Monday, 25 April 2011

How to Resize a Door

I guess most people would have taken the measurements of their door frame and just made sure they got a door that fit that size. I'm not most people. I saw these beautiful doors offered for free on craigslist and knew I had to have them. I didn't know or care what size they were, I just wanted to incorporate them into my home. I finally decided I wanted them in the two doorways in my kitchen. If you look closely at this picture you can see that the door is about 2 inches taller than the door frame and 2 inches narrower. Not to mention they were originally sliding doors so don't have the proper hardware to latch it closed. Not one to be daunted by such impracticalities, I set about making the door fit the frame. I had the good fortune to have the most amazing teacher help me with this. The furniture that he builds is stunning one-of- a-kind  gallery pieces, so I was very blessed that he took the time to help and teach me.

The first thing we did was cut 2 inches off the bottom of the door. There was a gap of an 1/8 of an inch left at the bottom and top of the door for air flow. It was wider at the bottom than the top so losing 2 inches from the bottom actually made it look more balanced. Mike then cut two, one inch strips of wood the length and thickness of the door which were glued and nailed on to each side. He removed the brass  hand plates and cut a piece of wood to fill the space and glued and nailed it into place. After spending the night with clamps while the glue dried, it was ready for the next steps.
  A closeup of the new edge and filled in section

I used this metal piece to scrape off any excess glue by holding it at a 45 degree angle and pushing it forward in a scraping motion to loosen any lumpy bits
Mike then instructed me on how to use the sander to smooth the edges of the new pieces to be level with the door. We did a big chunk of the work with this sander , then I went over it all with a palm sander to get it really smooth. Any gaps, holes, dents etc were filled in with a wood putty and left to dry. Later I went back and sanded those down as well.



 Once all the sanding was done, I used a router to go around all the edges so they had a slightly rounded look to them. Once I finished with the router, I took a piece of sand paper and bent it over the edges and sanded them all to an even finish.
 Next job was to create the inset for the hinges. I used a thin stick cut the same length as the door and went and measured where the hinge marks were in the door frame and marked them on the stick. We transferred the dimensions to the door and traced around the hinge to mark it out. Mike then used a different router to carve out the space.
 You can see the new hinge space he just carved at the top end of the door.
 He went back with a hammer and chisel and cleaned up the edges and made sure it was flat inside

 Once that was done it was time to install the hinges. He used a special tool to mark the center of each screw hole so that the hinge  screws would go in straight and flush. Here he is gently tapping it into place
 The last step was to drill the new holes for the door handle. He measured up from the bottom of the door to the height he wanted the handle and made a mark. he then measured in 2 3/4 inches to the depth the handle would be from the edge of the frame. Then using a large drill bit he carefully drilled out the hole on low speed. One thing he did first was to clamp a piece of wood under where he was drilling to prevent the hole from splintering outward as he went through.
The last step for which I don't have a picture was drilling the hole for the latch. He made sure it was centered in the wood and in relation to the larger hole. Using a one inch drill bit he carefully drilled into the larger hole.

Once all the woodworking was done, I painted the doors first with a coat of primer and then the top coat. Tomorrow we will install the doorknobs and hang the doors in the frames. Once the doors are in , I can start on the next project which is to get the floors sanded and stained. I can't wait to get my kitchen up and running.

I'm so grateful to Mike for showing me how to do this. I'm sure it is a skill I will be using a lot as I have a huge collection of salvaged windows and doors that I will need to adjust to suit my purposes.

Have you altered something to make it fit or re- purposed a salvaged reno item?

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