Custom mesquite veneer doors for the new Mesa Community College Art Gallery, each door of the double doors are close to 4' wide by 8' high. The random veneer concept is by DWL Architects.
The custom core for the oversize doors consists of a center panel of 3 layers of 1/2" MDF glued together with epoxy in a vacuum bag veneer press. A mortise and tenoned vertical grain fir frame surrounds the MDF panel which adds structural stability and plenty of support for hinges, door pulls, door closers, and exit devices.The core is edge banded in solid mesquite and the veneer panels are also applied with epoxy in the veneer press.
The 200 individual veneer panels are 3/16" thick. Black epoxy is poured into the cracks and sanded smooth before final glue-up.
The veneer sheets for the 4 sides are held together with masking tape and epoxy.
The mortise and tendoned frame and MDF core before assembly
The assembled edge banded core ready for mesquite veneer
The finished doors ready for delivery
A customer in the San Diego area decided to update the existing entry of their house, they picked a design from my portfolio and I modified it to fit the new opening.
The plan was to remove all the windows along with the surrounding framework to make one large opening for my door with sidelites. Below is the before photo. The house looks great but the existing entry is dated.
We decided on mahogany because I had one 26" wide plank of authentic Honduras mahogany I saved for over 20 years. The plank was just wide and long enough to get the two panels I needed for the doors.
The jamb unit is assembled in my shop then taken apart for shipping. The two sidelites, arched top header and jamb top interlock using mortise and tenon joinery.
Each door is dry fit together before glue-up. I pre-finish the panel and seal the top and bottom end grain with epoxy to minimize movement due to moisture.
The finished jamb is re-assembled on site
The completed entry transforms the entry into a dramatic and welcoming entrance. The Honduras mahogany color is natural without any stain.
Finishing up a run of 12 arched top Craftsman style gates. The top and bottom of the redwood gates are sealed with West epoxy before painting to waterproof the end grain and eliminate any future water damage.
The two walnut doors are going to Texas, here they are waiting for their ride.
A glued up door upright for the first time and ready for final finishing.
Gluing up large doors can be tricky and sometimes it doesn't happen all at once. I glued up the bottom section first and the complicated top section the next day.
The raised panels are always pre-finished before assemble, that way all the edges are sealed too.
How fast a year goes by. I have a amazing pair of doors on my bench right now. The arched top walnut double doors are almost 10' tall and 3" thick.
The doors start out as 400 board feet of 8/4 rough walnut, which gets sorted into panels, rails and stiles.
The milled walnut is stacked ready to be glued into 3" thick boards for the door frame and panels.
The doors are trial fit together many times, here they are before the panels are made. The "ears" on the top will be cut off to continue the arch.
Exploded views are fun, all the hidden joinery is exposed.
Below is a trial fit with the raised panels, at this point the doors are too heavy for 1 person to handle and safely stand up so everything happens horizontally.
The Circle X carving is split in the middle, below is a hint of what the center of the double doors will look like.
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