French door sidelight troubles

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Forum topic by GTEnginerd posted 06-09-2014 03:16 PM 3060 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View GTEnginerd's profile


2 posts in 1646 days

06-09-2014 03:16 PM

Topic tags/keywords: plane question

Until now I’ve used this website as a resource for solving many woodworking problems over the last several years, and have been able to find solutions, ideas, etc. without having to post a specific question. Bad news, I couldn’t find what I was looking for today. Good news, it forced me to join the website to post my question. Hopefully I’ve put it in the right place under the correct category…

I’ve been working on French doors to enclose what was our formal living room that never got used and transform it into an office, since I’m working from home a good bit now. The doors were removed from my grandfathers circa 1906 home after he passed away. They weren’t standard heights or exactly square, but I’ve framed them in as best as I could and with the remaining space in the opening to the living room I’ve left room for sidelights and a transom. I had tempered glass cut for the sidelights, so that if one of my young boys ever decides to attempt to run through them they won’t be as badly injured…that was the thought at least.

Well, in my infinite wisdom, I gave the glass company the exact dimension s of the opening and now the glass doesn’t fit. Since its tempered it isn’t easy (maybe impossible) to trim, I need to open the frame about 1/32 of an inch. I was thinking a shoulder plane would be the best option, but have never used one and cringe at the thought of spending that kind of money on a nice tool and immediately using it on painted wood. Any other ideas or suggestions?

Thanks for any help,

3 replies so far

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2271 days

#1 posted 06-10-2014 12:38 AM

As a professional I would use a router with a trimming bit, and an undersized bearing, or a guide/jig. Much easier than a plane, or other solutions. In my experience I would want to be a 1/16” to and 1/8” smaller than the glass each side, to allow for expansion of the wood and future problems. I would then set the glass with neoprene or other spacers, to center the glass, but allow expansion. Based on your post, the history of the doors, and such, I would reach out to your glass provider, and possibly re-order glass, or think about solutions that are going to allow you to open the frames more than 1/32”.

-- Who is John Galt?

View Buckethead's profile


3194 posts in 2067 days

#2 posted 06-10-2014 12:48 AM

I was going to chime in, but Joey nailed it.


Looking a bit closer, it might be difficult to fit a router into where it’s needed without dismantling it. If there is sufficient clearance, (it looks like there is) you could attack from the other angle, which is to say with the router being perpendicular to the jamb/sill/mullion/header.

You would be better off creating a second surface for your router plate to rest on. Tack or tape a rip that matches the innermost part or the frame, which appears to form the trim for the glass at the outside of the office.

Attach it inside the jamb next to the surface to be planed, forming a channel that defines the area to be planed. Set the depth just a fat sixteenth deep, and a flush trim bit with the bearing at the top.

Others will chime in. My idea could be vetoed. :-) good luck!

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View GTEnginerd's profile


2 posts in 1646 days

#3 posted 06-13-2014 05:04 PM

Thanks Joey and Bucket. Great information. I’ll give it a go.

In the corners, where the router won’t reach, would you recommend finishing off with a chisel?

I guess if I build the jig/plate and attach it perpendicular to the glass so that it’s flush with the face of the frame I should be able to get all the way into the corners…or were you thinking something different?

Thanks again.

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