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Old 03-23-2012, 10:27 PM   #1
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Cutting down a 36" Wood door.


Hey all.

I have a weird house with 35" exterior doors. The existing wood door looks like it started it's life as a 36" wide door that someone quickly took a skillsaw to and cut an inch off the hinge side of the door to make it fit. I have previously thought about refinishing this door but after I noticed that one stile is an inch narrower than the other it drives me crazy. Also one of the glass squares on the top was broken out by my wife's drunk ex-husband before I came along. To fix that piece I would have to break out the other three squares of glass and router out the wood to make it look right since he damaged the wood trim around the glass as well.

I found a 36" wood door on the side of the road in good shape with good glass so I basically have a blank slate to do a door correctly.

The first hurdle is getting the width right. I need to take one half inch of each side of the door. This will in turn make the door fit but also remove the mortised out hinge locations and square up the latching side that as been rounded off from years of beating (sticker on the glass says 1958 machinist union). How should I go about doing this? I have a smaller Ryobi table saw that can only rip to 30 inch wide. I also have a router but I have very little experience with using it. I suppose to use that I would need to invest in a router table so I can set the back stop to cut a half inch as I make the pass?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I will try to get pictures up when I start on this project. Thanks!

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Old 03-23-2012, 10:32 PM   #2
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Cutting down a 36" Wood door.


Do you want it to look good, or a lot of work and have it look half a**?

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Old 03-23-2012, 10:34 PM   #3
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Cutting down a 36" Wood door.


Is there a third option of doing a lot of work and having it look good?
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Old 03-23-2012, 10:49 PM   #4
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Cutting down a 36" Wood door.


Replace the whole unit with a prehung Fiber glass door.
No more painting, expanding and contracting, no air leaks.
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Old 03-23-2012, 11:07 PM   #5
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Cutting down a 36" Wood door.


Sounds simple until I mention that I have a prefabricated house from the 1950s that use curtain walls on even the xterior walls. The walls are 2 inches thick making prehung doors out of the questions. Also due to the type of construction which entails 1/2" plywood on interior and exterior sides, glued and stapled onto 2x3 studs all pressed together I cannot simply open up the walls to move studs around. I would have to completely rebuild the entry closet in order to get to the "seam" where the 4 foot wide prefabricated panels meet. The most cost efficient method I can come up with is to fit a door to the opening with new threshold and locks and purchase a high end full glass storm door to both show case the new door but also add the insulation factor to help keep most importantly the west setting sun's heat out of the house.

At some point after the house was built some has come in and frame off the outside of the house and added a storm door. This storm door is battered and the wood it's attached to is all damaged from wind ripping the door. But it's already there and the vinyl siding is fit to this framing so replacing this would be even easier than getting into opening up a 4 x 8 foot hole in the house and an entire closet that backs up to the bathroom...
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Old 03-24-2012, 12:35 AM   #6
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Cutting down a 36" Wood door.


You still may have some trouble try to fit a normal door in that opening. The reason being mobil homes use a thinner door. May want to check that.
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:38 AM   #7
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Cutting down a 36" Wood door.


I don't think this is a "mobile" home -
According to the "OP" - it sounds like an old, "Pre-fab" -
Could be from "Sears"?!?

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Old 03-24-2012, 09:32 PM   #8
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Cutting down a 36" Wood door.


This is not a mobile home. This is a "Gunnison" home built in 1952. All wall panels were made in 4x8 sections and went up like a lego set at the home site. Supposedly they could come in on a finished foundation and have an entire home up and ready for the family to move into within a week. All wiring and outlets were already run so all they had to do was add junction boxes in attic and basement/crawlspace.

A normal 1 5/8" door is installed now. The original door jam and molding was all custom milled out of a solid piece so that the door stop was incorporated into the jam and casing all in one. On the interior walls where I have replaced the doors I have added 1/2" drywall to the walls on either side to make the finished wall 3" thick. The exterior doors have been modified at some point to receive the storm doors so I do not know how everything is attached to the framing.

Can I find custom door locks for abnormal backsets? Say....2 1/4"? Or should I plug the old and redrill at proper 2 3/4"?
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Old 03-30-2012, 04:27 PM   #9
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Cutting down a 36" Wood door.


standard backsets are 2-3/8" or 2-3/4" To cut a half inch off each edge, you'd need to plug any cross drilled holes for the old lockset. Measur and cut new hinge pockets the same distance from the top as your old door.

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