Door Making episode 1


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Paul discusses the elements involved in making a twist free door and checks and prepares the stock. We then move onto cutting the groove, using a gauge to help prevent tear-out. With the frame grooved, Paul shows how to layout the frame in preparation for cutting the mortises.


  1. stevewales on 10 February 2016 at 6:38 pm

    Hi Paul,
    I remember someone asking in a comment whether they should use the winding sticks all the way along the piece or just the ends to remove the twist.
    I thought it was worth commenting that you are Not actually removing All the twist (unless by chance the twist was just on a small end section) — You are actually removing the twist from the jointing surfaces Only, to ensure that each end is Co-Planar.
    Would I be correct in assuming that if you moved your winding sticks inward beyond the end surfaces you made twist-free, you would most likely see twist albeit less on the sticks since they are closer together?
    Also if you were adding a central divider to the door (Is this called a Muntin or a Cross-Rail?) would you remove any twist at this joint area on your stock, so that all three Rail joints are Co-Planar?

    • patchedupdemon on 17 June 2016 at 4:48 pm

      im sure in his older stock preparation vids, he goes diagonally from one corner to the other,with the plane the whole length,as you say the whole piece is twisted not just the ends.

      • drewdeaux on 20 June 2016 at 5:58 pm

        If there is a twist along an axis, there will be a portion in the center of the axis where the twist from each end counters itself out. Meaning, in the middle there is no to little twist.

    • david o'sullivan on 6 February 2020 at 9:35 pm

      Hi Steve
      I wonder did you ever get your answer? Very interesting questions
      I would be thinking along the same way as yourself that removing twists from the joint area would be enough!and would presumably a cross bearer would help, however if you get material perfect but have tenons and mortises out of square you reintroduce twist . And what about a talker door for say a wardrobe I would think by hand with soiled wood it would be a good test

  2. Dario Payne on 10 February 2016 at 7:04 pm

    Hi Paul,
    The carcass was built with 3/4 inch stock but the doors are made with 1 inch. What is the reason for having the doors thicker? Is it so that they are more likely to stay twist free in the long term?

    • undergroundhunter on 11 February 2016 at 7:27 am

      Doors take a lot of strain throughout their lives as they only have 2 or 3 (on big doors) mounting points, if the stock was too thin they would sag/twist/warp over time.

  3. garyprott on 11 February 2016 at 3:40 am

    The haunch you referred to, I take is the 1/4″ groove. You also had another name for it. Or are you going to cut a hunch in the mortise hole later? As always thanks for what you guys do. Gary

    • undergroundhunter on 11 February 2016 at 7:30 am

      I think there is some confusion between horn and haunch. The horn is the 1/2″ section that will be cut off when the door is complete, the haunch will be the stepped section on the tenon to fill the 1/4″ groove on the rail.


  4. Ed on 11 February 2016 at 12:10 pm

    Does stock selection matter for making a door that will stay flat? Does it matter if it is flat sawn, quarter sawn, rift sawn, etc.?

    I bought some surfaced cherry (S4S) for doors once, brought it home, and by the time it was acclimated to the shop, it was too twisted and bowed for door making. It was a fair bit of cherry that I painstakingly selected for lack of twist and bow. I’ve always suspected I didn’t pay enough attention to the grain when selecting the stock.

    • ehisey on 11 February 2016 at 8:49 pm

      Sounds like you either got it too damp or too dry. I have had that happen when wood has gone from my non-climate controlled shop to house.

    • Derek Long on 11 February 2016 at 10:27 pm

      Happens to the best of us, Ed. I live in very dry Colorado. Very often my boards have cupped or twisted by the time I get them home from the lumbar yard or big box store, let alone started to season them in the shop. Flat sawn is going to be the most problematic for cupping.

      • Ed on 12 February 2016 at 3:16 am

        Yes, this is why I’m wondering how important wood selection is for doors and whether rift or quarter-sawn should be chosen. Otherwise, it seems you could make a perfect door, but as soon as the humidity changes, it could twist.

        • jmahoney on 12 February 2016 at 3:48 am

          In the doors i’ve made it seems the joinery usually freezes any twist that could result afterwards.

        • wyattsa on 12 February 2016 at 5:58 pm

          One thing to keep in mind on grain selection is how it will appear in the final product. I can’t remember where, but I saw online somewhere that it was recommended to use rift sawn material for legs, corner posts, door frames, etc. because it gave parallel grain lines on the different faces. Otherwise you could have a significant difference from one face to the other. It should be more stable than flat sawn as well.

  5. knightlylad on 11 February 2016 at 10:23 pm

    Thank you for the lesson.

  6. Kevin Bowkett on 12 February 2016 at 9:07 am

    Why is the bottom rail wider than the top rail? Is it just aesthetics or is there some structural reason for a bigger rail at the bottom?

  7. billysutton on 12 February 2016 at 6:14 pm

    bringing out all the veritas tools out this episode ;P?

  8. António on 17 June 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Thank You very much!
    A valuable lesson

  9. scubamario on 18 September 2017 at 6:55 am

    Hi Paul ,
    I am going to make a battened, ledged and framed door to my shop and I’m wondering what is best to do first , the door himself or the frame ?
    Also if my stock is almost 2 inches wider how do I cut tongue and groove that wider if I have only 3/8 inch tongue and groove plane ?
    Regards ,

    • Philip Adams on 19 September 2017 at 10:22 am

      You tend to make the frame first and then make the door to fit. It is hard to answer the rest as it’s quite a lot to go into here and we deal largely with furniture not house joinery.
      Sorry not be more helpful.

  10. dwebman on 21 November 2017 at 5:46 pm

    In the video Paul says his door height is 30 9/16 but isn’t it 36 9/16?

  11. Ed on 28 December 2018 at 3:13 am

    I’m confused about one detail in the layout. Paul wanted an extra 1/8″ for height and an extra 1/8″ in width on each door to leave room for fitting. Based on the cut list and what Paul said, I don’t think he made is door stock and extra 1/16″ wide, so does the panel end up an extra 1/8″ bigger? I think that’s what is happening…the 2 1/2″ and 3 1/2″ rails and stiles each move outwards 1/16″, which gives an extra 1/8″ overall. Is this correct, or did he leave his stock wide when preparing the material (so, 2 9/16″ and 3 9/16″)?

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