Stable Construction for a Slat Door

For an unusual door design, woodworkers suggest methods that won't risk excessive movement of the pieces. August 5, 2006

A client wants me to build a door she has designed. It is 42" x 95" with 13 approximately 7" x 42" x 1 3/4" horizontal slats(?), v-grooved. I know I can't just glue up such a wide door. How can I build her what she wants? Also, she wants the door wire-brushed to give it a distressed look, which I think means I don't have the option of veneer, which also is not available here where I work in Mexico. My plan is to use solid 8/4 alder. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor J:
One method could be to use a core of something stable like MDF or similar, and then use thinner solid slats, maybe 1/8" or less - just thick enough to allow you to do your v-groove and wire brushing.

I think using all solid wood in the method you describe will almost certainly be problematic. But your climate may help. Up here in the Northeast, the seasonal movement would be pretty bad. I don't know how much your temps and humidity change through the seasons, but if they stay the same year round, you might be able to pull it off.

From contributor M:
3/4 plywood core with 1/2" or 3/4" tongue and groove applied to each side. 1/2" t&g will make 1 3/4" door and 3/4" t&g will make 2 1/4" door. Then edge band with square or beaded stock approximately 1/2" thick. Glue the t&g to the plywood, being very generous with the glue.

From contributor G:
Where are you located in Mexico? If you have a climate as we do here in Los Cabos, with humidity swings from 40% in the winter months to over 85% during chubasco season, you are going to have all kinds of problems gluing t/g to plywood. How about a stile, rail configuration with your slats floating inside, kind of like a horizontal raised panel? I would also suggest something other than alder. Bugs love that wood. I would look at Spanish cedar.