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rabn 11-01-2012 04:14 PM

Crack in exterior door (failed joint)
One of the mortise & tenon joints has failed in the bottom of an exterior oak panelled door leaving a 2mm crack between the rail and stile. With the recent rain the door has moved some more causing the door to jam. Not sure I'll be able to close the crack, so reckon I can get away with sash clamping the bottom door rail, putting some screws through the joint to prevent it moving further, then filling the crack? Thanks.

joecaption 11-01-2012 04:29 PM

Was the door sticking before it opened up?
One way I have fix this is to apply Tite Bond II to the joint clamped it back together, and predrilled and counter bored hole in the side of the door so I could use 6" long decking screws to draw and hold it all together, Then used oak tapered plugs to cover the screws.

There really made to hold the rim joist together on outside corners when building a deck.

user1007 11-01-2012 04:31 PM

What do you mean by failed? The joint has slipped apart or the tenon has broken?

rabn 11-01-2012 04:40 PM

It's slipped

joecaption 11-01-2012 05:06 PM

No clue what you mean by slipped.
Got a picture?

user1007 11-01-2012 05:09 PM

I don't always but agree with Joe on this one. I think you might want to share a picture. I had assumed a different type of failure. It sounds like you do not have a break but a joint that has just come apart? Can you post a photo?

What is the age of the door, by the way?

And finally, can you update your profile with basic geographic information so we know where you are and what kind of humidity changes and expansion and contraction the door goes through? The extremes are almost violent here between summer and winter.

rabn 11-01-2012 05:40 PM

If you look at the pic below, the joint has come apart between joints 9 and 10, the tenon (on 9) slipping out of the mortise (in 10). Hope that's made it a bit clearer?

Because water has got into the crack the wood's swollen so I don't think I'll be able to squeeze it back together. Just trying to prevent it separating further. The door's around 5 years old. Cheers.

joecaption 11-01-2012 05:50 PM

Just need a 36" clamp to pull it together.

user1007 11-01-2012 05:59 PM

I take it you cannot take the door off the hinges and must fix it in place? Is water still getting to it and causing it to swell? Probably have to address that. Is water getting to it near a failing threshold or are you missing flashing at the header on top or a gutter over the whole entry?

Is it just "slipping" the one direction or is their a change say between 6 and 9 as well with the rail falling downward?

If it is just between 9 and 10 and assuming you can dry some of the moisture out of the joint, you should be able glue and pull the joint back together with clamps. Go slow though and you may want a second clamp above the one obviously needed. If you have not resolved the moisture and swelling issue, they may not want to fit together. I hate to see you screwing through a bad fitting joint and shaving the edges of the door so it closes though.

I am almost tempted to have you see if you can pull the joint together without glue. The deal is if it works, you won't be able to pull it apart to put glue in place. You could drill and place a couple of hardwood dowels through the repaired joint though so it does not pull apart again.

Obviously a month of sunny London days (like that will ever happen!) or being able to pull the door off would be great!

rabn 11-01-2012 06:36 PM

Thanks chaps.

Guess I'll first try to clamp it to see if it pulls back together. I like the dowel idea so will give that a bash. Unfortunately, we're mid autumn over here so unlikely to get a long dry spell for at least 6 months :eek:

user1007 11-01-2012 07:08 PM


Originally Posted by rabn (Post 1042642)
Thanks chaps.

Guess I'll first try to clamp it to see if it pulls back together. I like the dowel idea so will give that a bash. Unfortunately, we're mid autumn over here so unlikely to get a long dry spell for at least 6 months :eek:

Love London and have spent a fair amount of time there just for fun mainly and to be honest. I had hideous amounts of bonus miles once from East Coast shuttle wars and would pop over after work on Fridays from NYC and fly back Mondays.

But when you speak of a long dry spell you should remind US readers of your posts that means 3.46 days! And the last time there was a stretch so long in London was in 1643.

Good luck with the door. If you try the clamps and given you have to close it when you are not there? I would see if you can pull the door back together over the course of days, not minutes or hours and all at once. Do a little each day and see how it goes. I fear with an oak door you could do quick harm if you pull it back together all at once, only at the bottom, especially given the conditions of the wood you describe.

Don't be insulted if I sound pedantic, but get good strong clamps and don't forget blocks of wood between clamp ends and door frame?

You know the good news it is an hardwood door and nice oak at that. It will respond to your attention and let you repair it if it can be done. You may hear it scream as you pull it back together. Just watch for possible splitting. I doubt it will happen though.

Keep us posted?

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