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Resizing Antique Single Panel Interior Door

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Forum topic by letmework posted 10-10-2010 08:04 AM 7157 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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letmework

4 posts in 2247 days


10-10-2010 08:04 AM

Topic tags/keywords: resizing antique panel doors

This question was originally posted in the Wood and Lumber Forum, but after no replies when 24 hours had passed I thought maybe I put it in the wrong forum.
Hello, I am new to woodworking and certainly have more enthusiasm and ideas than skill or knowledge. That’s why I was so excited when I stumbled across this site! I have a number of projects that I aspire to do but certainly will need lots of advice. Please excuse my entry-level, beginner’s questions. My current project is a bed that I am building for my “babies”. They are 8,5,4 and 3. It is a full size bunk bed. The base is a full size captain’s storage bed with 6 drawers which I have already built. Now for my dilemma: I am using two 5 panel antique interior doors for the headboard and footboard of bottom bunk, and two single panel antique interior doors for headboard and footboard of upper bunk. I need to cut the doors down to the width of a full size head and footboard. The five panels pose no problem as I can just start from the center of the door and cut off both ends and will have design centered. On the single panels however if I cut off both ends to size, I will be removing the borders from both ends. I have toyed with slicing off one end a little way in from the border, cutting off a piece out of main door and then splicing end piece back on. But even with the difficult task of cutting edges straight, lining up correctly, best case scenario, won’t the door’s strength be weakened? The other idea, if I could just get the molding piece off the end of the door, I could then cut off the panel to width and then glue the piece back in and the original profile would be restored without having a spliced piece. However the door seems to be very tightly constructed and even after stripping all old paint off I cannot find any loose place to pry or work with. I see no brads or nails in this door. Has anyone here ever attempted to remove these pieces from old doors? They are old, solid wood and heavy. Any expertise would be greatly appreciated!


6 replies so far

View CoolDavion's profile

CoolDavion

425 posts in 3285 days


#1 posted 10-10-2010 03:57 PM

some pictures may help to get you an answer

-- Do or do not, there is no try!

View tbone's profile

tbone

273 posts in 3145 days


#2 posted 10-11-2010 06:52 PM

Are you taking an old 1-panel door and turning it on it’s side? If so, then what you are trying to do is remove the top and bottom rail, cut down the panel, and then re-assemble the door?
If that’s the case, you may have some trouble disassembling the door, because it may be either glued with dowels, or glued with mortise and tenon joints.
If you can get the door apart, cut down, and then reassembled, I would be concerned about the stability of the head and footboards—especially if they are load bearing.

-- Kinky Friedman: "The first thing I'll do if I'm elected is demand a recount."

View letmework's profile

letmework

4 posts in 2247 days


#3 posted 10-11-2010 08:04 PM

Thank you CoolDavion;
Since I don’t have a camera, I have tried to capture a google image that looks like the single panel door that I am working with. The single panel door is like the very first door in this lineup, the five panel door is like the third from the left on the second row. If you numbered these doors from 1-8, the single panel is 1, and the 5 panel is 7.
tbone; Thank you also. Yes I am turning the door on it’s side. However the single panel doors will be the headboard and footboard of the top bunk when beds are bunked, and when they are used as individual full sized beds, then the single panel doors will be the footboards of both beds. So these doors should never be weight bearing. I have two 5 panel doors for the headboards. I am cutting between one of the panels on these doors so I have no “assembling” issues with these.
Now for what I am attempting to do. tbone I only have to remove the one end (bottom rail) I will leave other end intact, cut down the panel and try to but the end back on. Is there a way to loosen the glue to be able to wiggle things a little before actually “cutting” into the door to see how it’s constructed? When you look down the end of the door you can see it’s jointed together. A relative of mine who has carpentry experience said I should just cut it down and have a cabinet maker do a new profile and put it back on. But I only paid $7.00 for these doors at a garage sale, and I can’t justify that, plus I’d rather just use what I have.
Thanks so much!

View Gregn's profile

Gregn

1642 posts in 2444 days


#4 posted 10-12-2010 02:46 AM

You said, that they were antique doors. So if they are old enough, they may have used hide glue to glue the joints together. If they used hide glue heat should loosen the glue to dissemble the joint. The joints may be pinned so you want to be sure to heat the pinned dowels as well.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

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letmework

4 posts in 2247 days


#5 posted 10-14-2010 06:15 PM

Thank you Greg. What type of heat would we be referring to here? I want to try this, this might be the trick. Is there a specific tool that I will need? My husband has many tools, but he is not a woodworker, so I don’t know much about the different tools, just want to learn! Thank you all for writing. I’m sure I will have many more questions for the “experts” before I am done with this project. What a wonderful resource this is to be able to tap into the experience of so many in one place!
letmework

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Gregn

1642 posts in 2444 days


#6 posted 10-15-2010 05:30 AM

I would think a old iron would work. You just want to heat it enough to soften up the glue. You may want to place a clean dry rag on the wood and then the iron.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

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