The strength comes from the three layers of framing. The middle frame, which is sandwiched between the outer two layers, is made with slightly narrower stiles (vertical members). This creates a recess to trap and hold decorative trim in place without having to carefully create rabbets.
An attractive, easy-to-make sandwich door design uses tongue-and-groove beadboard paneling on the bottom section. This section should be about two-thirds the height of the door. The upper third should be windows if privacy and security are not issues.
Divided lites are most attractive for the windows. A simple rectangular grille can be made from 1-by-2-inch lumber. True divided lites require a small piece of glass to be installed in each of the openings. This is not difficult to do, but it does require extra work to install and trim each opening.
A simpler way to do this is to put one large pane (simulated divided lites) on the indoor surface behind the grille. This can save hours of work, but if a pane ever breaks, the entire window glass must be replaced. Using a sheet of clear acrylic plastic is another option. Compared with glass, it is easier to cut, more durable and weighs less. Apply the finish topcoat of paint or clear sealer before installing the glass or acrylic pane.
Install large decorative cast-metal handles to open the doors. With the thickness of these sandwich doors, there is plenty room for a recessed lockset in the middle layer. Once the two doors are assembled and finished,…