I have a wood storm door that I'm refinishing. I managed to disassemble all the mortise and tenon joints, and I'm sanding the faces of each piece. The door consists of a small raised panel at the bottom of the door, and a large glass insert with mullions (grilles). The frame consists of two long members connected to a top and bottom piece with mortise and tenon joints. There is a small raised panel that takes up the space between the bottom of the window(s) and the bottom of the door. The tenons are old and the mortises don't look like they are very clean, especially since I've pulled them apart. They are in good shape, though. I've started sanding all the tenons, but I don't want to remove too much materials for fear of making the joint sloppy. I also don't want to open up the mortise too much by cleaning it out.
Scroll down to Traditional #11 with 12-lite grilles.
What's the best way to clean and prep these joints before I re-glue the assembly back together? I plan to use a water resistant yellow glue, finish with a light stain and several coats of polyurethane, and brass hardware.
If you have sanded the joints you have removed wood that is needed to make the joint tight. At this pint you will need to use one of two types of glue. Gorilla glue is one and epoxy is the other. They will both help fill in the spaces you may have sanded away. If you haven't sanded the joints, just clean them as well as possible with Lacquer thinner and dry fit. If they are nice and snug go ahead with your Titebond 2 and clamp it up.
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Gorilla or any good polyurethane based glue will expand any gaps. If it is loose, I would wet the tenons and leave the mortise dry... apply the glue in the mortise, insert tenon and clamp. The wetting allows the wood to expand slightly but more importantly activates polyurethane based glues. Then watch it for a while because the glue will bubble out and make a mess of the wood so have a damp cotton cloth to wipe that off before it dries. Some resanding nearbye may be necessary. Just what I would do from experience.