External Door Bedroom One

Table of Content

Old door and jambs

The old original single in-swing door will be removed as will the old jambs, jamb extensions and stops. It will be replaced by a pair of narrow french doors that swing outwards such that, when open, they are positioned within the thickness of the stone wall.

1. Original single in-swing door

2. New out-swing french doors

New jambs and sill

The new jambs each consist of three pieces: the jamb, extension and stop, all glued together as a single profile as shown in image 3. The same basic design as has been done for the new hall door from the sitting room will be used with some changes to critical dimensions to fit the location, mainly the depth of the extension piece needs to be 55mm rather than the 50mm on the sitting room door jambs. The design also allows for an insect screen to be fitted on the inside. This could be screen doors or a retractable style screen.

The two pieces that make up the stop and the extension will be pine and milled from the demolished ceiling lining joists from this room. The jambs proper will be merbau, milled from 90x19mm merbau decking strip because it is more suited to exterior exposure.

The sill will be cut and shaped from an original tallowood floorboard removed from the room.

3. Jamb arrangement for outswing door

4. Gluing new jamb components

5. Close-up of rebated joints

There are two separate jambs (left and right) mirrored and clamped together here. The only glue surfaces are the rebated ones.

The merbau hardwood side jambs have been profiled to allow for the hinge pin cylinder after the hinge leaf has been recessed. The jamb is glued into a 3mm deep 19mm wide dado in the pine stop piece and additional screws will attach the combined piece to the original frame (Australian red cedar - Toona Ciliata).

Three hinges per door will be used, for six hinges in total. The completed doors with double glazing will be quite heavy.

I need to clean up the 142 year old original frames where they'll be visible (left half of image 7).

6. Merbau jamb

7. Jamb with recessed hinge


The original frame is in very good condition, plumb, straight and square enough not to require alteration. The new jambs will require only minor packing in a few places and the gap sealed.

The limestone sill is very foot-worn, mostly toward the outer edge, which is a feature I want to retain. The additional new timber door sill will only need a little packing to fit the shape, perhaps just some leveling sealant.

Design and build


8. Design front elevation

9. Design top elevation

A simple lockrail style pair of doors each with an upper and lower clear glass pane. The lock stiles will have a standard 13mm rebate where they overlap and all joints will be loose tenons. They will be custom built to maximize the clear opening.

The doors will each have two lights consisting of double glazed clear panes to maximize natural light entering the room and visibility into the verandah garden.


To help avoid mistakes I drew up a cutting/milling plan that starts with the one off-the-shelf 90x90x3600mm merbau post and produces all the stiles and rails for one of the pair of identical doors. Both doors in the pair are dimensionally identical in all respects including the lock stile rebate, fitting together when one is turned 180 degrees.

I bought four posts when they were on sale because I could get the stock I needed at 60% of the cost of the off-the-rack 90x42mm stock that I used in the hall doors. All I needed was a decent ripping blade, which turned out to be a $30 Makita 265mm diameter 20 tooth BlueMak blade.

I picked out the straightest lengths in the pile and was lucky to get four straight posts, enough for two pairs of doors. Even after an additional two months stacked in the workshop one of the first two posts was still a little damp in the very centre when ripped down the middle.

One side of this post immediately bowed slightly as it was ripped, while the other half stayed straight. The second post was fine. I'll see how the bowed piece changes over the next week or so as it dries out in the stack but it will affect the stile that comes from it, so I'm hoping to straighten it during and after glue-up and then will most likely use it as a hinge stile so that the three hinges on it will further straighten it if necessary and keep it that way.

10. Two 90x90x3000mm posts milled to step 6 of the cutting plan

11. One down - this will be planed then cross-cut into three rails

12. One to go - rails - loose tenons and motices

The glued-up double height piece (image 11) will be planed to final thickness before it is cross-cut into three identical lengths to make the top, bottom and lock rails of one door. All loose tenons were milled from discarded lengths of the original tallowood floorboards so, although unseen, some of the history of the building will be a part of these new doors.

There were a couple of mishaps in the morticing (image 12) but nothing that is a problem for the final build. One time I routed to the wrong mark and two times I failed to withdraw the piece cleanly.

13. Setting up to cut the rails

13. Set to 266mm

15. Six identical 266mm long rails

I made a test cut prior to committing to cut the rails on the chop saw and discovered that my tape measure read 267mm while my two rulers both read 266mm.

16. Morticed stiles and rails with the tallowood loose tenons ready for glue-up

The lock stile rebates have been completed, which completes the cutting plan. The mortices were all done prior to the rebating and, once again, I managed to run the router to the wrong mark on one of the stile mortices. But, again, it won't affect the build. The cause is fairly simple: focusing intently on safety and keeping the piece stable.


I considered doing the mortice lock recess in the lock stile before gluing up and then decided against it because the recess intersects two of the loose tenons and it will be better to cut these as integral parts of the stile.

I decided to glue-up one door at a time to enable me to use all my strongest clamps on each. I'm using cross-linking exterior grade weather resistant PVA glue with the tight-fitting loose tenons and butt joints.

The lock rail was clamped using my largest clamp to fully seat the tenons and close the gaps before the two lighter clamps were applied to hold it together, then the larger clamp was moved to the bottom rail.

The three supports between the floor and the door were double checked to be flat using a 3m aluminium straight edge.

Each door was allowed to cure for about 20 hours in the room before removing the clamps and sanding the joints flush and smooth using 80, 120 and 240 grit disks on the orbital hand sander.

17. First door glue-up

18. Both doors sanded

The distance between the stiles on the first door immediately after glue-up and clamping was exactly 266mm. The next day after curing it was 267mm, so I'll have to wait to see if it comes back after a few days. It's possible that the glue has caused the timber to temporarily swell a little. If so, that would be good reason to use an epoxy glue, besides being waterproof. However, the tenons would want to be less tight fitting than they were here.

Across both doors the overall increase in width is between 2mm and 3mm and if the doors don't shrink back again, 0.5mm will need to be shaved off each stile to fit the opening.

Hinge recesses

Hinge recesses were made in the jambs starting at the top hinge using the template. The middle hinge was positioned centred on the lock rail and bottom hinge again used the template. The top recess on each door was made and a story stick was then used to transfer the positions of the other two hinges to the door referenced from the top recess.

The recesses were then hand chiseled.

19. Referencing to the bottom of the top recess

20. Using a story stick to precisely transfer the hinge locations to a door

21. Template aligned to story stick mark

Hanging and adjusting the doors

After glue-up the doors were too wide by between 1mm and 2mm so each door was trimmed to exactly 442mm overall width as per the design prior to the hinge recesses being cut.

Both doors were temporarily hung but did not close together. An adjustment of about 2mm was needed so one millimetre was shaved off the secondary door lock stile and the rebate and the hinges were swaged further, down to about 0.5mm between the leaves when closed. Now the doors close with a slight gap of less than 1mm.

After that the doors fit perfectly, flat, aligned and square.

Now they're ready to be finished, glazed and the hardware installed.

22. Checking the fit

23. Checking the fit

Lock morticing

A rebate lock mortice is a little more complicated than a non-rebate mortice but the manufacturers instructions, template diagram and YouTube video tutorial were all accurate. I just needed to determine overall where to locate the mortice so that the visible components looked good on the finished door, that was, visually centred on the lock rail.

The only problem I had was not using a large enough drill to pre-drill for the brass screws, resulting in a screw head shearing off when test fitting the lock. To extract the threaded portion of the fully driven screw I had to use my small drill bit to carefully excavate around the remnant to loosen and grip it, then clean out the excavation site with a large size drill bit before filling it with epoxy and redrilling (image 24).

24. Lock morticing

Finish coat, hardware and fitting the double glazed panes

I'm experimenting with finishing the timber with just boiled linseed oil. I love the look and feel, but will it last? It should, being well protected from sun and elements under the verandah.

I chose a longer panic bolt for the top of the door. The panic bolts were centred on the stile and the guides located vertically so that the bolts would travel fully between the stops such that the bolt would clear any framing and still fully conceal the leaf-springs, guide flanges and screws when in the unbolted position and slide fully into the frame while minimising the distance between guide and frame mortice when bolted. This is not difficult but some instructions would have helped at least remind first time installers of these little practical and aesthetic details.

I ordered double glazed units for both this and the slightly narrower classroom exterior doors - a total of eight units in four different sizes. All are: dimensions to suit the openings with 1mm clearance all around, 5mm clear float glass both sides, 12mm spacer, argon gas filled. As it turned out, all panes were below the minimum price/area threshold and so all were the same price individually. Seven units arrived, and as luck would not permit, the missing unit is one that I need to finish this first of the two pairs of doors, so I had to fit a temporary panel (image 26). The missing pane has arrived and has been installed (image 27).

9 x 7 mm rectangular section beads were cut (from the scrap left after cutting the rebates) then glued using exterior grade PVA and brad nailed in place (15mm brads) in the exterior side to hold the glass units in place. After going around with a round-over bit, applying the oil finish and leaving to dry, a bead of silicon sealer was applied and the glass was fitted.

The next day, 7 x 7 mm rectangular section beads were cut and brad nailed in place on the inside face. No glue was used so that these beads can be easily removed and reused if the glass ever needs replacing.

25. Secondary door glazed

26. Primary door half glazed

27. Parlour french doors

28. Doors in open position

Value of these bespoke built, finished and installed doors and jambs

Doors (solid hardwood with loose tenon joinery)

Timber: two by 90 x 90 x 3000 mm solid merbau posts: $300
Hardware: About $300
Double glazing: quoted $800 from local glazier, supply only


Timber: 19 x 90 x 5400 mm merbau at $7 per m: $38
Timber: 50 x 90 x 5400 mm solid pine : about $7 per m: $38


glue, sealant, nails, screws, finish: about $30

Total materials


Labour, tools and facilities

Quite a number of hours goes into designing, making and fitting doors, including ordering and supply of materials, setting up and maintaining tooling and facilities. So I'm going to estimate this as 200% of the cost of materials.

Total value

$1506 x 3 = $4518

Still to do:

  • Mortar filling and finishing around frame.

  • Final packing and filling gaps around the jambs, inside and out.

  • Door stops, to prevent contact between door hardware and limestone quoins.

  • Finish coats and painting of the jambs.

  • Inside architraves.

  • Seals.