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Best way to reduce width of panel door

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Forum topic by richard2345 posted 11-06-2012 01:26 PM 1876 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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richard2345

20 posts in 757 days


11-06-2012 01:26 PM

Hello,

I’m building door jambs for a rough brick opening to my workshop, and I’m planning to refurbish and hang an old rail and style door. The door is currently too wide for the frame, and I’m looking for the best way to decrease the width of the door. My shop has a fair assortment of tools (contractor table saw, band saw, jointer, planer, but my workspace and the size of my table saw is limited. I was thinking that I may remove the stiles from the door so I could rip it down to size accurately on my table saw. Is this a good approach, or is there an easier way? Putting the whole door on the saw doesn’t seem pretty likely, but then again the wood joints of the 100-year old door are still tight, so getting the stiles off may be challenging. I thought of using a circular saw, but I’m not confident I can get a straight cut 7 feet long, and if I wobble the saw it will be a challenge to straighten the door edge.

Any suggestions on how to do this easily and accurately?

Thank you!


20 replies so far

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6939 posts in 1572 days


#1 posted 11-06-2012 01:35 PM

Just how much are you trying to reduce the width? If it just a fraction of an inch or so running it across the jointer may not be out of consideration. More than that, then maybe use a circular saw to make an initial rip and then clean it up with either the Power jointer or a #6 or #7 jointer hand plane. My 2-cents

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View casual1carpenter's profile

casual1carpenter

353 posts in 1133 days


#2 posted 11-06-2012 01:42 PM

richard2345, Depending on the amount you need to remove if you decide to simply cut a portion of the rails there was posted on LJ’s a tracksaw type alternative saw guide.

something like this might work. there are lots of other references / forum topics this is but one.
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/29056

Although it should use two clean straight factory edges I believe one factory or better edge is required for the saw guide edge, the actual cut edge is created by your saw itself as it is guided along the straight factory edge.

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1816 days


#3 posted 11-06-2012 02:52 PM

Mike nailed it. Rough cut to within 1/8” with a circ saw and guide. Then, trim to finished dimension with either a jointer or hand plane.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1816 days


#4 posted 11-06-2012 02:53 PM

BTW, I’d run a metal detector over the joints of that door. You just never know.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View Loren's profile

Loren

7571 posts in 2306 days


#5 posted 11-06-2012 06:06 PM

Easy and accurate don’t always play well together,
but the old way of getting there is a bit slower
and plenty accurate. Cut the part out rough,
then refine the shape with a finer cutting tool.

You can snap a line and rip it down with a sawsall,
jigsaw or circular saw. Stay to the right of the line
a little and fix the edge with a hand plane or
electric planer.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Greg..the Cajun  Box Sculptor's profile

Greg..the Cajun Box Sculptor

5110 posts in 1966 days


#6 posted 11-06-2012 06:21 PM

I have used a method of trimming the width of doors that I found to be very easy. I used a piece if 3/4 plywood that was laying arouns my shop. It was 6” wide and 8 ft long. I used it as a straight edge guide for my circular saw. I marked the point where I wanted the cut and them measured 3” from there to clamp the plywood to the door. I used 3 inches because this was the distance from my circular saw plate edge to the outside of ther blade.

I have used this many times and it is accurate and easy.

-- If retiring is having the time to be able to do what you enjoy then I have always been retired.

View richard2345's profile

richard2345

20 posts in 757 days


#7 posted 11-06-2012 10:49 PM

Thanks for all the replies!

Horizontal – I need to take about 3/4 inch off both sides. If I rip a stile with a circular saw, say, by hand, and I get the side out of square with rails, how would I be able to get the stile back into square with the rail? My guess would be a hand plane would be more effective than a power jointer (I have a 6” powermatic) because I could check for square as I go. What do you think?

casual: thanks for the link! I checked out that technique, and I think I understand how to make that jig. If I can’t be reasonably assured I can bring the stiles into square with the rails using the other methods, I’ll make that jig.

Jay – roger the metal detector. Depending on how many of these floor joists i mill down, it may be worth the investment. Their a great source of thick lumber that I’m hoping will be not warp when out in the elements.

Loren: i admire your confidence with a circular saw :)

Greg: I will experiment with your technique as well.

Thanks all for the great tips!

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6939 posts in 1572 days


#8 posted 11-07-2012 12:15 AM

_”...Horizontal – I need to take about 3/4 inch off both sides. If I rip a stile with a circular saw, say, by hand, and I get the side out of square with rails, how would I be able to get the stile back into square with the rail? My guess would be a hand plane would be more effective than a power jointer (I have a 6” powermatic) because I could check for square as I go. What do you think?...”

Yes, but not always. It is possible that a power jointer could correct this (how close are you paying attention?). And a hand plane jointer surely could (but again HOW CLOSE are you paying attention?). Your power of observation is important here, do not overlook that aspect. Final fitting is about finesse, and yes, you could screw up. Pay attention. Either method can result in excellent results. What ever you are comfortable with.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2951 posts in 944 days


#9 posted 11-07-2012 12:16 AM

Pictures would help.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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richard2345

20 posts in 757 days


#10 posted 11-07-2012 01:10 PM

I will take some pics and post them next time I get home and it’s not already dark!! Hopefully I’ll have some time to continue working on Thursday.

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1627 days


#11 posted 11-07-2012 01:18 PM

What effect will it have on the lock if you rip 3/4” off the stile? Just one more thing to consider.

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richard2345

20 posts in 757 days


#12 posted 11-07-2012 01:39 PM

Renners: Good point. I haven’t bought the lockset yet, but the door already has a box-type slot cut in the side. I will probably have to fill the opening with wood before I start planing and then re-drill the door when I purchase the new lockset.

View GregD's profile

GregD

617 posts in 1794 days


#13 posted 11-07-2012 01:59 PM

To clean up long cuts on large pieces I use a straight edge to guide a router with a straight bit. If you need to be precise, attach the straight edge to a piece of 1/8” hardboard and trim the hardboard with the router/bit combination you intend to use so that the edge of the hardboard indicates the cut line.

Rough cut to within about 1/8” of the final cut line and remove the rest with the router.

-- Greg D.

View Wdwerker's profile

Wdwerker

333 posts in 891 days


#14 posted 11-07-2012 02:06 PM

Greg has the right idea! Be aware that if the router tips it will cut a divot in the edge of your door. I have jointed 8 ft boards for a tabletop with a straightedge and a router. If you take tiny shaving cuts there is less resistance to pushing the router.

-- Fine Custom Woodwork since 1978

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1816 days


#15 posted 11-07-2012 02:35 PM

Richard…I’m not sure why you lack confidence in the circ saw. Setup a guide/fence that is square to the top or bottom of the door and let ‘er rip. Make sure you use the guide in a position to protect the door should the blade wander. Take small passes if you need. Make sure the guide sits snug to the door’s surface so that the saw’s base doesn’t sneak under the guide. Just don’t cut to the line. From that point a hand plane can slowly sneak you up to where you want it. Just be sure the door frame is solid wood and not veneered, else the plane might tear out the edges of the veneer.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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