Bi-parting door advice

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Forum topic by nerdbot posted 06-24-2015 10:06 PM 1033 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View nerdbot's profile


97 posts in 2375 days

06-24-2015 10:06 PM

Hi all,

Currently, my “office” door is just a large archway off of the kitchen. Because of other logistics (see attached pictures), a bi-parting door seems to be the best option. While on vacation last week, there was a set of bi-parting doors in our hotel room that I took some rough measurements off of. However, I’d like to get some advice before I get started, just make sure I’m not missing anything.

1. Wood selection
Based off my measurements and design (fixed plantation shutter style doors), each door is roughly 8.5’ tall x 22” wide x 1.5” thick, which I estimated to be about roughly 40 board feet (on the high side). I’ve seen basswood is often used for plantation shutters because it’s very light, and at 40 board feet, that’s almost 100 lbs per door. However, my kitchen cabinets looks to be some sort of cherry (either stained or actual cherry), so I thought that might be nice too.

2. Door design
The stiles will be roughly 8.5’ tall, and I planned them to be 4” wide. The rails will be 14” wide and 8” tall. The width of the stiles and the rough dimensions of the rails came from what I saw on doors in my hotel room, and the 8.5’ height is based off my door frame. I’m not sure if there are dimension/proportion guidelines for sizing stiles and rails, so I wasn’t sure if the stile width was appropriate given the 8.5’ height?

3. Joinery
Screwing up mortise and tenon on such large pieces of wood could be costly, so I was thinking of doing bridle joints for the door frames because it’s simple and within my skill level. My only concern is would that be strong enough considering how heavy these doors are?

4. Hardware
It would be really nice to get the kind of hardware that’s nice enough to be exposed. But I haven’t found any for less than $250+. So, instead I’m looking at hardware like this:

8-Foot Trolley Track
Trolley Hanger
Stay Roller

And then covering it up with some crown molding (again, similar look to my kitchen cabinets). I know April Wilkerson did a barn door project where she made her own rails, but I’m not sure I want to go that route. These doors will probably take me long enough to build, not sure I want to add building rails to that.

I’d appreciate any advice, input, or “gotchas” anyone might be able to provide!

3 replies so far

View jerryminer's profile


961 posts in 2455 days

#1 posted 06-25-2015 06:15 AM

I’ve built and installed many sliding doors

The hardware you’ve chosen is ok, can handle the weight, but it is noisy and a little sloppy.

For interior, residential use, I would use something a bit more refined. I like Hawa but it’s expensive. Have you considered Johnson Hardware? Or Grant? You might want to look at this link:

Johnson Hardware

The doors themselves: I think 8” is fine for bottom rail. I would make top rail same dimension as stiles (+/- 4”)

8’-6” is pretty tall to go without a center rail. I would consider adding one.

#1 rule for building doors: assemble on a FLAT surface. Otherwise you can introduce a twist. #2 Use only straight, stable stock (Quarter sawn or Rift preferred over flat sawn)

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View runswithscissors's profile


3128 posts in 3039 days

#2 posted 06-25-2015 07:00 AM

I would add that rails and stiles must be square, flat, and with edges jointed to a true 90 deg.. Anything less and you’ll get a twisted door. Don’t ask how I know this.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View nerdbot's profile


97 posts in 2375 days

#3 posted 06-25-2015 11:49 PM

Jerryminer, I quickly looked into Hawa hardware, but had a hard time figuring out where I could buy it from and which parts I needed, or how much all the parts I needed would cost me. The Johnson Hardware link is perfect because it’s an entire set, I can see what I’m getting, looks better than the stuff on Amazon, and roughly the same price. Also, I’ll definitely add a center rail to the design.

Thanks guys, that’s exactly the advice I was looking for!

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