus - I agree - pattern grade Mahogany is a dream to work with. It is wonderful to rip 10' long 18" wide boards into three 6" pieces, and see that none of them move a hair while ripping. As you know, that is where the stress - if any - shows up first.
I generally do not let things sit for 24 hrs or so before final sizing. Mahogany, W. Oak, or whatever, we just work it. If it is going to move, it will do so pretty quick, so that it can be replaced.
Speaking of Mahogany, when I first started, it sold for 2.40 a b/f, and came in at 20' long by 10" to 36" wide! Entire loads, with 4/4 thru to 12/4, all wide and long. This was Brazilian sourced, before they quit exporting to the US.