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Old 12-28-2009, 09:04 AM   #1
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New Door Slightly Too Wide


I am trying to install some new interior doors. I just grabbed two of those pre-drilled $25 doors at the big box store down the street and brought them home. I live in an older house that I'm slowing bringing in to this century, and my better half insisted I do the doors while I have a bathroom and bedroom 90% demolished.

"Putting in a couple of doors should be easier than listening to her complain that they aren't in yet, so I can get back to the new bathroom," was my thought process that led me to this situation.

My problem: One of the doors is slightly too wide. I have not yet cut in for the hinges in the door, but the door can be slipped into the doorway with a slight amount of force. The door can be slipped out again, and then reinserted, where it will still wedge itself in place. I guess I should say that the door is "exactly" the right size for the doorway. If the door was wider, I'd be able to do this with a circular saw, but 1/4 inch or less from the side is a bit too tight to do this, I think.
  • How much door should I remove, and how do I do it cleanly and straight? I don't have a 6' 7" straight edge to clamp as a guide.

Could I use a block plane, sander, or router? How would I make the edge straight with a block plane or sander? How would I cut such a small amount with a router? I'll admit that my router skills are sub-par, at best, so use small words and short sentences to walk me through the router method, if that's your suggestion.

I'm pretty well-equipped with tools and familiar with their uses, but I'm at a loss how to continue.

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Old 12-28-2009, 09:20 AM   #2
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New Door Slightly Too Wide


Scribe or mark a line 1/8" from the edge of both edges and both sides of the door (4 lines). I would use a square with a sliding ruler set at 1/8" and hold a sharp pencil or scribe on the end, then just slide the square down the door to make your mark. A drafting compass is great for making a small marks also. Set it at 1/8' and just drag it on the edge. Once you make your line hit it with your plane down to the line. Keep an eye on both sides so the edge of the door stays square.

Rege

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Old 12-28-2009, 09:28 AM   #3
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New Door Slightly Too Wide


sounds like you need to take it all off the hinge side so you dont have to mess with the backset of your latch. Lowes has an aluminum two piece straight edge that has a locking insert that allows you to mount them together for a total of 110" that is pretty true using clamps. You can use this as a saw guide and cut door with saw then sand smooth
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Old 12-28-2009, 09:54 AM   #4
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New Door Slightly Too Wide


If I understand correctly, I need to remove 1/4 inch from the hinge side for clearance. Lowe's sells a two-piece straight edge more than long enough when clamped in to place. I would then be able to use a smooth-cut blade on a circular saw, and other normal clean-cut precautions, to make the cut.

Thanks for the quick responses.
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Old 12-28-2009, 10:06 AM   #5
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New Door Slightly Too Wide


I agree with the straight edge from Lowes idea, I have one and it works. Just make sure that you connect the two pieces tightly, else they will not necessarily be perfectly straight. As for the cut, I have NEVER gotten a satisfactory cut on a door using a straight edge and a circular saw. I always cut my doors using a router, a 3 inch long 1/2 inch diameter carbide tipped bit, and a straight edge (like the one you are planning to purchase). You start by plunging the bit about 1/4 inch, then add about 1/2 an inch for each pass. After several passes, you are all the way through. Perfectly smooth, and as straight as the edge.

Make sure the straight edge is well clamped in place, and make sure you are advancing the bit on the correct side (read the instructions for your router). You want to advance the bit so the rotation of the bit pushes the router into the guide, not the other way around.
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Old 12-28-2009, 12:02 PM   #6
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New Door Slightly Too Wide


you want to really know how the door is made before you go cutting it. If the outer surface is merely veneer, you will be cutting into some unknown material below the surface. 1/4" is quite a cut so you really need to know how deep you can cut before you get into a different material.
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Old 12-28-2009, 12:29 PM   #7
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Thanks for the tip, Nap. These are the cheap hollow-core doors from the big box people. They have card-stock veneers over soft wood frames. They are constructed with glue only. The outside frame wood is usually about an inch thick, so I'll still have about 3/4 inch of wood to attach the hinge screws. If there is a cheaper door out there, there's a government subsidy involved, I'm certain.

I've got the straight edge assembled, and I'm trying to figure out where to position it for my router. My bit turns clockwise, so I have to router "counter clockwise" for it to work properly. I grabbed a 2 1/2 inch long 1/2 bit, since they didn't have any three inch bits. That's more than enough for this door. I'll let y'all know how it comes out.

Last edited by Wino; 12-28-2009 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 12-28-2009, 05:27 PM   #8
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New Door Slightly Too Wide


if its guvmnt subsidized it be like the $10,000 toilet seats
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Old 12-28-2009, 05:54 PM   #9
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New Door Slightly Too Wide


Wino,
In the future about three swipes with a power plane does the trick. Takes all of about a minute.
Mike Hawkins
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Old 12-28-2009, 05:59 PM   #10
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New Door Slightly Too Wide


When I replaced my doors with some from HD.

First I aligned the key lock holes and scribed the dimensions onto the new door and then cut it off.

I then used a power planer and set it to take of very little door width, at a time. I then made a few passes until I got the door down to the dimension that I needed. To save the hole alignments I planed it from the hinge side
Then I lined up the the holes on the two doors and using a square I transferred the position of the hinges from one door to the other.

I cut in the hinge pockets attached the hinges and then hung the door.

Usually the door hung properly, sometimes I would have take the door back to the workroom and tweak the dimensions.

All the doors fit properly and even the double door lined up perfectly with the panels between each door
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:07 AM   #11
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New Door Slightly Too Wide


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Originally Posted by firehawkmph View Post
Wino,
In the future about three swipes with a power plane does the trick. Takes all of about a minute.
Mike Hawkins


I would generally do this:

- Check to see if the door has any back bevel on the hinge side.
- If not, route your hinges in first, routing deeper to take into account for the extra material you'll be removing.
- Take a few passes with a power planer.
- If the door has no back bevel, you may be able to get your hands on a door planer which will let you put ~2 degree bevel on the hinge side. The shorter edge of the door goes to the door stop side.

Good Luck.
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Old 12-29-2009, 10:05 AM   #12
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New Door Slightly Too Wide


Ruined the first door, but had a good time doing it. OK, "ruined" is probably too harsh a word, but you always have to learn on something. What I learned is that the straight edge from Lowe's can't work as a fence without reinforcement.

I found a really great store in Houston only about two miles from my house. It had a 100 inch (254 mm) straight-edge with clamps that can be used as a fence. Needless to say, it was a bit more expensive than the big box two-piece unit, but it's also much better for the job. I did the second door in about two minutes. I might splurge and do a third door now that I have "mastered" the technique.

I have also come up with a new definition (which may or may not have been said before):

Education is learning from someone else's mistakes. Experience is learning from my own.

I got some education here, and provided my own experience. Thanks for all the help.

Wino
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Old 12-29-2009, 10:57 AM   #13
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New Door Slightly Too Wide


Hey, as long as the wife is happy, that is all that matters

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