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Cottage back door for the M-I-L

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DigitalM

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My mother-in-law has somehow engineered a situation where I, a mid-level at best but enthusiastic and reasonably well-equipped woodworker and DIYer, have to make her a back door for her cottage. It is politically impossible for me to back out (despite never agreeing) for reasons that I CBA explaining or justifying!

Any sources of good advice are most welcome (recommended books, plans, videos, or general construction info).

Also, what's a good timber to use, this thing doesn't have to be exotic or fancy, but I don't want to spend a fortune on timber only to screw it up and pay through the nose for more if I need a second go!

As for design, it doesn't really matter. It's not inner-city so doesn't need to be crazy-security, but a little window at head height so you can peer out and see if it's raining would be ok.

I'm not really saying much more as so long as I produce a reasonable door of some kind to replace the disaster that's there already, she's good and I'm off the hook! The idea of multiple haunched tennons, drawbore pins and the like terrifies me but honestly if that really is the way to go and the advice is man up and get on with it then OK, but if there's a simpler way ... that's great too.
 

DigitalM

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Why not pick up a door from Wickes and say you made it. Probably cheaper than the materials.
Very weird ancient cottage door sizing, and horribly out of square weird shaped opening! Plus I think she wants something I made. Her opinion of my skill level is, flatteringly, over-inflated!
 

Sgian Dubh

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Ledge and brace is very cottagie, and easier to cut to a strange shape.
A small step up in complexity involving some M&Ts would be the framed ledge and brace type of door. I guess it might be tricky working out how or where to put a bit of glass to see out of. Maybe a spyhole thing instead? Slainte.


 

johnnyb

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what facilities do you have at your disposal? mortiser? saw? planer?
redwood unsorted or fifths would make a decent door. factor in a canopy to make it last/ not swell to much. t and g is easily obtainable in redwood as a fill.
any rot in the frame? macc step or timber?
 

johnnyb

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sgian will know this book as I brought it off him at harrogate( I think).lost art press window and door making. very good and detailed( See my post making a traditional front door)
 

juniper_tree

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Sounds like a great opportunity to buy some nice new tools and bill her for them.

Dear MIL,

I’m very flattered by this and would be happy to do this, but I have never done anything at this size before and so need to buy some tools just for this one job, it might therefore work out cheaper to pay a professional.

she either backs out, or you get a Festool Domino 700 (+other things), either way win:win
 

Superduner

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Here in France, the common way is to use tongue and groove 22mm oak floorboards. Even I, with my somewhat limited skills managed to make a few quite reasonable doors that seem to be holding up well.
So you would need a circular saw and some clamps for gluing up, And your mil's back door would be safe again...... :)
 

grumpycorn

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In my experience Mil's are not prone to flattery (admittedly I've only had the one)... Maybe you're better than you think?!

Take your time and you'll be fine - though Juniper_tree's idea of billing for a Festool does make a lot of sense...
 

accipiter

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Some good examples to look towards with the t&g ledged & braced "cottagestyle" doors but we would probably benefit from more information to be able to help more.

If me, firstly I'd take some photos of what is there already along with measurements. We can then best advise a course of action. If it happens to be "somewhere" in the region of an off the shelf size that can be cut down to fit then all the better... even if the existing is as described.

The *joy* will come when you get round to fitting it - you may find the frame is also somewhat in need of attention... more so than the door and the door will be the least of your problems! That's something I came up against many years ago when I said I could replace a standard size front door for someone... the frame was the cause of much troubles - on a Sunday morning.
 

DigitalM

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So sorry everyone, I must apologise - I wasn't getting email about this thread updating and so thought it had died!

After reading through the comments I visited M-I-L and she's happy to get a replacement Ledge and brace door, so I'm going to try and figure out a way to get some glass in nicely. The one that's there currently is what I would call a "unified L&B stable door" ... erm, it was a ledge and brace stable door with a tiny window at the top, and someone nailed it all together. It's horrible. However, I've waffled it through and we're going with a better ledge and brace, I can probably cope with that.

Truth is, I could probably manage a more robust stile-and-rail thing but that would involve much, much faffing with the frame which is probably beyond what either of us want done.

For those suggesting the Festool opportunity, at great risk of more snickering from those that found "cottage back door for M-I-L" title amusing (to be fair I did, but left it for comedic effect), I cannot countenance milking the M-I-L.

Thanks for the tips on books, I love a good woodworking book :) Have added a few ebay searches.
 
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Fitzroy

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I may have called my ex-MIL a cow once or twice but I would never have attempted to milk her. Look forwards to see the pictures of the door being made.
 

DigitalM

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No mate no milking shots :eek:

I'm thinking something like this.


Though that's apparently an internal door.

Trying to solve the window issue. I did a sketchup because I can't do back of fag-packet stuff like you more professional types who know what you're doing, and it helps me to understand what's going on before I do something stupid (which, given half a chance, I will).

I'm thinking (see pics) of dropping double glazed unit in front and then mitre framing it in to hold it. Security is not much of an issue in the area I'm assured, and door will be hard to access because of enclosed garden.

Someone very kindly already pointed out that you don't glue the battens, so I've been reading all round the subject!

And before anyone says, the M-I-L really didn't want clinched nails, so unless there's something terrible with woodscrewed and plugged (other than it being non-traditional) then it would probably have to be that.

Quite enjoying the challenge of getting my head around this and I'm learning a lot. Thanks so much for the generous donation of time and experience. I really appreciate it. I have limited time available at moment so I'm not fast! I know some of you would have finished it the afternoon it was requested!
 

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mikej460

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Despite no concerns about security it's always best practice to mitre in from the inside. That window is also security risk as it is very wide, I'd recommend the smaller one shown in the advert. Your sketch-up is missing the diagonal braces which add strength. Some door makers advocate cutting slotted screw holes for the ledge and braces to allow for seasonal movement. Likewise the boards need to have sufficiently deep T&G to allow for movement without gaps appearing. Also think about where the hinges and locks will be needed. The hinges are normally quality Tee Hinges screwed into the inner faces of the top and bottom ledges. The lock can be fitted to a separate square or mini ledge. Also don't forget a weather bar to keep rain away from under the door. Marrying all this up to an existing frame may be a challenge, you may need to consider a new one and exterior ones are tricky to make properly.

hope this is useful
 

Ollie78

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I would certainly put some braces in.
Might as well go all the way and do ledged braced and framed then you can fit a proper mortice lock as well.

Ollie
 

DigitalM

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Not enough depth in the original frame to do framed ledge and brace. They want a newer, better version of what's there already and don't want any faffing with the frame as it's a complicated old cottage with many things meeting at that point. Ideally, they'd have some master craftsman totally redo it but *budget* so it's little old me doing what I can to patch it up!
 

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