How To Assemble An Oak Ledged Door
Some of you choose to order your oak ledged doors in kit form and the following guide shows the typical assembly process.
We got a skilled joiner to build up this door and some of his tips and wisdom are passed on here.
An oak ledged door kit would usually take him between 25 and 30 minutes to complete - you may wish to allow a little longer!
Please Note: This door used in this guide is our 4 ledged solid oak door where the holes have been predrilled. For our 3 ledged door the holes will need to be drilled.
( To download a printable pdf version of this guide, click here)
What You Will Need
- Level workbench with 2 or 3 softwood battens to rest the door planks on
- Tape measure
- Nylon hammer/mallet
- Steel hammer
- Screwdriver (quicker and easier with an electric screwdriver)
- Sharp 1 inch chisel
- PVA glue
- Steel cabinet scraper OR 120 grit sand paper and a sanding block
1. Unpack Door Components
Remove the cellophane wrapping from the door kit and check that you have:
- 5 x oak door boards
- 4 x pre-drilled oak ledges
- 48 x crosshead self tapping screws
- 48 x oak plugs
2. Lay Out Door Boards
Lay the oak door boards front face down on the softwood battens on your workbench (the door fronts have a bead moulding).
The standard layout for a ledged door is to have a narrow board in the centre,with a wide board either side and then a narrow board on each door edge.
Have a look at the boards and decide which end of the boards you prefer to have at the top of the door - this is the most visible part of the door, so you always want the best end at the top!
3. Push The Boards Together
Assemble the door boards by pushing the tongues into the grooves on each board.
Do not glue the tongues or grooves.
Ideally, you need to leave an even gap of about 1mm between the boards to allow for expansion - these oak doors have been kiln dried and so the oak will not shrink, but if you introduce the door to a moist environment (like a newly plastered room), the door will expand slightly.
4. Level The Door Board Tops
Using a soft nylon hammer or mallet, even up the door board tops - the tongues should slide up and down the grooves pretty easily.
Occasionally, you may find the door boards to be slightly bent, in which case, it's best to cramp them after you've levelled the tops and before fitting the ledges.
5. Lay Out The Oak Ledges
Lay out the oak ledges on the boards, selecting the best ledge for the top of the door and next best for the next ledge down and so on.
Ensure that you have all the pre-drilled holes in the same order on each ledge.
Place the top edge of the top ledge 4" from the door top.
Place the bottom edge of the bottom ledge 7" from the door bottom.
The middle two ledges should be evenly spaced and parallel.
6. Screw The Ledges Into Place
Starting with the top ledge, fix a screw through a pre-drilled hole at each end of the ledge - this instantly braces the top of the door.
Take care not to damage the edges of the plug hole with the screw or drill if you want a perfect finish once the holes are plugged.
Now do the same with the bottom ledge - you should now have a fairly stable door.
Fix screws through the remaining pre-drilled holes in the rest of ledges - there should be 48 in total.
7. Fit The Oak Plugs
Apply a pea-sized blob of PVA glue to each plug hole.
Take an oak plug and align its grain with the grain in the ledge.
Hammer the oak plug into the plug hole, leaving about 5mm of the plug proud of the ledge surface.
Using a sharp 1" wood chisel on its chiselled edge, remove the bulk of the plug excess.
If the oak plug has a slope cut end, make sure the top of the slope is positioned away from the direction of chiseling i.e. when you come to chisel off the excess you need to go from the low end to the high end of the plug. This ensures that the plug breaks off above the surface of the hole.
Clean the remainder of the plug off using the flat of the chisel.
What if the plug breaks in the hole or below the surface?
In this case, you'll have to get the remainder of the plug out of the hole and put a new plug in.
Use a narrow 1/2" chisel to dig out the old plug, taking care not to damage the hole edges.
8. Finish Off The Ledges
To make sure you have a lovely smooth finish to the ledges, use a steel cabinet scraper or 120 grit sandpaper on a sanding block to remove any tiny splinters or rough areas.
9. Job Done!
You should now have a beautiful oak ledged door ready for staining, oiling or waxing.