Architectural Woodworking

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

Stiles construction interior shaker doors

Arfur Member

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?

View higher quality, full size image (666 X 500)

7/20/19       #3: Stiles construction interior shaker ...
David R Sochar Member

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.

7/20/19       #4: Stiles construction interior shaker ...
Arfur Member

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.

7/20/19       #5: Stiles construction interior shaker ...

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,

7/20/19       #6: Stiles construction interior shaker ...
Arfur Member

Ross do you think using one piece lengths in the core is as stable as using short lengths butt jointed together in the core?

7/21/19       #8: Stiles construction interior shaker ...

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.

7/21/19       #9: Stiles construction interior shaker ...
Arfur Member


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.

7/22/19       #10: Stiles construction interior shaker ...
David R Sochar Member

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.

7/23/19       #11: Stiles construction interior shaker ...
Arfur Member


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.

7/23/19       #12: Stiles construction interior shaker ...
David R Sochar Member

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.

7/23/19       #13: Stiles construction interior shaker ...
Pat Gilbert


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?

7/23/19       #14: Stiles construction interior shaker ...
Arfur Member


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...

7/24/19       #15: Stiles construction interior shaker ...
David R Sochar Member

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.

7/27/19       #16: Stiles construction interior shaker ...
Joe Calhoon  Member

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.
I tried outsourcing these a few times and never happy with the quality. Wolf Lumber does have a good reputation but too far for us to use. I prefer solid stiles also but not always possible depending on species and door thickness.

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!

8/1/19       #17: Stiles construction interior shaker ...
Arfur Member

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.

8/1/19       #18: Stiles construction interior shaker ...

Hi Arthur/Joe,

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.
We are always looking for alternatives and like to hear what happens after things are on the marked for a wile. We deliver out to the Canadian prairies where we have cold winters on the exterior and heated interiors combined with dry air and long hours of exposure to the sun in the summer. So wood movement after installation is one of the biggest concerns for failure of the finish and resulting in problems.

Thank you,

8/15/19       #19: Stiles construction interior shaker ...
Rufus Cooke  Member


I agree wholeheartedly with what yu said about solid stiles. My shop used to specialize in doors and I followed the same logic as you. There is one thing I'd like to interject. I used to dress all parts to within an 1/8", sticker them carefully for overnight movement and do the final jointing/surfacing the next day. I never had a callback (although perhaps the pattern grade mahogany had something to do with it as well). Cheers, R

8/16/19       #20: Stiles construction interior shaker ...
David R Sochar Member

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.

  • Post a Response to this thread
  • notify me of responses to this topic
  • 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)
    Today's Sponsors