Replacing odd sized door - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 01-23-2016, 08:21 AM Thread Starter
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Replacing odd sized door

Hey guys, I need some advice. I have a door that I need to replace in my house, and would prefer to go with a pre hung door if possible, because if I can't get one pre hung, I would have to get a slab door and I have never done the detail work in cutting the hinge holes. My existing door is 17 & 5/8" wide by 77 & 3/4" tall. That is measured door edge to door edge. I am assuming that there is no way to make it work with a standard 18" pre hung door? What do you guys suggest for this?
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post #2 of 27 Old 01-23-2016, 08:48 AM
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You are right the door you have was a custom deal. That is a awful small door opening. Is there any way to enlarge the opening for a standard 24" door?

If not your easiest solution would be to buy a prehung door and cut it down. When you get the door remove it from the jamb, remove the hinges and trim the door down on the lock size to the size you need leaving it about 1/8" too wide. Now the door is hollow with some kind of cardboard spacing stuck in the middle to keep the door a consistent thickness. From there rig up some way to hold the door on it's edge and with a straight edge attached to your router based dado out everything between the two pieces of plywood or mdf to a depth of at least 3/4", more would be better if you can control the router well enough to route it. Then cut a piece of solid wood and glue it in there. The area where the lock is will need additional wood. you might cut the plywood off the piece you ripped off and see how they did it. Use a bunch of clamps when gluing it. You don't want to leave any voids. Then after the glue is dry rip the door to it's finished size. Cut it on a 5 degree angle with the smaller side toward where the stop of the door would be. You use an angle so the door doesn't hit the jamb before it closes. Then sand the saw marks off the edges and mortise a new hole for the lock.

The next step is the jamb. Take a block of scrap wood and a hammer and knock off the vertical piece off the lock side of the jamb. Remove the staples and clean it up and then cut the top piece off sized so when you put the vertical piece back on there will be a 1/8" gap between the door and jamb. If you have it use epoxy glue to glue the vertical back on. Once wood is glued once it doesn't accept wood glue again. It wouldn't hurt either to put a couple 2" screws in the joint too. Then put the door back on the jamb and install the unit.
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post #3 of 27 Old 01-23-2016, 08:53 AM
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If you are removing the existing door, the casings and the jamb, there is a good chance a 1' 6" x 6' 6" pre-hung will fit. You aren't off by much. Older jambs can be much thicker than new ones. Once the old door is out, you are likely to find plenty of room in the RO, (rough opening).
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post #4 of 27 Old 01-23-2016, 09:18 AM
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I agree with Hammer. That is of course assuming you are taking out the old jam, you did not specify this.

If you are just wanting to replace the door itself I would get a slab. A pre-hung would be a waste. It's really not that big of a deal to drill the holes for the lock set and mortise for the hinges.
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post #5 of 27 Old 01-23-2016, 09:48 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammer1 View Post
If you are removing the existing door, the casings and the jamb, there is a good chance a 1' 6" x 6' 6" pre-hung will fit. You aren't off by much. Older jambs can be much thicker than new ones. Once the old door is out, you are likely to find plenty of room in the RO, (rough opening).
Might try this first because taking Steve's advice and cutting the door down, can't hurt to try. Unfortunately I can't make the rough opening any larger because the wall that it sits in is concrete cinder block, no wood anywhere except the existing door jamb which is nailed onto the cinder block with masonry nails
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post #6 of 27 Old 01-23-2016, 01:03 PM
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If you end up needing to cut the hinge mortises, the cheapo plastic hinge mortise jigs are actually not bad for $20.
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post #7 of 27 Old 01-23-2016, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny870 View Post
Might try this first because taking Steve's advice and cutting the door down, can't hurt to try. Unfortunately I can't make the rough opening any larger because the wall that it sits in is concrete cinder block, no wood anywhere except the existing door jamb which is nailed onto the cinder block with masonry nails
You can get prehung made for that depth and custom sized....that said there is up charges for that process. I didn't see this mentioned...is it a interior or exterior door.

MOST old block jams were made with a 2x8 and would allow extra clearances when removed.
A rule of thumb is: a wanted 18" door plus 2" RO for prehung = 20" needed ...If interior with a little work you can shorten the hieght fairly easy or have it all pre done and set it when you get it.

You may have what you need!!!
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post #8 of 27 Old 01-24-2016, 06:47 AM Thread Starter
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You can get prehung made for that depth and custom sized....that said there is up charges for that process. I didn't see this mentioned...is it a interior or exterior door.

MOST old block jams were made with a 2x8 and would allow extra clearances when removed.
A rule of thumb is: a wanted 18" door plus 2" RO for prehung = 20" needed ...If interior with a little work you can shorten the hieght fairly easy or have it all pre done and set it when you get it.

You may have what you need!!!

Hmm...that is a pretty tempting option. What kind of places sell these custom sized pre-hung doors? Would Bartens Do It Center or ACE have these? If the price was somewhat reasonable compared to buying a pre-hung door that would require major modifications, then I might go this route.

It is an interior door for a linin closet. I do not think that this particular rough opening has a 2x8 or even a 2x6, I think that it is just the jamb that is 3/4" thick nailed straight into the cinder block. At least that is how the other doors were when I ripped them out. My house is very strange in the way that it was built in the 1950's. The wealthy lady that built this house was deathly afraid of tornados. The outside walls along the perimeter of the house are brick on the outside, formed concrete behind that, and cinder block on the inside. Every single wall on the inside is cinder block with some walls having formed concrete as well.
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post #9 of 27 Old 01-24-2016, 08:06 AM
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Your Ace hardware probably isn't going to be able to help you unless they know of a place they can order the door from. It's not going to be easy finding someone to make a custom door either. There just isn't a lot of places anymore doing custom work. What I would do is google "Architectural Millwork" and your zip code and see what comes up. If you are just wanting a slab door you might find a carpenter in your area that could plane down some 2x4's and make a frame and just cover it on both sides with 1/4" plywood. Then it would be just a matter of mortising for the hinges and lock.
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post #10 of 27 Old 01-24-2016, 08:36 AM
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I'd look for a good quality 36" or 34" bi-fold door and only use half of it.

Regards,
Steve
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post #11 of 27 Old 01-24-2016, 10:09 AM
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It just takes as much work to cut down a slab door as to make a new one. Most hollow core doors like this if you cut more than an inch off the edge. The solid core doors are solid inside however instead of pieces of cardboard there is a thick sheet of particleboard inside. Both you have to remove enough of this material to insert a piece of solid wood on the edge to make the door whole again.
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post #12 of 27 Old 01-24-2016, 10:41 AM
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I can still get some custom doors done BUT it's getting more limited in the styles with custom.

Without knowing what the reason for changing the door..e.g. door bad, no door, door unrepairable, etc., etc......

This might be a better option....Have a full cabinet door (or even 2, one over other) made to overlay the opening giving it a built in cabinet look. Just remove the door and hinges (fill hinge mortises if desired), No door jamb rip-out and quicker to install if built with a face jamb. You may need to remove door casing trim on the side being installed. DEPENDING on your existing trim you may be able to mount the cabinet door(s) to existing trim. At 1950 in this area we had flat trim (like 1"x 4-6" with or without grooves/radiuses/plane marks).

Have a look of a built-in pantry cabinet.
Just a option

Last edited by Tennessee Tim; 01-24-2016 at 10:46 AM.
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post #13 of 27 Old 01-24-2016, 11:43 AM
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I'll ask the obvious question, why are you replacing the door?

Would it be less effort to fix it?
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post #14 of 27 Old 01-24-2016, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by shoot summ View Post
I'll ask the obvious question, why are you replacing the door?

Would it be less effort to fix it?
Dang, he beat me to it.
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post #15 of 27 Old 01-25-2016, 06:52 AM Thread Starter
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I'll ask the obvious question, why are you replacing the door?

Would it be less effort to fix it?
I am replacing the door because it doesn't match the other doors in my home.
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post #16 of 27 Old 01-25-2016, 06:55 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tennessee Tim View Post
I can still get some custom doors done BUT it's getting more limited in the styles with custom.

Without knowing what the reason for changing the door..e.g. door bad, no door, door unrepairable, etc., etc......

This might be a better option....Have a full cabinet door (or even 2, one over other) made to overlay the opening giving it a built in cabinet look. Just remove the door and hinges (fill hinge mortises if desired), No door jamb rip-out and quicker to install if built with a face jamb. You may need to remove door casing trim on the side being installed. DEPENDING on your existing trim you may be able to mount the cabinet door(s) to existing trim. At 1950 in this area we had flat trim (like 1"x 4-6" with or without grooves/radiuses/plane marks).

Have a look of a built-in pantry cabinet.
Just a option
That is an absolutely amazing idea! Never thought of that. I do have 3 shaper tables at my home shop, so I could whip out some nice painted raised panel doors to give it the built in effect. Only thing is, I don't think the inside of the jamb sticks out far enough to make it work because originally the wall that this door is on had wall paper and I put 1/4" Bead board over it, thus further sinking the jamb in. i would need to add some sort of a frame for the doors to attach to. Any suggestions?
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post #17 of 27 Old 01-25-2016, 01:10 PM
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I guess I was thinking you might be able to simply add molding to the door to dress it up if it is a plain flat door. Can't tell with no picture to look at.

With a door, you could work on the inside of it if a little more space for smaller stuff is needed. I realize the door is narrow, so this idea may or may not work for you. It works really well for us. Dang small pantry, anyway!

Note: Wife is short so the step ladder is a staple in our kitchen!
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post #18 of 27 Old 01-26-2016, 07:21 AM Thread Starter
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What I am now considering is to add some 2" maple to the outside of the jamb on all four sides, and then have two 2" pieces of maple run horizontally. Then I could build some cabinet style raised panels doors, 3 of them to be exact, and make it appear to be a built in.
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post #19 of 27 Old 01-26-2016, 07:31 AM
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You could also make two cabinet doors the height of the existing door and glue them together back to back making an 1 1/2" to 1 5/8" thick door. I made a back door like that for a customer that had a room added off their kitchen that had knotty pine paneling on it. The kitchen cabinets and woodwork was done with ash and they didn't want a knotty pine door on the kitchen and they didn't want an ash door on the knotty pine side so I made it half and half. That was done in the late 1980's and I was there one day last year and the door is still doing fine.
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post #20 of 27 Old 01-28-2016, 05:22 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MT Stringer View Post
I guess I was thinking you might be able to simply add molding to the door to dress it up if it is a plain flat door. Can't tell with no picture to look at.

With a door, you could work on the inside of it if a little more space for smaller stuff is needed. I realize the door is narrow, so this idea may or may not work for you. It works really well for us. Dang small pantry, anyway!

Note: Wife is short so the step ladder is a staple in our kitchen!
That is certainly a cool idea! This door is for a closet in my hallway next to the kitchen, and right now I am leaning towards adding some 2" maple to the outside of the original jamb with a couple of horizontal rails (sort of like a face frame for a cabinet) and then building three cabinet style doors to give it the appearance of being a built in cabinet.
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