I'd like to create a modern interior door. No rails/stiles. Just horizontal stacked panels stained. I plan to use maple or birch.

I don't want to use a paper-thin hardwood veneer plywood. I've read that gluing thicker wood to ply will lead to failure. So, how do engineered hardwood manufacturers manage to glue veneer 5/32" thick to ply core?

How were slab doors done in the olden days done? Solid wood? If so, how did they avoid wood movement issues?

What's more likely to prevent warping: solid wood frame with mortise/tenon or say baltic ply core?

  • 1
    "I've read that gluing thicker wood to ply will lead to failure" what you've read overstates the problem, although it does highlight a genuine potential issue. It might lead to failure, but not always and not if you do it very well. Two of the main things that will help ensure a better result are counter-veneering (regardless of whether you want to add a layer on the other side) and not using veneers that are too thick.
    – Graphus
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 19:47
  • What is "counter-veneering"?
    – Vlad
    Commented Jun 4, 2018 at 1:40
  • 2
    How were slab doors done in the olden days? Essentially, "they weren't". Either you had rails/stiles, or plank doors with brace and ledger. Commented Jun 4, 2018 at 13:34
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    Is a door like this feasible in solid wood? alhabibpaneldoors.com/images/items-item/… For example, could I alternate fixed and floating panels as in traditional panels doors? But how to make all the panels flush for a slab look with a smaller groove around each panel (rather than the wide bevels in traditional panel doors)? And how to ensure the groove remains symmetrical after the panels expand and contract? Is ply the only way to do this look? Thanks!
    – Vlad
    Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 1:44
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    @keshlam, this was in relation to adding veneer to something that is already, in effect, counter-veneered (hence the odd number of layers). If you were using a plywood core adding veneer to just one face might unbalance it — or it might not, depending on glue used (any water content), veneer thickness etc.
    – Graphus
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 4:02

2 Answers 2


Panel and frame doors appeared to address wood movement problems specifically, as well as planked doors. I don't think there's going to be a problem if you'd glue 1/8" thick veneer to mdf\plywood substrate, since it's an interior door and there's enough of holding power in modern glues to withstand movements of thick veneers (if there are any). 1/8" is sufficient for sanding\planing\scraping but not thick enough to cause shrinkage cracks.


I have seen 5/16 face nailed (brads) hardwood planking in old (100+ years) in Vancouver. The usual floor construction was 1x8 shiplap, run diagonally across the joists, then the hardwood (or sometimes edge grain doug fir) nailed to cross the joists at right angles.

Anyway: If you can get a supply of thinner cut hardwood, then I would consider making a door by gluing and screw two plywood panels 3/4" thick together, then surfacing each side with 1/4" thick hardwood strips. This would give you a 2" thick door, which I think is still a standard thickness that will work with conventional hardware. By having the same material on both faces, the stresses should balance -- assuming similar temperature and humidity on both sides.

I leave the problem of hiding the plywood edges as an exercise for the student.

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