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Using dowels for room doors

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smiffy

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Folks,

I am just about to make my first attempt at making internal doors from scratch, and I am just hoping you can reassure me in the method I am thinking of trying.

The rails and stiles will be made of 40mm x 100mm using a top, bottom and one mid rail made of beech and so they will be very heavy.

I do not have a mortice machine and so I was thinking of using my router to make suitable holes for two 12mm dowels at each joint.

Is this a feasible way of doing it, and if so are there any pitfalls to look out for?

Cheers,
Ray.
 

jasonB

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100mm is a bit narrow for the bottom & mid rail, 150mm would be better gives more choice for locks and handles as well.

Two dowels per joint will be much too weak, you could easily fit six into the area available or two triple rows of biscuits.

A better option would be to use loose ply tennons, route 12mm slots into the styles and ends of the rails say 40mm deep x 80mm wide and fit 80x80 ply into the slots, you could get two slots side by side.

Jason
 

smiffy

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Thanks for the reply Jason.

I have decided to go for 6 dowels at each joint.

Taking your point about the 100mm not being big enough, especially because as you say, it restricts the choice of lock or handle, I am going to laminate another piece at the side for the handle to make it more chunkier. Should also make a nice feature too I would imagine.
It would have been nice to use 150mm but all the stock I have is 100mm.
I am putting solid wood raised panels in them so this should help to make them more stable. I do not think I will get away with using cheap hinges though.

Thanks for directing me in the right direction.

Cheers,
Ray.
 

Steve Maskery

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Smiffy,
Please reconsider your decision. Dowels are a very poor choice, even 6 of them, for something as large and heavy as a room door. I'm sure you will regret it, and sooner rather than later.

The loose tenons option is MUCH better, and you already have the router. You can make a routing jig that will do mortices and end-grain mortices and get a much better result. It's also probably easier, too!

Have a look ot my website for the set of mortising jaws I use in my vice (also coming to a mag near you sometime soon, I hope), it's about the third incarnation I have made, and it works really well.

All the best
Steve
 

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