Step 1: Glue the door together

Gluing
Photo: Kolin Smith
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Check the door's fit by dry-assembling the parts without glue. If a tenon doesn't fit its mortise, pare it down with a chisel.

With the door assembled, lay out the center stile so it butts the center of the middle and bottom rails. Make two marks on either end of the stile that overlap onto the rails. Using those marks for reference, drill two centered, ¼-inch-diameter by -inch-deep holes into both ends of the stile. Then drill corresponding holes in the two rails, making sure those holes are also centered.

Take the door apart, then glue ¼-inch-diameter by 11/2-inch-long hardwood dowels into the holes in the stile and fit it together with the middle and bottom rails.

Apply glue to the tenons on all the rails, then reassemble the entire frame.
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    Tools List

    • bar clamps
      Pipe or bar clamps,
      for assembling door; you’ll need six, each longer than door is wide
    • roller spline
      Spline roller,
      to install rubber spline that holds screen taut
    • utility knife
      Utility knife,
      for trimming excess screen
    • drill
      Drill/driver
    • Drill bit
      1/4-inch-diameter drill bit,
      for boring dowel holes
    • spade bit
      9/16-inch spade bit,
      for drilling latchset spindle hole
    • Phillips screwdriver
      Phillips-head screwdriver
    • chisel
      Sharp chisel,
      to trim tenons, if necessary, to fit into mortises
    • hand plane
      Hand plane,
      to trim door to fit opening
    • hammer
      Hammer

    Shopping List

    1. SCREEN DOOR KIT

    comes in standard widths - 32, 34, and 36 inches - but custom sizes are also available



    2. HINGES

    three spring-loaded, surface-mounted types



    3. LATCHSET

    surface-mounted type made for screen doors



    4. WOOD SHIMS

    to hold door in the opening while installing hardware



    5. EXTERIOR-GRADE WOOD GLUE

    6. FIBERGLASS INSECT SCREEN

    piece 36 inches by 7 feet is enough for most doors



    7. RUBBER SPLINE

    8. SANDPAPER

    120-grit to sand dowels flush; finer grits to prepare door for finishing



    9. 3/4-INCH-LONG BRADS

    for attaching the frame molding



    10. EXTERIOR-GRADE PAINT, STAIN, AND/OR VARNISH

    polyurethane or marine spar varnish