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Old 04-02-2012, 05:05 PM   #1
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Cutting Opening in Hollow-Core Doors


I need to pick your brains regarding my options on cutting out a rectangle opening in a 1 3/8" hollow-core door. The opening will replaced with a plexiglass panel. I only need advice on making the opening, the rest I can handle.

My thoughts are:
1) needs to be a precision cut made through both sides of the door at once.
2) trim will NOT be covering the cut, so I need as little damage as possible.
3) the material is rather flimsy when unsupported during the cut.
4) a jigsaw blade's up/down action would probably make a mess of the underside as it pulls/pushes the flimsy unsupported underside.

So, what if I setup 4 rails [guide template], make a pilot hole in the middle, and use a router w/ a straight 2 1/2" bit, dropping it in the pilot hole, then go around the perimeter against the guides. The corners will be slightly rounded, but that is easily cleaned up with a hand saw.

I have basic skills with a router, but my lack of experience has more to do with "Is this the correct tool and will it do what I think it will do in this application"

Will this work? Do you have a better idea/tool?

fyi, there are 12+ doors, so a template/jig would seem to be in order.

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Old 04-02-2012, 05:10 PM   #2
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Cutting Opening in Hollow-Core Doors


How about this to cut the holes?
http://www.diychatroom.com/f29/oscia...i-tool-120729/
Many seem to swear by it!

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Old 04-02-2012, 05:16 PM   #3
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Cutting Opening in Hollow-Core Doors


A router with a long, straight carbide bit will work fine. As you noted, the corners will be rounded. Make sure you go the correct direction around the jig, else you will get an inferior cut.
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Old 04-02-2012, 05:30 PM   #4
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Cutting Opening in Hollow-Core Doors


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman
A router with a long, straight carbide bit will work fine. As you noted, the corners will be rounded. Make sure you go the correct direction around the jig, else you will get an inferior cut.
Which is counter clockwise......
Clockwise,it can run away from you.
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Old 04-02-2012, 05:46 PM   #5
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Cutting Opening in Hollow-Core Doors


Quote:
Originally Posted by sublime2 View Post
Which is counter clockwise......
Clockwise,it can run away from you.
Wow, I never thought about the direction! Great heads up to Daniel and sublime2!
So you feel this will give me a nice clean cut edge and not get hung up on the inner material?

Last edited by 8888; 04-02-2012 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 04-02-2012, 05:49 PM   #6
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Cutting Opening in Hollow-Core Doors


Router will run through it like butter with the bit suggested.
Even more reason to hold on to the router firmly and take your time.
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Old 04-02-2012, 06:52 PM   #7
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Cutting Opening in Hollow-Core Doors


Just a word of advice, you will be using a deep bit, so you are best off with a 1/2 inch collet. The cardboard material inside the door will not slow down a decent router, and you can get a great cut. Finishing the corners to get as good a cut is not so easy, I think I would finish the corners with a very sharp chisel.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:28 PM   #8
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Cutting Opening in Hollow-Core Doors


a router with a proper jig set up will give the best results.. ive done this with a circular saw using a shoot board with no issues. had to do it on 5 doors for a vet clinic we built 2 years ago

an oscilating tool isnt the correct tool for the jobs.. its a specialized tool for specific types of cuts..
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:03 AM   #9
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Cutting Opening in Hollow-Core Doors


Done it once with a circular saw. Knew that the way I was trimming it would hide any small irregularities.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:33 AM   #10
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Cutting Opening in Hollow-Core Doors


If you are not trimming the opening, how will you hide the cardboard filler inside the 2 face panels?
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:38 AM   #11
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Cutting Opening in Hollow-Core Doors


Quote:
Originally Posted by rjniles
If you are not trimming the opening, how will you hide the cardboard filler inside the 2 face panels?
I'd also like to know this for future reference if I should tackle something like this.
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Old 04-03-2012, 01:33 PM   #12
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Cutting Opening in Hollow-Core Doors


Quote:
Originally Posted by rjniles View Post
If you are not trimming the opening, how will you hide the cardboard filler inside the 2 face panels?
Not sure you understand the process.
Once the opening is created, there is no longer any support at the opening, so filler lumber must be inserted and glued INSIDE the opening perimeter. This is for support only and does not cover the router cut, as it is inside the door.
The Plexiglas will float centered in the opening, held in place by trim whose ONLY job it is to hold the plexiglas in place. This trim will also not cover the router cut.
So this is why my original question was "how to make an accurate CLEAN cut". Bad cut = lots of post finishing work, Clean cut = very minimal post finishing work. 12+ doors x 2 sides is a lot of unnecessary work!
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:02 PM   #13
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Cutting Opening in Hollow-Core Doors


12 doors and a clean cut means router and a jig. I don't think you'll need to, but scoring the veneer will further prevent chipping. Will the plexiglas holding trim cover the end grain? You might be able to find a molding profile that holds the window and trims the opening.
http://www.template-services.com/Pro...%20Corners.htm
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:03 AM   #14
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Cutting Opening in Hollow-Core Doors


Quote:
Originally Posted by 8888 View Post
1) needs to be a precision cut made through both sides of the door at once.
2) trim will NOT be covering the cut, so I need as little damage as possible.
3) the material is rather flimsy when unsupported during the cut.
4) a jigsaw blade's up/down action would probably make a mess of the underside as it pulls/pushes the flimsy unsupported underside.
1) both sides at once? Transfer your marks with a Tsquare and use a plywood blade
2) Why no trim? A couple of grooves in a piece of 1 3/4" to make a frame that will finish off the cut edge and provide stability and rigidity
3) Shouldn't be a problem with a saw
4) Don't use a jig saw!
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Old 04-08-2012, 11:34 PM   #15
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Cutting Opening in Hollow-Core Doors


Most hollow core doors (luan)can be cut with a straight edge and a razor knife.

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