12/31/2008Today's account of what Jay learned: Hacking up a hollow core door!
So after another week of analysis paralysis and investigating pocket door weight limits, hollow core vs solid core, craigslist scouring, incompetent home improvement supply information via the phone.... I said screw it and decided to go with hollow core and eliminate the risk of over-stressing the pocket door tracks. I had assistance from my neighbor Mark, and my other neighbor Brian, who had access to a table saw and has done this before.
I purchased two 32" wide hollow core door slabs from Lowes plus two of the following brushed handles for a total bill under $70.
The first step was to mark the doors to the proper desired length with a pencil and a carpenter's square.
Next we used a table saw to cut the doors off. This can turn out badly if you do not keep the door level and square when cutting, so definately use a helper to hold the door level while you cut! TIP: Place tape righ up to the cut line to prevent shreading the luan which is a splinter farm!
The cut door will look like the following:
Now the next step in which you will plug the hole back up with wood, you have 2 options:Option 1:
Use the piece you cut off and strip off all the luan and glue off and use a sharp chisel to scrape it down to the desired thickness.Option 2:
Use a 2x4 and a tablesaw to cut it down to the desired thickness, which will be right around 1" - 1 1/8"
We chose option 2 as before I had one piece stripped of luan/glue, Brian showed off and ripped both new chunks of 2x4... so we went with that. Of course, me being stubborn, I finished cleaning off what I was doing and verified it would fit back in and could have been reused.
Next, Mark used wood glue on the inside of the door where the wood will go, flipped the door over and glued the other inner side. We did this to keep the mess down, plus it also lubes up the wood and allows it to slip into place easier with no mess.
Then using a hammer, we tapped the wood into place, it was nice and snug. We then used some scraps and 3 clamps to clamp everything down to let it dry for a day or so.
On to cutting out where the handles will go... based on instruction on the back of the boc, the hold were cut out with a jigsaw, also using tape along the cut lines to prevent splintering.
If you are making the door just a tad short, chances are if you cut the handle in at about 38" from the bottom of the door, you will cut through the center support and not need to brace the hole for the handle.
On the door I had to cut off 10 inches of, there was no support, so we used a scrap piece from the bottom plug and glued, slid in the wood, and clamped it.
That is all I know about cutting hollow core doors down, if other folks have any better tips, please share!