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Project Information

While not complex woodworking, my wife decided that I would replace all of the hollow-core doors in our tract home with solid-wood, six-panel jobs. Lowe's had them on sale for sixty bucks apiece and so we purchased eleven of the things (two 24 inchers and nine 30 inchers) and I got to work.

The original doors in the house only had two hinges each, and they worked fine with those items, because they were not heavy. However, the new doors, being solid, were considerably more beefy. To deal with this I routed and installed third hinges in the middles, and used the removed existing doors as alignment guides for routing and mounting the top and bottom hinges. All of this aliignment and routing work went off, would you believe, without a hitch. The latch side edges were very carefully bevelled with a GMC powered hand plane to make proper dovetails with the latch sides of the door frames. (GMC ordinarily makes cheap tools, but their three-blade powered hand planer is really quite nice.)

I used a powerful Hitachi (9-amp) hand drill with a hole-saw kit to bore and install the handle sets, and I also worked to make that work as tidy as possible (see photo number three for a typical result). The pine doors (made in Chilie, believe it or not) were sanded using a Ridgid 6-inch ROS and Ryobi palm sander, and then of course hand sanded for the final smoothness. Finally, they were primed and then given three finish coats using satin paint and a fine-grained foam roller.

To make sure the heavier doors did not distort the existing frames I used at least one extra-long screw in each top and middle hinge (in addtion to several shorter screws, as required by the hinge plates) to secure it solidly through the frame the the stud behind.

The linen closet door (second photo) is interesting. Lowe's did not have that size in stock, and so if I wanted one in that width (20 inches) I would have had to make a special order, with a non-sale price.

To solve that problem, I purchased a 36 incher at the sale price (all widths in stock were the same sixty bucks each) and used my table saw to cut it off center down the middle to a 20-inch width. I then secured the edge and panels solidly with glue and pocket screws (only the outer boards on the doors are glued together, which allows the floating panels to accommodate humidity changes), used wood filler to cover the pocket recesses, and created me a 20-inch, three-panel door. Only two hinges were needed with this lighter door.

The bright rectangle to the left of the linen closet door is feedback from one of the home's many burglar-alarm sensors as it reactis to the on-camera flash.

Howard Ferstler



6,953 Posts
Great solution to the linen closet door problem. Never would have thought of it!!