Plywood Door – Part 2

Continued from Plywood Door – Part 1

I picked up a sheet of multi-ply from home depot for $40. I like the Araucoply more than the “cabinet grade” plywood because it doesn’t have a delicate veneer layer that is prone to chipping during cutting and blistering when exposed to the elements; instead it has full-thickness layers front to back, making a more durable product for my purposes.

I cut the sheet down, according to my Sketchup plans, into strips wider than necessary for the final product.

I stacked and cut the similar sized pieces all at once on my 12-inch sliding miter saw; it was perfect for the task.
Plywood Door

Plywood Door

IMAG0117Plywood Door

Then I laminated the pieces together with waterproof glue and left them overnight.
Plywood Door

Plywood Door

Plywood Door

A quick tip: Buying a gallon of glue is cheaper than buying the small bottles for a project like this that requires a lot of glue. To dispense the glue during the glue-up, I just poured it into a disposable water bottle with a slot in the lid and threw away the bottle when I was done.
Plywood Door

After the glue dried, I cleaned up the squeeze-out with a block plane and ran the new 2-1/4″ thick plywood timbers through the table saw once on each side. cutting them down to final dimensions.
Plywood Door

This is an important step. I could have theoretically eliminated the need for this by cutting the plywood strips to the final dimensions in the first place, but it is nearly impossible to prevent a little slipping between the pieces during glue up, and after the glue dried I would have to even out the edges and ended up with a board that was narrower than intended.

Next I cut the ends at 45-degree angles and ran them over my router table to cut a 1-inch deep slot 3/8 of an inch wide down the length of each piece to accept the glass pane.
Plywood Door

This was my second time using the spiral cutter on my router table for a major project, and I must say I love it. I always got a significant amount of chatter on all but the shallowest cuts with a standard straight bit on all but the shallowest cuts, but the spiral cutter handled full-depth (1-inch) cuts smoothly and without complaint.

Quick dry-fit to make sure I hadn’t done anything stupid… all clear… this time.
IMAG0126Plywood Door

I cut 4 squares and notched one of the corners on each square about 1-inch.
Plywood Door

These notched squares would act as something between a tenon and a biscuit (or possibly a spline) to hold the corners together. The notch was needed to act as a continuation of the slot the glass would set in.

I attached three sides together, leaving one side open to later install the glass (the below picture shows the final side in place, but it is a dry-fit to keep things aligned while the other end dries).
Plywood Door

After the glue dried, I temporarily clamped the fourth edge in place and routed a decorative bevel around the inner edges of the front and back. Since I routed after assembly, I had to define the corners in a second step with a cabinet maker’s rasp.
Plywood Door

Plywood Door

You may be thinking: “why didn’t he use the router table to cut the bevel before assembly? Then he wouldn’t have had to clean up the corners…”

This is true, but at the time I would have routed the bevel prior to assembly, the baby was sleeping, so I decided to take advantage of the time doing the quieter assembly activities, rather than waiting till the next day to make any further progress.

Once the bevels were cut, I applied a small amount of silicone caulking to the inside of the slots in the frame and slid the glass into place.

The glass didn’t seat as deep in the slot as I hoped and so I had to dredge the slot in the final piece by another 1/8-inch on the router table to get everything in position to glue the frame segment in place and complete the major assembly.
Plywood Door

Coming Soon: Hinge Mortises, Paint, and Lynching!


4 thoughts on “Plywood Door – Part 2

  1. Pingback: Plywood Door – Part 3 | GarageSandals

  2. Where did you, if you do not mind me asking, manage to find such a large piece of tempered glass? I am assuming local perhaps….Just wondering if you ordered it and had it shipped? Thanks, Chris

    • Hi Chris,
      I actually found this piece on craigslist from someone that had closed down a restaurant. I did purchase some new pieces almost as large from a local glass supplier (i forget the name, but they’re all the same), and picked them up with my pickup truck when they were ready. Prices are largely determined by the thickness and square inches, and while the price wasn’t outrageous for the new pieces, I certainly got a better price from craigslist.


      • Oh ok. Of course I initially thought Craigslist. It was perfect timing for you then obviously. Heck, every time I need something no deals exist on Craigslist. lol!

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