We have everything from an old solid three-panel door to a super cheap slab from the 70's - and none of them are the same. Since all the doors need to be custom sizes, and on top of that I don't want any hollow-core doors, making them myself is the only option.
So my wife and I decided on the requirements:
- Solid wood
- The same theme for the doors, but have some variation
- Don't break the bank
The best option I could find was to use 2x6 tongue-and-grove kiln-dried pine decking and 5 mm underlayment plywood, both from Home Depot. A 12' decking board costs $9 (I need 2) and plywood cost $14 (I need 1/2 a sheet) - so the doors themselves will cost $25 each.
I started by rough cutting the decking to length:
I ripped the boards, removing both the tongue and grove sides, then I ran them through the jointer to get them straight and smooth. After I cut them to exact length, I cut slots to accept the plywood panels - it took two passes on the table saw with a regular blade. I also slotted the ends of the top and bottom pieces:
Once the slotting was done, I verified the panel sizes I needed, then cut them:
I glued the panels into the slots with Titebond. In some areas of the country this would not be a good idea, due to wood expansion and contraction. On the Oregon coast this is not a problem, since the temperatures don't vary that much and the humidity is always about the same.
I cut plywood splines to join the frame.
The assembly went OK, but it would have been easier if the glue didn't dry so fast. I may investigate something with a longer open-time for the next doors.
I pulled everything tight with pipe clamps:
All the doors will be made the same to this point, then I will put various patterns on them.
They will all have the top panel as shown below. We're going to put chalkboard paint on these so we can do fun artwork. From there, the bottom section will change throughout the house.
Here are some of our ideas:
The two doors for the basement and small bathroom are built, and mortised for hinges. I will do the jambs this week - which should cost about $20 per set.
Three hinges per door cost $10.
The door knobs were really cheap at $1.50 a set, and they are nice ones - brushed nickle. I bought them at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. They had 100's of sets and where trying to move them.
So the total for each door fully installed will be about $75 including trim and paint. To order the doors, since they are custom sizes, would be about $250 to $300 each. I need to build 8 regular doors, 2 sets of bi-fold and a 5' wide slider. In the end it will be around $1000 and some work, but I think it will be worth it.