Tag Archives: Douglas Fir

A Trapezoidal Screen Door

The Trapezoidal Screen Door

The Trapezoidal Screen Door

Square joints are for squares.

Square joints are for squares.











When Bre and I moved into this house a few years ago it didn’t have a screen door. Because it’s the desert we like to leave our doors and windows open the majority of the time.  So one of my first projects after setting up the new shop was to build this screen door.

I had some salvaged Douglas Fir for the rails and stiles.  It was fairly knotty lumber and had holes from bolts and nails that needed to be filled as well.  I joined and planed them down to be square and to a consistent thickness and then filled all the knots and holes with epoxy.  This makes the wood more stable over time.  I took measurements of the height and width of door jamb.  The width was relatively consistent from bottom to top but there was a difference in height from left to right.  But it wasn’t much more than an inch so I figured once the door was built I would use a block plane to make the final fit in the door jamb.


To join the stiles to the rails I used a tongue and groove joint with round coping and made a little mortising jig for the hinges. After cutting the rails to length I dry fit the pieces, squared them up, chiseled all the joining round overs and then glued it up.  After sanding I hand wiped a diluted polyurethane outdoor varnish on in thin coatings.  It took about six applications to build up an appropriate film. The screen material is the same found in a wrought iron security door.  Home Depot sells sheets for ~$20.

All the hardware is installed and a perfectly rectangular door is ready to be installed in the door jam. The first thing I noticed with the door propped up next to the jam is the concrete was sloped and slanted.  So the back of the bottom stile had to be severely rounded over and the entire bottom had to be trimmed by a couple of degrees.  The top was far worse.  It was slanted by almost five degrees.  I realized that I should have checked the jam for square when taking those original measurements.  The height from left to right was only off by an inch or so but the amount needed to be trimmed from the door was more than you could do with a block plane.  So I measured the two angles and set up the table saw to make the cuts.  Using the miter gauge and an outfeed support positioned off the side of the table the top and bottom stiles are no longer parallel.  Parallel rails and converging stiles: It’s a Trapezoidal Screen Door.


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Filed under Home Improvements, Woodwork